: The Pokagon Fund website is presently under construction and may include information that has not yet been fully verified as well as links to external sites that are still in process.  During this period of transition from the prior content to the new format, the Fund is striving to keep the information current and accurate.

Community Support

 Vision Grants by The Pokagon Fund Focus on Healthy Eyes 

for Harbor® Country Youth and Seniors


 New Buffalo Area Schools Provide Eye Exams
 to Address Convergence Insufficiency Reading Problems


Kid In Glasses
Kids In Lunchroom Cropped
Children Reading 2

In recognition of a significant initiative by the New Buffalo Area Schools to provide vision care, The Pokagon Fund awarded $7,000 in support of a $25,000 school program to identify students who suffer from disorders of eye focusing (accommodation) and eye teaming (vergence).  Without being identified through specific testing, problems related to eye teaming or eye-focusing problems often cause a student to struggle in school. New Buffalo Area Schools will partner with Smoke Vision Center, a full-service eye care facility located in New Buffalo, for eye examinations and with ChromaGen Vision LLC, a Pennsylvania-based company, for 16 different tinted lenses that can be embodied in a contact lens or worn as eyeglasses.  


The Pokagon Fund Vision Grant for Harbor Country
 Administered by the New Buffalo Lions Club
Senior Ladies

Continuing its support for the New Buffalo Lion’s Club Vision Program, the Fund awarded a grant of $30,000 to provide vision care to all youths in Harbor Country® from the age of six months through High School and to Harbor Country seniors based upon economic need. The program provides a comprehensive eye examination and eyeglasses to children ages 9 months through 12th Grade and adults age 50 and older who meet certain income criteria. Since 2011, over $450,000 has been awarded to the Lions Club to provide vision care to Harbor Country residents. 

Megan Bolinder Cropped
Neighbor By Neighbor Connects Harbor Country Residents to Social Services

Neighbor By Neighbor (NBYN) is an initiative sponsored by the Episcopal Church of the Mediator in Harbert through a grant from The Pokagon Fund that seeks to connect families and residents of Harbor Country with social services.

Library Card Sign Up Program
Hartford Public Library Summer Library Card Sign-Up Campaign

The Pokagon Fund teamed up with the Hartford Public Library to support literacy by encouraging adults and children to obtain their first-ever library card. Those who signed up received a free trip to the Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend, IN.

Diana And Liz Cropped
South Bend's Camp Millhouse Awarded $20,000 to Provide Summer Camp for Individuals with Special Needs.

Camp Millhouse in South Bend, IN is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, residential summer camp for children and adults with varying disabilities. The camp was established 80 years ago to provide enriching and inspiring activities in a facility specially designed for safe and therapeutic care.


Kindergarten Readiness Camp
United Way of St. Joseph County Summer Kindergarten Readiness Camps

The Pokagon Fund recently awarded funding to the United Way of St. Joseph County for their Kindergarten Readiness Camps. The camps provide essential academic and social development skills to children who are at risk of falling behind their classmates and ensure that the children are ready to learn on the first day of school.

Our Focus

Enhancing the lives of the residents in the New Buffalo Area

Enhancing the lives of the residents in Three Oaks, Chikaming and New Buffalo Townships, Dowagiac and Hartford, Michigan as well as South Bend, Indiana.
The Founders of The Pokagon Fund believe that encouraging the development of those communities bordering the Tribal trust land consolidation sites is a wonderful opportunity to create a better place for all of our residents to thrive. 
The Pokagon Fund provides strategic grant support to initiatives that help reduce the burden of poverty, strengthen our local schools and student achievement, enhance the success of our residents and provide vital support to our rural communities.
Grants are awarded to charitable organizations, governmental entities and service organizations serving residents in Three Oaks, Chikaming and New Buffalo Townships, Dowagiac and Hartford, Michigan as well as South Bend, Indiana.  Although The Pokagon Fund awards grants to South Bend, it no longer  accepts unsolicited grants from organizations.  Please refer to letter written by The Pokagon Fund Executive Director to South Bend grantees at link below. 

The Pokagon Fund has three focus areas for funding:  Education, Poverty Reduction and Community Vitality.


Letter to South Bend Grantees

Education Thumbnail Homepage


The Pokagon Fund’s commitment to education is reflected in the award since 2007 of over $2.5 million in grants, including scholarships, to the New Buffalo and River Valley School Systems, representing over 10% of the $23 million that has been awarded by the Fund to date. Consistent with its determination that education is a primary area of greatest need for local residents, the Fund has set as one of its key goals the preparation of our youngest children to have a successful educational experience.

Poverty Reduction Thumbnail Homepage

Poverty Reduction

Statistics reveal that the rates of poverty in Berrien County for both the overall population (17.7%) and for children (26.2%) exceed both national and state levels. Approximately one out of five local families in this area is food insecure. Over 10% of the households in Berrien County have incomes of less than $15,000. The Pokagon Fund has committed to using its resources to provide food to the needy and to help reduce the overall poverty rate by supporting resource and referral services.

Community Enhancement Thumbnail Homepage

Community Vitality

Fostering Community Vitality involves improving the quality of life, lifting the spirits, and increasing the happiness of a community. As The Pokagon Fund implements its new strategic plan, it will continue to contribute to projects, both large and small, that enrich and enhance the lives of Harbor Country® residents. These may range from larger collaborative efforts with our local municipalities to participate in the building of parks and expand conservation areas to smaller projects that enhance the local capacity of the area. The Pokagon Fund has been and will remain a vital element in the enrichment of the lives of those it serves.