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HISTORY: HFL's Founding - Today

LATE 2015

As a hospital sale approaches, a committee of the IU Health La Porte Hospital Council of Chairpersons and Hospital Foundation board members decides that the best interest of the citizens of La Porte is to direct the hospital sales proceeds to a newly created 501(c)3 organization, named Healthcare Foundation of La Porte. 

December 3: HFL is incorporated as an Indiana nonprofit corporation. 


March 1: IU Health La Porte Hospital is sold and Healthcare Foundation of La Porte initiates operations with Maria Fruth as president and CEO. HFL's founding Board of Directors, pictured below, is: 

  • Jeff Bernel, Board Chair (2016-2020)

  • Rory Bunce

  • Jim Clarke

  • Dan Kaminski

  • Kathleen Lang

  • Tim Larson

  • Jim Laughlin

  • Dr. Hester Muller

  • Jane Nelson

  • Drumm Osborn

  • Rich Schmitt


The first year is spent establishing HFL's identity. This means creating a strategic plan, determining the mission, vision, and values that will guide HFL's work, and conducting hours of research to identify how the foundation will operate. Community health needs are assessed, and Fruth visits private foundations in Indiana and beyond to bring back best practices and inspiration. Forty "Get to Knows" are also conducted, face-to-face conversations with La Porte County nonprofits, schools, and government agencies to better understand the services provided and any gaps to fill. 

At the same time the leadership is working hard to establish HFL in its own right, they are equally committed to honoring the foundation's roots. To begin, HFL continues to support what the Hospital Foundation had done previously including scholarships and events. Soon, the Foundation's special events -- Holiday at the pops and Tour de La Porte -- are transferred, and HFL cements itself as a grantmaking and thought leadership organization. Through stewarding the proceeds of the sale of the hospital - $106 million -- and honoring the gifts from the Hospital Foundation's 18,616 donors, HFL begins working diligently toward its mission: Empowering the residents of La Porte County to live healthy and well. 


In addition to visiting other foundations, Fruth and the board of directors select the Social Determinants of Health and the County Health Rankings as guiding data on which to select indicators to track. HFL joins several philanthropic leadership organizations, including the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance (IPA) and Council on Foundations, and establishes its vision and values. 

  To be among Indiana's top 10 healthiest
    communities by 2030.

    Innovative & Visionary Thought Leadership

Once the foundation of HFL is set, the team really gets to work. The first year also sees the creation of a strategic plan, a budget, policies and procedures, committees, logo and branding, grantmaking style, and more. Initial staff are hired, and the first office location is selected.


8 years of empowering residents to live healthy and well

Health Foundation of La Porte (HFL) was formed in 2016 from the sale of our local hospital. Since then, HFL has become a trusted philanthropical leader in La Porte County, Indiana. HFL is a nonprofit, private, independent foundation driven by three focus areas: grantmaking, strategic and thought leadership, and capacity building. Through funding, nonprofit education, and collaborative partnerships, HFL has invested more than $41M into the community since 2017. 

Read on to learn how HFL established itself as a changemaker in the community.


Be in the know about HFL's strategic initiatives, grants, the Conference & Learning Center, and all things health & wellness in La Porte County!
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