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HFL To Host Inaugural Nonprofit Excellence Symposium

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

Healthcare Foundation of La Porte (HFL) is hosting the first Nonprofit Excellence Symposium, Leaders Learn, on Friday, January 27, 2023. The Symposium, held at HFL’s Conference & Learning Center, is a one-day event welcoming more than 40 La Porte County nonprofit leaders to learn from experts and each other, network, share best practices, and grow as leaders. La Porte County’s nonprofits provide a range of needed services for residents of all ages, from prenatal care to senior support.

HFL’s mission is to empower La Porte County residents to live healthy and well. HFL advances its mission through strategic thought leadership, grantmaking, and capacity building efforts for nonprofits, including educational events like the symposium.

Symposium Details

The theme for the Symposium, Leaders Learn, comes from a quote by Israelmore Ayivor in his book Leaders’ Ladder: “Just as the bird needs wings to fly, a leader needs useful information to flow. Leaders learn.” Birds are a symbol for HFL’s focus on capacity building for nonprofits so they can soar, and the Symposium will feature the bird motif throughout the day.

The Symposium will also feature a keynote by psychotherapist and columnist Philip Chard, discussing Emotional Intelligence, as well as sessions on cybersecurity and insurance for nonprofits, staff and volunteer recruitment and retention, state and federal grants, helpful features available on, and more. The day will also include peer learning through nonprofit hot topic discussions, resource sharing, and networking.

A dedicated Planning Committee contributed time and expertise to help make this event a success. The Symposium Planning Committee was comprised of Jackie Dermody, Family Advocates CEO; Deb Varnak, Stepping Stone Shelter for Women Interim Director; Steve Bernth, Youth Service Bureau Executive Director; Shannon Walker, Unity Foundation of La Porte County Vice President; Michelle Shirk, Boys & Girls Clubs of La Porte County CEO; Nate Loucks, The PAX Center President; and Trudy Menke, Reframing Leadership President. HFL extends tremendous gratitude to these leaders for their ideas on topics, sessions, and the general structure and flow of the Symposium.

“HFL's Nonprofit Excellence Symposium is an opportunity to support and strengthen nonprofit leaders doing tremendous work to support health and wellness in La Porte County as well as bring them together for networking and resource sharing,” said Maria Fruth, HFL CEO.

Since 2017, HFL has invested over $36 million in the community. To learn more about the Symposium and HFL’s grantmaking and capacity building, visit, call 219.326.2471, or email

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