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Visit our Decade page for more on our 10th Anniversary Celebration

Click here to access the 2018 Harbor Country Community Needs Assessment Report

Community Support
St  Francis Outreach Sign
St. Francis Outreach - Dowagiac Public Schools Backpack Program

A group of volunteers is helping ease the burden for several families with children attending school at Dowagiac Union Schools this year through the St. Francis Outreach Dowagiac Public Schools Backpack Program. With financial support over the past two years from The Pokagon Fund, the local program was able to expand its reach from 20 children to 120.

Libraries Resized
Hartford Public Schools - Classroom Libraries

The Pokagon Fund and Hartford Public Schools have partnered together to provide classroom libraries at Redwood Elementary School. During the first year of implementation, the classroom library project will serve all first and second grade students. It will eventually be expanded to all classrooms with a goal of putting 750 new books in each classroom.

Blanket Brigade Resized
Berrien County Blanket Brigade

Since 2012, Berrien County Blanket Brigade has sewn a total of 2,025 blankets. The Pokagon Fund is partnering with BCBB to ensure our local residents have the comfort items they need as well. Between 2016-17, 80 blankets were distributed to Harbor Country families. Adults and children serve as volunteers, and each child attaches a card on a ribbon to the blanket.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.