The Healthcare Foundation of La Porte was recognized for its contributions to the health and wellness of local residents as it was presented the Indiana Park and Recreation Association Corporate Partner of the Year Award at the IPRA Awards of Excellence Banquet on Wednesday, February 12, in Muncie.
The IPRA Annual Awards of Excellence recognize agencies and individuals throughout Indiana that embody the vision, dedication and excellence needed in the field of parks and recreation. These awards highlight efforts that transcend everyday standards in order to make a difference and improve the quality of life in Indiana’s communities. IPRA award winners include park and recreation professionals, organizations, agencies and volunteers.
The Healthcare Foundation of La Porte (HFL) was created in 2016, dedicated to empowering residents to live healthy and well in and around La Porte to become one of Indiana’s top 10 healthiest communities by 2030. The foundation, endowed by the sale of the non-profit La Porte Hospital to a for-profit entity, opened its first grant cycle in 2017. Since then, HFL has shown an overwhelming commitment to parks and trails in our community, believing in the health and wellness benefits of outdoor recreation.
The City of La Porte Parks and Recreation Department has received just over $1 million in grant funds. These grants have funded programs such as supervised summer playgrounds, new amenities including an outdoor fitness court and accessible kayak launch and even professional services for a master plan for Soldiers Memorial Park.
The La Porte County Parks has received grants totaling $147,000, including funding for a quarter mile of new paved trail, exercise stations and water bottle filling stations.
Perhaps the biggest impact HFL has made in our community has been $1.7 million granted toward trail design and construction. The foundation provided the match for the construction of the first phase of the Chessie Trail, which opened in April 2019, and funding for the design of the second phase. The largest of these grants will see $887,000 put toward a trail and amenities along the southern edge of Stone Lake this year.
The foundation also granted $425,000 to the City of La Porte for a sub-area plan to create destinations to drive active living in the area around Clear Lake, an adjacent brownfield redevelopment and our downtown and build infrastructure to support it. This process will create a long-term vision for the area while focusing on short-term redevelopment, placemaking and recreation opportunities.
Maria Fruth, President/CEO of HFL, thanked City of La Porte Park Superintendent Mark Schreiber and La Porte County Parks Superintendent Jeremy Sobecki for nominating HFL for the honor.
“We are delighted to partner with La Porte City Parks and La Porte County Parks to assure that our parks and trails infrastructure is increasing community-wide focus on active living and fit lifestyles, as this is one of strategic goals for the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte,” said Fruth. “We want to encourage residents to check out the major improvements already in place around our city and county parks.”
The Corporate Partner of the Year Award recognizes a vendor, company or individual who has significantly contributed to the field of parks and recreation and developed a strong partnership with IPRA. This vendor, company or individual has shown great leadership and support to the parks and recreation field by providing either equipment, volunteer time, in-kind services or other contributions to a project or program that benefits the community and demonstrates the importance of parks and recreation.
The Indiana Park and Recreation Association (IPRA), founded in 1916, is a not-for-profit membership association representing over 900 parks and recreation professionals throughout the state. IPRA is dedicated to advancing healthy lifestyles and environmental stewardship by providing education, professional development, resources, and advocacy to its members.