Pokagon Band Gives $1.56 Million to Area Agencies

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, city officials with Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indiansi tribal officials.


Published January 18, 2019

Funds are part of voluntary local agreement

DOWAGIAC, Mich.  The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians is pleased to announce a check for $1.56 million was presented this morning to South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg as well as representatives from area non-profits that will each receive a share of the funds to assist with their programming. The donation is part of a voluntary local agreement between the Pokagon Band and the City of South Bend.

The check presentation was held this morning in the Grand Rotunda of Four Winds Casino South Bend. The Casino, which is celebrating its first anniversary this month, is the fourth owned and operated by The Pokagon Band, and is the only tribal-owned casino in Indiana.

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Chairman Matthew Wesaw.

“The Pokagon people have called this area home for centuries. We work hard to establish meaningful relationships with governments and communities around us and be good neighbors,” said Matthew Wesaw, Chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. “It is part of our culture to share what we have, and we are in a position to give back. For this gift, our Tribal Council selected agencies whose values aligned with ours: helping children, women and the environment.”

Agencies receiving a portion of today’s revenue share are:

  • The Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County will receive $100,000 over five years. The annual amount will be used for academic enrichment programming.
  • The YWCA of North Central Indiana will receive $125,000 over five years. $20,000 of each annual amount will be applied to crisis services programs to help clients work toward self-sufficient and violence-free lives. $5,000 will be applied to children’s services to ensure the safety of children, mitigate toxic trauma, and break the cycle of violence.
  • The Food Bank of Northern Indiana will receive $100,000 over five years. The annual amount will be used for the Senior Nutrition Program, funding 200 additional seniors who would receive a 7 – 10 lb. bag of assorted food items. The Senior Nutrition Program currently serves 750 seniors a month. This program serves low-income seniors in Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaPorte, Marshall, Starke and St. Joseph Counties.
  • Jobs for Americas Graduates—Indiana will receive $250,000 over five years. The annual amount will be used to identify youth needing services via mobile units and Goodwill and Youth Service Bureau street programs and provide programs for staying in school and career training and guidance.
  • The Bowman Creek Project receives $500,000 over five years to restore Bowman Creek and catalyze social, economic and environmental improvements and sustainability in the surrounding community.
  • Beacon Children’s Hospital receives $500,000 over five years, which helps fund improvements that include space for the General Pediatrics Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic, and Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The new facility includes all-private patient rooms, playrooms, teen hideout spaces, Family Enrichment Centers, roof gardens and a two-story glass ceiling Atrium.
  • The South Bend Community School Corporation will receive $500,000 over 5 years, for dual language immersion, a summer academy, and national board certification for teachers.
  • The City of South Bend, through South Bend Venues, Parks and Arts, receives $2,225,000 over five years for the redevelopment of Howard Park.

The Pokagon Band also contributed $700,000 to resurface and enhance the landscape of Prairie Avenue within the public right-of-way from US-31 to Locust Road (this project was completed and celebrated in July 2018).

“The South Bend community and region has welcomed us warmly and with great enthusiasm,” said Frank Freedman, Chief Operating Officer of Four Winds Casinos. “Our employees have established us as a first-class entertainment and service destination, and because of the community’s support of Four Winds South Bend, we are able to give back to these fine organizations that are making a difference in our lives.”

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