2018 Annual Report

A MESSAGE FROM ROB GOW

photo of pokagon chair person and at-large director rob gow

Envisioning the future and planning for the next decade of giving was the central theme of The Pokagon Fund’s 2018 fiscal year.

In cooperation with community and business leaders, municipalities, schools, churches and charities, The Pokagon Fund led a community-wide needs-assessment effort through a series of open meetings that identified those issues most crucial to future economic development in Harbor Country. The assessment revealed essential information that could be used as tools for public planning among local leaders who seek to improve the lives of their residents. It also allows the local population to become involved and help contribute to favorable outcomes for their communities.

Four major themes unfolded:

  • Housing: a range of housing options is necessary to retain and attract families and businesses and is essential for growing the community.

  • Broadband: robust internet and cell phone service must be expanded in order to support economic growth and encourage communication and learning.

  • Community Center: the creation of a Community Center that would provide a year-round opportunity for residents and visitors of all ages to play, exercise and learn together in one facility is vital.

  • Cross-municipal collaboration: collaborative and intentional planning between units of government to enhance services delivered to residents is essential.

Although the Fund organized and underwrote the community needs assessment, it considers its primary role in this endeavor as helping to empower local leadership and residents to solve the significant challenges that face their communities. Research shows that diverse people who feel they have a stake in solving a problem, form alliances. By creating the conditions for effective collaboration, participant input and accountability, imaginative approaches to sustainable change is more likely. In anticipation of its future role in building the capability of residents to successfully address these development efforts, The Pokagon Fund has created the Next Decade Fund. Revenues will continue to be set aside in this fund for place-based development that will help enhance and uplift all those who claim Harbor Country as a tourist destination or as home.

Throughout 2018, the Fund also undertook major initiatives in support of its current funding focus areas of education, serving those in need and community vitality. Included within these initiatives were the development of a literacy project in cooperation with the River Valley School District and the New Buffalo Area Schools, the funding of the Neighbor by Neighbor program that connects Harbor Country residents to social services and support of the Marquette Greenway, a 55-mile bike route linking south Chicago to New Buffalo.

Never to be forgotten in the quest for economic development is the need to deal unswervingly with the struggle of those Harbor Country residents who live at the poverty level, and there are many. The Pokagon Fund remains committed to maintain as one of its three pillars of community service the reduction of poverty through programs that provide basic needs such as food, emergency shelter and job training.

photo of pokagon chair person and at-large director rob gow

Envisioning the future and planning for the next decade of giving was the central theme of The Pokagon Fund’s 2018 fiscal year.

In cooperation with community and business leaders, municipalities, schools, churches and charities, The Pokagon Fund led a community-wide needs-assessment effort through a series of open meetings that identified those issues most crucial to future economic development in Harbor Country. The assessment revealed essential information that could be used as tools for public planning among local leaders who seek to improve the lives of their residents. It also allows the local population to become involved and help contribute to favorable outcomes for their communities.

Four major themes unfolded:

  • Housing: a range of housing options is necessary to retain and attract families and businesses and is essential for growing the community.

  • Broadband: robust internet and cell phone service must be expanded in order to support economic growth and encourage communication and learning.

  • Community Center: the creation of a Community Center that would provide a year-round opportunity for residents and visitors of all ages to play, exercise and learn together in one facility is vital.

  • Cross-municipal collaboration: collaborative and intentional planning between units of government to enhance services delivered to residents is essential.

Although the Fund organized and underwrote the community needs assessment, it considers its primary role in this endeavor as helping to empower local leadership and residents to solve the significant challenges that face their communities. Research shows that diverse people who feel they have a stake in solving a problem, form alliances. By creating the conditions for effective collaboration, participant input and accountability, imaginative approaches to sustainable change is more likely. In anticipation of its future role in building the capability of residents to successfully address these development efforts, The Pokagon Fund has created the Next Decade Fund. Revenues will continue to be set aside in this fund for place-based development that will help enhance and uplift all those who claim Harbor Country as a tourist destination or as home.

Throughout 2018, the Fund also undertook major initiatives in support of its current funding focus areas of education, serving those in need and community vitality. Included within these initiatives were the development of a literacy project in cooperation with the River Valley School District and the New Buffalo Area Schools, the funding of the Neighbor by Neighbor program that connects Harbor Country residents to social services and support of the Marquette Greenway, a 55-mile bike route linking south Chicago to New Buffalo.

Never to be forgotten in the quest for economic development is the need to deal unswervingly with the struggle of those Harbor Country residents who live at the poverty level, and there are many. The Pokagon Fund remains committed to maintain as one of its three pillars of community service the reduction of poverty through programs that provide basic needs such as food, emergency shelter and job training.

For more information on The Pokagon Fund visit pokagonfund.org