EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Foundations investing in East Chicago's future

2012-12-02T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Foundations investing in East Chicago's futureBy Pete Smith nwitimes.com
December 02, 2012 12:00 am  • 

The Foundations of East Chicago plan to do more than give.

The FEC has been in existence since 1997 and has been very creative in funding and supporting programs in East Chicago.

One project we are especially proud of is the scholarships awarded to graduating high school seniors. Our scholarships are not limited to East Chicago Central, but to any graduating senior who is a resident of the city.

In 1998, FEC awarded three scholarships totaling $20,000. In 2012 FEC awarded 55 students a total of $117,000. We are proud of the hard work these scholars have achieved.

Recently, the committee awarded dollars to Manuel Mendoza to assist as he attends Harvard.

The Foundations of East Chicago is unique in that we receive our revenue from Ameristar Casino, and these funds are used toward education, public safety and community development projects.

Our scholarship committee is made up of leaders from the East Chicago community, educators (active and retired), Steelworkers, teachers, etc.

In March, FEC granted $2 million to the Ivy Tech Foundation to support the East Chicago De La Garza campus. “In addition to being the largest cash gift given in our region, it is also one of the top 10 cash gifts among all regions in the state", said J. Guadalupe Valtierra, chancellor of Ivy Tech Northwest.

This funding will help develop and improve the skills of many unemployed and under-employed residents in East Chicago.

"This is an historic opportunity for the college and the community to work as true partners, so together we can make a positive difference in the quality of life", said R. Louie Gonzalez, vice chancellor of Ivy Tech's De La Garza Campus in East Chicago.

FEC also awarded a grant to the Holistic Community Coalition. The HCC provides screening and testing for East Chicago residents to help them focus on their natural talents, hone their skills and seek employment. The initiative also seeks businesses looking to hire new employees. Using this information, Ivy Tech Corporate College designed a custom 40- to 80-hour course to train students in exactly the skills needed to win jobs in today's highly competitive market place. Contact HCC at (219) 354-0249 if interested.

Foundations of East Chicago is not only giving, but, investing in what works for our community.

Pete Smith is chairman of the Foundations of East Chicago scholarship committee. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.

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