On Thursday, July 11 Lake Area United Way was awarded a $30,000 grant from the NiSource Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of NIPSCO’s parent company. The grant will be used towards the United for Tomorrow by Investing in Parents and Children Today program which includes providing childcare subsidies to families enrolled in a certification or Associates Degree program that will lead to livable wage, in demand jobs in Lake County, Indiana.
“Of the 185,000 households in Lake County, 22 percent don’t earn enough to afford the basics. A family of four in Lake County needs to earn $57,300 a year to afford basic necessities like housing, healthcare, childcare, and food. In urban communities with high minority populations like Hammond, East Chicago, Lake Station, and Gary, low-income working families and those in poverty comprise 50-60 percent of households,” said Lake Area United Way President and CEO Lisa Daugherty. “Through United for Tomorrow by Investing in Parents and Children Today, Lake Area United Way takes a comprehensive, integrated service delivery approach to assisting families in overcoming the barrier of child care that often prevents them from accessing livable wage jobs. We believe this approach will have a long term impact on community vitality by increasing the number of Lake County households that are financially stable and decreasing the number that rely on community supports to meet their basic needs.”
“NIPSCO is proud to support the important work the Lake Area United Way does to create positive, lasting change for low-income families throughout Lake County,” said Rick Calinski, Director of Public Affairs at NIPSCO.
Of the total population 25 and older in Lake County, 58 percent have only a high school diploma or some college but no degree. On average, earning an Associates Degree can increase annual wages by $10,000. In community conversations conducted by Lake Area United Way, low-income working families identified access to affordable childcare as a barrier, preventing access to post-secondary educational programs.
The funds will be distributed this fall.