​Health and Human Services

From supporting Animal Safety, the Vision Program of the Lions Club and much in between, The Pokagon Fund has focused on Health and Human Services as a key ingredient of Community Vitality. Commencing with a $500,000 grant in 2008 to support the expansion of the emergency room facilities in Dowagiac, The Pokagon Fund has been committed to improving the health and welfare of the residents of Harbor Country and the areas surrounding the Pokagon Tribal Lands. The Fund has been at the forefront of distributing food and providing meals to the needy.  It has funded nursing assistance to cancer patients and hospice care, vision care and the services to seniors.  These and similar programs are necessary for the welfare of local residents. Set out below are some of the major areas of grants that support health and human services.

  • Animal Safety: From 2008 to 2015, awards totaling $67,050 to Animal Lovers. Inc. provided low cost or free spaying/ neutering of pets for low income families and adoption programs. In 2010, $2,450 was given as a matching gift for creation of the Chikaming Township Dog Park.

  • Cancer Victim Support: In 2008 and 2010, awards totaling $20,000 to Berrien County Cancer Services provided skilled nursing care to cancer patients. In 2012, an award of $10,000 funded a Cancer Survivor’s Day in South Bend. In 2014 and 2015, awards totaling $11,500 was given to RiverBend Cancer Services to provide financial assistance advocacy and to provide a Living Well with Cancer Series.


  • Food Assistance: Since 2008, the Fund has provided more than $600,000 to support 25 different organizations that feed students, families and seniors throughout Harbor Country and the other communities surrounding Pokagon Band trust land consolidation sites in Michigan and Indiana. Two grantees, Senior Nutrition Services and Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank, have been at the forefront of distributing fresh produce, baked goods, dairy products and meals to thousands of seniors, disabled low-income adults and families at the poverty level.

  • Hospital Infrastructure: In 2008, an award of $500,000 to the Borgess Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac supported the expansion of the emergency room facilities. In 2011, an award of $83,333 supported enhancements to the Borgess Lee Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department.

  • Hospice Care: From 2008 to 2014, awards totaling $146,000 to Hospice Home for Life and Hospice at Home, Inc. underwrote expenses for granting last wishes to hospice patients and their families, providing transition programming to individuals with life-limiting illnesses and grief support programming to their families. Support was also given to Hospice at Home’s Hospice Residence Campaign and the Berrien County Blanket Brigade.

  • Gambling Addiction Services: In 2008, an award of $11,365 was used to create the Michiana Center for Gambling Recovery (later the Great Lakes Center for Gambling Recovery), an organization tasked with assisting individuals recover from compulsive gambling behaviors. In 2009 awards totaling $475,000 provided for operational expenses and the purchase of a building to house the organization. In 2013, the Michigan Association on Problem Gambling was awarded $10,824 for Problem Gambling Help Ads.

  • New Buffalo School District: In 2008, an award of $6,700 created a project to promote health and wellness among children and how to track their progress.

  • River Valley Senior Center: From 2010 to 2015, awards totaling $66,465 were awarded to support the improvement of the Center’s building, to pay operational expenses, to purchase a van to transport seniors to appointments and events, to improve the parking lot and for capacity building.

  • Vision Program: From 2011 to 2016, the New Buffalo Lions Club was awarded a total of $387,315 to create and conduct a Vision Program providing eye exams and glasses for children living in Harbor Country®.

  • The Children’s Assessment Center:  Since 2009, over $24,000 has been donated to the Children’s Assessment Center to provide forensic interviewing and counseling services to child crime victims from Hartford and Dowagiac.

  • Holy Family Healthcare:  In 2016, a $10,000 matching grant was awarded to Holy Family Healthcare in support of book mobiles for Spanish-speaking migrants living in camps around the Hartford region.

  • His Place:  Hartford Community Center:  In 2008, $50,000 was awarded to the community center in support of an after-school tutoring project for Hartford youth.

  • Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital:  In 2008, an award of $500,000 was awarded to the Dowagiac-based hospital to renovate existing emergency room facilities.

  • South Bend Charities:  Since inception, The Pokagon Fund has awarded over $793,000 to health and human organizations in South Bend.

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