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Legacy Foundation announces multi-year funding and support

Legacy Foundation President and CEO Carolyn Saxton congratulates representatives from Hobart-West Side and Gary-Miller for their successful applications at a Neighborhood Spotlight grant program reception in 2014. The foundation intends to extend that type of program through a new community development corporation.

Lake County's Legacy Foundation intends to extend its community-building efforts throughout the county with creation of a nonprofit community development corporation.

The Lake County CDC would follow on Legacy's Neighborhood Spotlight and Choice Neighborhood programs of recent years. Those helped develop plans and initiate projects in three Gary neighborhoods, in Griffith and in northwest Hobart.

"We see this as an opportunity to provide much-needed community development support to area neighborhoods,” Legacy Foundation President Carolyn Saxton said of the CDC.

The foundation, with support from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, will hire an acting director for the CDC and work with that person to create an organization that can apply for independent nonprofit status after the first year.

“The short term goal of this project is to create a sustainable CDC that will be able to focus on the transformation of vulnerable, undervalued and transitional neighborhoods into healthier places where people invest their time, energy and resources and where residents are engaged in community problem solving,” said Kelly Anoe, Legacy Foundation vice president.

After the initial year, the Lake County CDC will apply for independent tax exempt status and seek new partnerships and funding opportunities to sustain it for the long term.

“In the long term, we believe this will increase access to economic opportunity and mobility for residents across Lake County,” Anoe said.

JPMorgan Chase also provided grants for the Neighborhood Spotlight program, which included creation of detailed "quality of life" plans for the Miller and Emerson areas in Gary, northwest Hobart and the town of Griffith. Faith Farms urban garden in Gary's Emerson neighborhood and a bike-sharing program in Miller are among the projects that have emerged.

The Choice Neighborhood program is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development initiative that helped Gary create a "Blueprint for Change" for the area bordered by Broadway, Ridge Road, Interstate 65 and Interstate 80/94.

Visit www.legacyfdn.org for information on the Legacy Foundation.

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Transportation Reporter

Andrew covers transportation, real estate, casinos and other topics for The Times business section. A Crown Point native, he joined The Times in 2014, and has more than 15 years experience as a reporter and editor at Region newspapers.