To do its part to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission, The Pokagon Fund offices will be closed to walk-in traffic until further notice. TPF staff members remain available for telephone and electronic communication during this time:
Dan Petersen, Executive Director, (269) 612-8746 or (269) 469-9322, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kaären Cass, Grants/Finance Administrator, (269) 469-9322, email@example.com
For regular updates on the local COVID19 response, see the Berrien County Health Department’s webpage that is dedicated to the subject at http://berriencounty.org/1643/Coronavirus-Disease-COVID-19
The Pokagon Fund Vision Program
The Pokagon Fund Vision Program is partnering with Smoke Vision Care of New Buffalo to provide free routine vision examinations and prescription eyeglasses to the youth in Harbor Country from the age of 9 months through their 19th birthday, subject to certain limits. In addition, seniors age 50 and above who are permanent residents of Harbor Country will be provided free routine vision examinations and prescription eyeglasses, subject to certain limits. For more information see TPF Vision Program
Neighbor by Neighbor Program
As a result of a strategic planning process that occurred in June 2016, The Pokagon Fund Board of Directors identified the need for a resource and referral service for low-income families in Harbor Country that were seeking assistance for basic needs. One of the major actions that the Fund took to address this need was a grant of $39,500 to begin the Neighbor by Neighbor Program. Since 2017 TPF has granted a total of $277,000 in support of the Neighbor by Neighbor program.
Hartford Public Schools
The Pokagon Fund has partnered with Hartford Public Schools on a project to provide two Bookworm Vending Machines for Redwood Elementary School. The machines work by rewarding students for good behavior, grades, attendance, and tokens for birthdays to assure all kids get the chance to get a book. The combination of vending books and the personalized reward system help bridge the gap between literacy and engagement.
Dowagiac District Library
The Pokagon Fund is excited to be a part of the expansion and renovation of the historic Carnegie building which is home to the Dowagiac District Library. Included in the renovation will be “The Pokagon Room”, a place intended to serve Dowagiac youth for hands-on educational projects, from 3D printing, leatherworking, and circuit design. The name, “The Pokagon Room”, emphasizes the long-term bond between the library and The Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi.
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.
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.
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.
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.