: 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
Street And Sidewalks

The Pokagon Fund is proud to support the City of New Buffalo Downtown Development Project. A grant of $1.6 million has been awarded to the city to support the 5 million dollar project which will include such aesthetic improvements as wider sidewalks, more attractive landscaping, better lighting and the installation of public art as well as upgrades that will increase accessibility, parking and safety. 

 Phase I of the project includes improvements to Mechanic and Barton Streets as well as the creation of new public parking in the central business district and will be completed by Memorial weekend 2017.  Phase II of the project will include North Whittaker and Merchant Streets and complete the transformation of the downtown area.  Phase II of the project will begin just after Labor Day 2017 and be completed by Memorial Day 2018.

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 Fritz Olsen of Sawyer, Michigan has been approved as the sculptor for the “significant work of art” that the City of New Buffalo committed to provide when the Fund awarded a grant of $1,600,000 to fund approximately one-third of the cost of the City’s Downtown Development Initiative. Mr. Olsen revealed that his inspiration came from the Potawatomi Nation’s traditional role among the Midwest’s native tribes as “The Keepers of the Fire” and the significance to the Pokagon Band of the four directions of East, South, North and West which the traditions of the Potawatomi honor during prayer and ceremonies.

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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.

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Improving Water Quality in Southwest Michigan Beaches

Protecting the quality of Harbor Country’s water resources has been a key focus of The Pokagon Fund in its efforts to maintain the environmental and economic vitality of our community.

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Kindergarten Readiness for Homeless Children in South Bend

For 23 years, the Montessori Classroom, a flagship program of the Center for the Homeless, has served as a hallmark of the Center for the Homeless Early Childhood Intervention Center. 

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Developing Character Skills In Dowagiac Middle Schoolers

A former Indiana Department of Education Superintendent of Schools called the middle school years the “black hole” because students may “physically drop out” in high school, but they “mentally check out” in middle school. Five Star Life was formed to address this crisis.

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.