16 Organizations to recieve grants

Collier Lodge about 1920

16 organizations to receive grants

By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune

A wide swath of Porter County organizations recently received grant money from Indiana Dunes Tourism to further their work.

In all, 16 organizations received a total of $34,500 in grant money for this year. The grants, awarded in mid-February by the tourism board, include funds for festivals and special events, marketing, sports sponsorship and product development.

Recipients received between $1,000 and $5,000.

The grants can be used for developing and enhancing attractions, according to the release, as well as advertising, printing and promotional expenses that bring visitors to the area and encourage overnight stays. The funds also can be used to develop promotional materials, including websites and brochures.

Among the recipients this year are the Porter County Sheriff’s Department, for its summer camp program; the Hooked on Art festival sponsored by Frontline Foundations; and Pastime Tournaments, for its Great Lakes Woodbat Classic.

Also among the recipients is the Kankakee Valley Historical Society, which received a $5,000 grant for product development.
The grant, said Tina Rongers, the historical society’s executive director, will help the society undertake a strategic plan for priorities for capacity building, fundraising and branding and marketing.

The society has been working to restore Collier Lodge on Baums Bridge Road outside of Kouts.

“This will be a blueprint for how we move forward for the next one to three years, and position our long-term sustainability as an organization,” Rongers said.

The society, Rongers said, has seen some success over the past year and a half with its efforts with Collier Lodge, a former hunting lodge, and wants to use the grant to elevate its work.

The society received a planning grant in 2015 from the state’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs with assistance from the Porter County Board of Commissioners, and also received a $10,000 grant from the Porter County Community Foundation for environmental assessment and survey work, she said.

An anonymous donor also is offering to match donations and grants up to $10,000, so the $5,000 grant from Indiana Dunes Tourism will receive a match, Rongers said.

“We’re excited to bring all these efforts together,” she said.

Rongers said the strategic plan “will be our action plan for making (Collier Lodge) a tourism destination for the region.”

Amy Lavalley is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.