The Pokagon Fund is governed by a legal contract that was signed in March, 2001 by the City of New Buffalo, the Pokagon Council and the New Buffalo Township. The contract between the three parties specifies that The Pokagon Fund contributions must be distributed per a specified formula. According to Section 24(b), of total contributions received monthly from the Four Winds Casino, New Buffalo, 45% must be allocated to projects approved by the Board of Directors that benefit the New Buffalo region, which includes the townships of New Buffalo, Chikaming and Three Oaks.
Of all contributions, 45% must be allocated to municipal entities located within the three townships outlined above. The formula for distribution of these funds is as follows:
- 21% shall be made to projects requested by New Buffalo Township
- 14% shall be made to projects requested by the City of New Buffalo
- 2% shall be made to projects requested by Chikaming Township
- 2% shall be made to projected requested by Three Oaks Township
- 2% shall be made to projects requested by New Buffalo Area Schools
- 1% shall be made to the Village of Three Oaks
- 1% shall be made to projects requested by the Village of Michiana
- 1% shall be made to projects requested by the Village of Grand Beach
- 1% shall be made to projects requested by the River Valley School District
- The remaining 10% of The Pokagon Fund Contributions must be allocated to the communities surrounding the Band trust land consolidation sites including Dowagiac and Hartford, Michigan and South Bend, Indiana
Allocations of funding to the municipal entities (45%) as well as to those projects benefiting the New Buffalo region (45%) may be spent on government programs or other programs benefiting seniors, children, schools, student scholarships, compulsive treatment programs including but not limited to gambling, land preservation and acquisition, and local economic development projects.
As outlined in the section, Our Focus, The Pokagon Fund recently narrowed its funding focus through a strategic planning process in June 2016 to those projects that would support Poverty Reduction, Education and Community Vitality.