VALPARAISO | A nonprofit agency, two nonprofit leaders and a volunteer garnered outstanding achievement awards Wednesday night from the Porter County Community Foundation.
“We could not accomplish anything at the foundation without our nonprofit partners,” Foundation President Barb Young said at a ceremony at Strongbow Inn. “It is their work providing critical services to those in need that makes our community a better place.”
Young presented outstanding achievement awards to The Caring Place, Chuck Leer, Dennis Morgan and Pat Bodensteiner.
Mary Beth Schultz, executive director of The Caring Place, accepted the award for her agency, which provides services and shelter for victims of violence and their children.
It is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year and recently received a $50,000 grant from Impact Porter County, a women’s giving circle associated with the foundation. The grant will help The Caring Place expand its teen dating violence prevention program, Schultz said.
Chuck Leer, who retired earlier this year as president of the Porter County Boys & Girls Club, received an outstanding nonprofit staff member award.
During his 37-year tenure, the Clubs grew from one facility serving 543 children to four facilities and nine extension sites serving more than 5,000 children. Leer also was instrumental in establishing the Boys & Girls Clubs Foundation and growing the endowment and planned giving programs.
Dennis Morgan, founder and CEO of the Family & Youth Services Bureau of Porter County, also received an outstanding nonprofit staff member award.
Bonnie Sullivan, chair of the bureau's board of directors, accepted the award for Morgan, who was unable to attend.
Now retired, Morgan began the agency 40 years ago as its sole employee. He partnered with courts, schools and other social service agencies and has grown the agency to 40 staff members and more than 100 volunteers, Sullivan said.
Pat Bodensteiner, who netted the outstanding volunteer award, has served with Planned Parenthood, The Caring Place, the VNA hospice program, Pines Village, the Valparaiso Family YMCA and Housing Opportunities.
She said her interest in volunteering began with her parents, especially her mother, who volunteered at a parochial school for 40 years.
“I learned from them what volunteering was all about,” Bodensteiner said. “We've been blessed to have a good life, and we want to give back.”