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Local women philanthropists support youth civic involvement at annual luncheon

Pictured are the 2018 Women in Philanthropy grant recipients Michelle Krueger, Heather Hahn Sullivan, Alisha Zick, Sade Carasquillo, Mary Joan Dickson and Josh Rivera.

MERRILLVILLE — At the Croatian Banquet Center Legacy Foundation’s Women in Philanthropy group awarded $15,800 in grants from its Women’s Philanthropy Fund. Eighty women came together to celebrate the impact of their giving.

Legacy Foundation, the community foundation for Lake County, began the group in 2016 with the goal of creating a network of women who could pool their resources to identify and address challenges in Lake County. Through the members’ combined contributions, the group has been able to award $35,800 since its start two years ago.

In year one, the women’s philanthropy group focused on the topic of education and made grants to support girls in STEM, affordable quality preschool and services for school-aged girls who have been exposed to trauma or violence. This year, it focused grant-making on the topic of youth civic engagement. “We were inspired by the leadership role that young people across the country were taking in their communities,” said Verlie Suggs during her announcement at the event. Suggs is a Women in Philanthropy member and a member of the Legacy Foundation board of directors.

The three grant recipients include Dunes Learning Center, For the Love of the Arts and Hanover Central Key Club. Dunes Learning Center will turn middle school students into citizen scientists by having them conduct research on a project of their choice, upload data into a national database and present at the Citizen Science Symposium with local environmental experts. For the Love of the Arts will connect teenagers to local government and encourage students to create a civic club that hosts forums to discuss social issues important to them. Hanover Central Key Club will utilize students to connect Cedar Lake residents to public meetings and special events through social media.

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