top of page
2024 HFL Healthy Partners Icon updated red RGB.png

Strategic Priorities

Health Foundation of La Porte (HFL) makes grants to support our strategic priorities of Healthy Children, Healthy Living, and Healthy Minds. These priorities were selected through a strategic planning process that identified the community needs that most affect the health and wellness of La Porte County residents.

For each strategic priority, HFL has a defined result we seek and set of indicators. A result is the condition of well-being we seek in the community. Indicators are community-level data that provide critical information to suggest whether the projects, programs, and policies that partners are implementing are improving the condition of well-being in the community. Indicators are used to measure progress toward the result we seek, and indicators help us all to see where we are making progress and where we need to redouble our efforts. 


Children and Youth 

Children’s health is inseparable from HFL’s mission of empowering La Porte County residents to live healthy and well given the lifelong benefits of good physical and mental health in childhood, for individuals, families, and communities.   


To stay healthy, grow, and develop, children need to receive required immunizations, regular checkups, dental and vision care, and medical attention when they are injured or sick. Children with health insurance are more likely to receive healthcare and have better health throughout childhood and adolescence. Children also need nutritious food, safe and supportive environments, and opportunities for learning.   


The result we seek is: 


Children and youth in La Porte County are healthy, safe, and can achieve their full potential.  

Healthier Babies 

HFL is committed to reducing infant mortality, preterm birth, and low birthweight in La Porte County.  In 2019, HFL established Partners for Healthier Babies (PHB), convening community partners to work together to deliver healthier moms and babies. Compared to both the Indiana state and national average, in 2019 La Porte County had one of the highest rates of infant mortality. Strategies were formulated from analyzing hospital data, mapping services currently offered, identifying service gaps, speaking to patients, and researching best practices. Strategies include:

  • Improve the health of women before, during, and beyond pregnancy.

  • Ensure access to a continuum of safe and high-quality, pre-natal care in the first trimester.

  • Implement key evidence-based preventative programs that directly impact infant mortality, preterm birth, and low birth weight.

  • Integrate clinical care and community-based organizations providing connections to support and resources.

  • Improve sleep=-related death prevention education for providers and families that included factors that significantly increases the unsafe sleep related infant deaths.


This campaign to reduce infant mortality, low birth rates, and preterm birth rates continues today, with PHB working to address the social, behavioral, and health risk factors that contribute to infant mortality, preterm birth, and low birthweight to make a positive impact on birth outcomes in La Porte County. These factors include late or no prenatal care; smoking during pregnancy; pre-conception obesity, hypertension, and diabetes; pregnancy in adolescence; and unsafe sleep practices; among others.  


Through Healthy Children and Partners for Healthier Babies, the result we seek is: 


Babies in La Porte County are born healthy and thrive. 

Healthy Children
Healthy Living


Poor nutrition, physical inactivity, unhealthy weight, a lack of healthcare coverage, and where people live can lead to serious health risks and conditions, greater medical costs, financial hardship, and a lower quality of life. For this reason, HFL’s Healthy Living is focused on Healthy Eating and Active Living, Healthcare Access, and the 46350 Housing Strategy. 


Healthy Eating and Active Living 

Obesity increases the risk of many health conditions and diseases, including heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stroke, liver and gallbladder disease, respiratory problems, cancer, and osteoarthritis. Maintaining a healthy weight helps to prevent and control these diseases, which are severe obstacles to a person’s ability to live a long and fulfilling life. Obesity also carries significant economic costs due to increased healthcare spending and lost earnings. 


Access to healthy foods is a key component to healthy eating habits. Low-income and underserved areas often have limited access to healthy foods as stores selling healthy foods may not be located nearby, the stores may not accept various types of payment, there may not be reliable transportation to the store, and the foods may not be affordable or culturally familiar. Additionally, food insecurity, defined as limited availability or uncertain ability to access nutritionally adequate foods, is associated with chronic health problems including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, obesity, and mental health conditions.  


Through HFL’s Healthy Living priority, HFL is committed to helping La Porte County residents improve their physical health through regular physical activity, access to nutritious food, and healthy eating habits. The result we seek is: 


La Porte County residents are physically active and eat nutritious foods. 

Healthcare Access 

Access to healthcare is fundamental to good health. Access can be limited by affordability, availability of providers and services, transportation, and acceptability among patients, among other factors.  


Inadequate health insurance coverage is one of the biggest barriers to accessing healthcare. Health insurance protects people from unexpected, high medical costs, reducing financial strain on people and communities. It makes healthcare more affordable and accessible and is linked to improved productivity, better health outcomes, and lower death rates. People without health insurance are less likely to get the healthcare and medications that they need. They are less likely to get routine checkups and preventive screenings and are more likely to seek treatment once the condition is more advanced and more difficult to treat.  


Transportation and provider shortages are other major barriers to healthcare access in the community. Additionally, hours of operation, the need to make appointments, and language limit access for many community members.  


HFL is committed to improving access to healthcare in La Porte County. The result we seek is: 


La Porte County residents can access the healthcare services and medications they need. 

46350 Housing Strategy 

Housing and where people live influence all aspects of life, including health and safety, access to opportunity, economic mobility, and quality of life. 


In 2022, Health Foundation of La Porte joined forces with the City of La Porte to assess current and future housing needs in the City of La Porte. HFL contracted SB Friedman, a real estate development advisory firm based in Chicago, to conduct an in-depth study and then prepare a detailed housing strategy for the City.  


The study found that the City of La Porte--like many other communities throughout the country--is facing several housing-related challenges. These include a reduced supply of units in both the for-sale and the rental housing markets, underproduction of new housing in recent years, an aging housing stock, and a limited supply of workforce and rent-restricted housing and housing for people with special housing needs. 


Building on the housing strategy, as well as the City of La Porte’s Heart of La Porte plan, HFL partnered with the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture’s Housing and Community Regeneration Initiative to conduct a Charrette. Through the Charrette, which is a type of study, a vision for the regeneration of downtown La Porte and an action plan to implement the vision were created.  


Indicators for the 46350 Housing Strategy are under consideration. Please check back for updates

Healthcare Access Indicator

46350 Housing Strategy Indicators

  • Under consideration



Mental health is a vital component of a person’s well-being and is connected to physical health. Mental health affects how we feel, think, and behave. Positive mental health allows people to handle stress, take care of their physical health, work productively, contribute to their communities, and realize their full potential.  

The importance of mental health for a person’s overall health and well-being, and the negative effects of untreated mental illness, substance use, and tobacco use on individuals, families, and our community, has led HFL to identify Healthy Minds as a strategic priority. By supporting programs that focus on the prevention and treatment of mental health conditions, we can empower residents to live healthy and well in La Porte County.   

For Healthy Minds, the result we seek is:  

La Porte County residents experience positive mental health and can access support and treatment for mental health conditions, including substance use disorder.  

Healthy Minds


Healthy La Porte grants meet community health and wellness needs that fall outside of HFL’s strategic priorities of of Healthy Children,

Healthy Living,  and Healthy Minds and demonstrate a connection to HFL’s mission and vision. HFL accepts Healthy La Porte grant requests of $25,000 and under. 


Our goals for Healthy La Porte grants are: 

  • Expand successful, existing programs that improve the health and wellness of La Porte County residents 

  • Test new, promising initiatives to meet health and wellness needs identified in La Porte County 

  • Collaborate to better meet health and wellness needs identified in La Porte County 

Healthy La Porte
Healthy Partners
2024 HFL Healthy Partners Icon updated red RGB.png


Many community organizations are eager to strengthen the skills and training of their leadership and staff. HFL has identified capacity building as a funding priority to help organizations develop and strengthen the skills, abilities, and resources that are needed to make even more impactful change in our community. HFL provides Healthy Partners grants by invitation only. 


Our goals for Healthy Partners grants are: 

  • Increase the impact of nonprofit organizations in La Porte County 

  • Strengthen and grow the knowledge, infrastructure, management, and governance of nonprofit organizations in La Porte County 

Nonprofit Leadership Academy

HFL partners with Indiana University Executive Education at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs to bring best-in-class leadership training for nonprofit organizations to La Porte County. Participants fulfilling all requirements receive a certificate from Indiana University.

The program includes six practical training modules. The 2018 and 2019 Academy graduates participated in Nonprofit Management in the 21st Century, Strategic and Operational Planning, Financial Management, Marketing and Communication, Planning for Fundraising Success, and Results-Based Accountability™. Courses are taught by seasoned practitioners.

2023-24 Graduates: 

Erica Boyd - E Marie Project 

Jackie Dermody - Family Advocates 

Amanda Fowler - La Porte County Meals on Wheels 

Stacey Garcelon - Anam Cara 

Abby Hinch - Social and Learning Institute 

Bill Harmon - SHARE Foundation  

Steve Hobby - Paladin 

Harry Holtkamp - Nest Community Shelter 

Julia Kanestrom - Arts in the Park 

Erica Kanney - Health Foundation of La Porte  

Sally Riffer - Boys & Girls Clubs of La Porte County 

Tammy Rosebaum - Citizens Concerned for the Homeless 

Emily Yiannias - La Porte County Symphony Orchestra


2019 Graduates:

Christopher Taelman – Hospice Foundation
Jim Musial – Citizens Concerned for the Homeless
Gabrielle Ginther – Dunebrook
Edward Seal – Home Team La Porte County
Shannon Walker – La Porte County YMCA
Cheryl Dauer – La Porte County Meals on Wheels
Jeremy Sobecki – La Porte County Park Foundation
Monica Komasinki – Leadership La Porte County
Ashley Robbins – New Prairie Education Foundation
Erin Mooneyhan – Paladin, Inc.
Dorota Janik – Reins of Life
Ephphatha Malden – Swanson Center
Debbie Sellers – The Social and Learning Institute
Maria Galka – Visiting Nurse Association of NWI
Brandi Lewis – Boys and Girls Club of Michigan City
Karen Biernacki – Family Advocates
Connor Podkul – Friendship Botanic Gardens
Mario Rosa – La Porte Community Schools

2018 Class Graduates:

Lisa Smithson – Arts in the Park
Jeanne Ann Cannon – Dunebrook
Jennifer Olson – Healthy Communities of La Porte County
Amber Poff – Indiana Guardianship Services
Nanda Danitschek – La Porte County Symphony Orchestra
Janet Bloch – Lubeznik Center for the Arts
Michelle Shirk – Lubeznik Center for the Arts
Diane Wilczewski – Meals on Wheels
Casaundra “Kay” Hill – Stepping Stone Shelter for Women
Larry Smith – The Intrepid Phoenix
Nathan Loucks – The Pax Center
Kris Pate – United Way of La Porte County
Debra S. Varnak – Unity Foundation of La Porte County
Steven Bernth – Youth Service Bureau
Sandy Cogswell - Anam Cara Stables

HFL Nonprofit Leadership Academy Graduates from 2019

Nonprofit Leadership Academy Graduates, 2019

Leadership Academy Photo 1.JPG

Nonprofit Leadership Academy Graduates, along with IU's Sara Johnson (top left) and HFL CEO Maria Fruth, (top right) 2024



HFL accepts grant requests for our When Seconds Count: AED Initiative once per year beginning on February 14.

To date, HFL has awarded 253 AEDs to nonprofits, schools, and local government agencies, and we have awarded grants to the City of La Porte Fire Department to assist them to provide free CPR classes to the community. In total, HFL has invested $601,138 in AED and CPR-related grants since 2017.

bottom of page