Summer News from the Unity Foundation of La Porte County

Manufacturing is Big Business Here!

Unity Foundation promoted its many scholarship opportunities at Made in La Porte County for students considering engineering, manufacturing and other technical fields. Made in La Porte County was a day-long event at Marquette Mall for manufacturers to showcase what they make to community leaders and the public, to network with other businesses, and to get a glimpse of the future work force. Hundreds of students from every high school in the county visited employers to ask questions and learn what kind of skills they need for future jobs. Thirty-six companies exhibited, representing a good sample of the 150 manufacturers in the county. Many students were unaware of the many opportunities right here in their backyard and were unfamiliar with most of the companies but left knowing what they wanted to study.

Exciting News for Ivy Tech in Michigan City

The college recently acquired the entire space at 3714 South Franklin St. as a result of the generosity of Drs. Rade and Leslie Pejic. However, much renovation and repurposing of space is needed. The initial phases of renovation are progressing well.

Even more exciting, Unity Foundation of La Porte County issued the Michigan City Pejic campus a fund raising challenge. Quite simply, when Ivy Tech and its supporters raise $100,000 for their endowment account at Unity, an additional $50,000 will be donated by Unity to be used exclusively for improvements at the Michigan City campus.

Partnering with Ivy Tech with a contribution doubles the value of your gift and helps us enhance this critical center for learning. It will assist us with funds to help offset renovation work, repurposing of space and updating the campus with state-of-the-art technology,” said J. Guadalupe Valtierra, Chancellor Ivy Tech Northwest.

Unity is delighted to help Ivy Tech build a permanent endowment that will support the campus forever. Ivy Tech is critical to our community’s educational future,” said Maggi Spartz, Unity Foundation president.

Investing in Ivy Tech helps students learn the academic and technical skills they need to be globally competitive employees, who in turn will help businesses grow and prosper. And it increases the odds of increased family incomes, which is good for the whole community.

Ivy Tech’s expansion will allow them to:

  • Assist more students—in particular the low to moderate income students— with the skills necessary to be more marketable
  • Offer an increased number of occupational and customized workforce training opportunities
  • Provide students an environment that is more conducive to learning
  • Provide appropriate space for more specialized academic and training equipment
  • Create a “brain gain” for current and potential employers in NW Indiana

Consider a gift to Ivy Tech Michigan City Pejic Campus Endowment Fund today. You’ll not only generate a match…you’ll be making a great investment in education, right here where it counts the most.

Sandy Gleim Joins the "Power for Good"

Sandy Gleim has joined Unity Foundation of La Porte County as Vice President. She fills the spot held by Sue Korte-Regetz since 2006. Korte-Regetz recently relocated to Pocatello, Idaho with her husband, John Regetz, the former head of the Michigan City Economic Development Corporation.

Gleim’s background includes grant writing, grant making and oversight, fundraising and special events, marketing and public relations, coalition building and strategic development. Gleim was the Executive Director of Healthy Communities of LaPorte County for the past 11 years. She has a successful track record for attracting local, state and federal grants to improve the quality of life in La Porte County. Her successes included helping children and families without health insurance, reducing the negative health and financial issues related to tobacco usage, improving literacy levels, and overcoming transportation barriers. She brings a great understanding of youth and adult drug abuse issues as the former coordinator for the LaPorte County Drug Free Partnership.

Maggi Spartz, Unity Foundation president said, “We’re delighted to add Sandy to our lean and effective team. Her experiences with grant making and coalition- building are very important to us, as well as her passion for making La Porte County a better place to live, work and play.” Gleim will oversee grant making, scholarships and operations at the foundation.

Gleim is a graduate of Leadership La Porte County. She has served on the board of directors for United Way of LaPorte County, Purdue Cooperative Extension, and HealthVisions Midwest, as well as the advisory board for the Community Health Center. She and her husband, Rick, live in La Porte County.

Gleim also is a member of the La Porte Service League, First United Methodist Church of La Porte Praise Team and Missions Committee, and acts in numerous community theater productions. She also sings with the Trouble Blind band.

Unity Foundation’s mission is to strengthen La Porte County now and forever by: Building permanent endowments; providing leadership; offering philanthropic vehicles for everyone; and, being a catalyst for social and economic vitality. For more information, please visit

Fred Brust: Seeding La Porte County's Future

On May 12, 2012, Unity lost one of its founding board members, Fred A. Brust and La Porte County lost a really good friend. Fred played an important role in the formation of Unity during its first five years. He helped the foundation grow from $0 in assets to more than $5 million. Of course, the first dollars raised were the hardest, because the “community foundation” concept was so new in 1992.

Being in agriculture and land conservation, Fred and his wife, Helen understood the power of setting aside ‘seeds’ for future crops, just as endowment funds bear fruit each year in the form of charitable income. That’s what Unity is all about.

Fred kept a watchful eye on Unity Foundation over the years, providing insight and advice even after leaving the board. Maggi Spartz, President, said; “Fred was an amazing person. He was always thinking about how to make things better. We’ll miss his thoughtful insights, his encouragement, and of course, his humor.”

Upcoming Events

July 20: Deadline for Unity Community Fund grant applications of $3,000 or less. Visit for guidelines and application.

September 29: Homeward Bound Walk to raise awareness of housing and homeless issues: 8am–11am, Washington Park, Michigan City. Call 219-879-4615 or see for information.

October: Unity Annual Luncheon & Grant Awards. Date & location to be determined.

November 7: Professional Advisor Workshop III. 8am–12pm. Location TBD.

December 31: Last day to make a tax deductible gift for 2012.

Home Team Meetings: People concerned about housing and homelessness meet most 4th Thursdays at 8:30am–10am at the First Presbyterian Church, 8th & Washington, Michigan City. Call Unity to learn more.

Love Our Lakes Campaign

Did You Know?

  • There are 10 lakes within and around the City of La Porte?
  • There used to be 17 lakes. . .what happened to them?
  • There are even more lakes connected to La Porte County. . .including the Great Lake Michigan!

Love Our Lakes is a campaign to increase the understanding of and appreciation for all our lakes. Unity Foundation is working to preserve a beautiful view of Pine Lake by securing the two acres of vacant land at 1010 Pine Lake Avenue. Learn more by visiting, or the Love Our Lakes Facebook page,, or by contacting us directly. Please help us keep the view of Pine Lake open by donating to the Love Our Lakes Fund.

For more information about the Unity Foundation of La Porte County, visit us online at