Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship, La Porte County Finalists

Unity Foundation of La Porte County congratulates 11 local high school seniors as La Porte County finalists for the prestigious Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship. Two students from La Porte County will be selected as 2015 Lilly Endowment Community Scholars, to receive a full-tuition scholarship to be used to pursue a baccalaureate degree at any accredited public or private Indiana college or university and an annual $900 book stipend. The 2015 scholarship finalists and their respective schools are: La Crosse High School: Justin Kiel La Porte High School: Christine Ake, Jamie Austin, Austin Bohlin, Julia Jongkind, Joseph Tomal Marquette High School: Rebecca Yaw Michigan City High School: Olivia Glowacki New Prairie High School: Annabelle Papai, Larissa Whitaker South Central  High School: Abigail Gibbs Unity Foundation received 69 applications for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship from students throughout La Porte County.  Applicants were judged on their academic achievement, service to others, extracurricular activities and, to a lesser extent, financial need.  A committee comprised of La Porte County residents reviewed the applications, not knowing the applicants’ names until after the finalists were selected.  The 11 finalists were then interviewed, and nominee and alternate names were submitted to the Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. for the final selection – which will be shared by March 27. Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) is a nonprofit corporation that represents 31 regionally accredited degree granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state. The scholarships are the result of a statewide Lilly Endowment initiative to help Hoosier students reach higher levels of education.  Indiana currently ranks among the lowest states in the percentage of residents over...

La Porte County Family Gives Back

Unity has a number of Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) with donors who actively participate in making grants to local charitable organizations. Some of these DAFs are guided by individuals, some by couples, some by entire families! Every fund is unique and has a special history. One La Porte County family, who for anonymity purposes will be called the Smiths, has been practicing philanthropy together for several generations. “In our family, philanthropy has always consisted of a combination of time, talent and treasure.  There wasn’t a lot of the ‘treasure’ component in previous generations (think ‘The Great Depression’), but giving of time and talent were strongly encouraged and demonstrated.” –Aunt Smith Conversations about giving back to the community begin at a young age in the Smith family. Aunt Smith set up a DAF with Unity Foundation so that her nieces and nephews could have the opportunity to take more ownership and make giving of their “treasure” an extension of who they are. The only requirements are that the grants must be kept in La Porte County. They are also encouraged to choose youth oriented projects. When asked about what type of message or takeaway she was attempting to instill with her nieces and nephews, Aunt Smith replied, “Primarily that all of our gifts of talent and treasure are just that; they are gifts from God.  And helping others through sharing of those gifts will enrich both the donor and the recipient if the gifts are thoughtfully given.” As a family with religious roots, the Smiths learned a great deal about giving back to the community through their church affiliation. Yet...

Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Applications Available

The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship application is now available on Unity Foundation of La Porte County’s website at www.uflc.net Unity Foundation is offering two full-tuition, four year college scholarships to benefit La Porte County residents.  The scholarships are funded by Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. and administered by the Independent Colleges of Indiana. They provide full tuition, required fees, and a special allocation of up to $900 per year for required books and equipment for four years of undergraduate study, leading to a baccalaureate degree at any accredited Indiana public or private college or university. To be eligible, students must: ▪  be a resident of La Porte County, Indiana. ▪  have graduated from an accredited high school that serves La Porte County by June 30, 2015. ▪  intend to pursue a full-time baccalaureate course of study beginning in the Fall of 2015 at an accredited Indiana college or university. ▪  submit a complete online application at www.uflc.net to the Unity Foundation by 11:59 p.m. on January 16, 2015. The scholarships will be awarded based on academic achievement, demonstrated service to others, leadership ability, commitment and motivation to succeed in academics, employment history, and financial need.  A personal interview will assist in determining scholarship recipients.  Non-traditional students – those who have been out of high school for any period of time – are encouraged to call the Unity Foundation at 219-879-0327 to see if they meet eligibility requirements. Over the past 16 years, 52 La Porte County students have benefited from this generous scholarship program, totaling more than $3.6 million in support. Since 1992, Unity Foundation of La Porte County has...

8th Annual Scholarship Fair for Lake, Porter & La Porte Counties

The Urban League of Northwest Indiana will host its Annual College Scholarship Fair for Lake, Porter, and La Porte County graduating high school seniors on Thursday, September 25, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Genesis Convention Center, 1 North Genesis Plaza, Gary, Indiana 46402. Over 50 college, university and United States Army ROTC representatives will be on site offering admission and college scholarship award opportunities to qualifying students!   Requirements to participated include: 1.  3.0 G.P.A. or better is ideal, however some colleges and universities will consider lower G.P.A.’s 2.  21 ACT Score or SAT Score of 1650. 3.  Résumé 4.  250 word essay explaining why a higher education is important to you. 5.  Two letters of recommendation. 6.  Printed admissions registration –please visit www.infinitescholar.org Remember to bring several copies of: transcripts, ACT/SAT scores, letters of recommendation and “Importance of a Higher Education” essays! High school students and recent high school graduates are encouraged to attend. College students that have graduated from a two (2) year accredited college or university and wish to pursue a degree at a 4 year higher education institute should attend as well. Parents are encouraged to attend with their children.   For more information please contact: Urban League of Northwest Indiana, Inc. 3101 Broadway, Gary, Indiana 46409 Phone:...

Citywide Back to School Rally

What: 2014 “Citywide Back-to-School” School Supply Drive Who:  The Citywide Back-to-School Rally Organizing Committee (Boys & Girls Club, Covering Kids and Families La Porte County, MDWise, Michigan City Area Schools, HealthLinc, Indiana Black Expo, La Porte County NAACP, La Porte County YMCA, Purdue University North Central, the City of Michigan City, Deliverance and Victory Outreach Ministries, Shaka-Hand Maka-Friend, United Way of La Porte County), and media partners The News Dispatch, WIMS Radio, and WEFM Radio – with help from area businesses and community members! Why: Many students in our community do not have the necessary supplies to start the school year. Help us make sure all students in Michigan City are prepared to learn! (All supplies collected will be distributed at a “City-Wide Back to School Rally” at Elston Middle School on August 14 and by principals at individual schools.) How YOU can help: Place a collection box at your place of business and encourage employees and/or patrons to donate supplies July 21 – August 11. (Use the attached flyer to place on the collection box.) THEN bring the supplies you collect to Elston Middle School on Tuesday, August 12 (9:00 a.m. – Noon). Enter on the west side of the building, by Meer Gym.  How YOU can help even more: Send an employee (or two or three!) to help sort items at Elston Middle School’s Meer Gym on Wednesday, August 13 (9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.) Donations of money for school supplies are also much appreciated! Suggested donations: pencils, black pens, crayons (24 count), spiral notebooks and 3-hole notebook paper (college rule is especially needed), dry erase markers, glue...

The Shirley Heinze Land Trust – More than Thirty Years in the Wilderness

Many, many, many years from now, when future generations are admiring the beauty of a globally rare dune-and-swale habitat in Hammond, tallgrass prairie in Hobart, oak savanna in Portage, Moraine forest in LaPorteCounty, and other breathtaking natural wonders of Northwest Indiana, they may throw a glance back to 1981 and celebrate another anniversary of the Shirley Heinze Land Trust. There is already much to celebrate this year, the 30th anniversary of its founding. The Trust follows two paths – to protect and restore ecologically significant natural areas in Northwest Indiana, and to inspire and educate people of all ages about the value of land conservation to protect our natural world and enrich our lives. The organization was established as the Shirley Heinze Environmental Fund with the Unity Foundation on November 21, 1981. A generous endowment from Robert and Bette Lou Seidner in memory of Dr. Shirley Heinze, who was actively involved in the protection of the Indiana Dunes, made it possible. According to Dale Enquist, President of the Board of Directors, in the early years, the Fund relied heavily on Save the Dunes Council for guidance, board membership, staff, and even office space. A look back shows an already impressive record of achievement. The habitats mentioned above are just part of the more than 1,200 acres of precious natural land – covering the entire spectrum of natural communities in the region – that have been protected. The Trust has transferred many properties to partner organizations, and has contributed to the acquisition of other lands, including such treasures as Hoosier Prairie and Moraine Nature Preserve. Success in land stewardship truly...