Four Winds South Bend was a euphoric place to be this morning when the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi presented checks totaling $860,000 to South Bend Mayor James Mueller and representatives from several area non-profits in a ceremony there. The annual contribution is part of a voluntary local agreement between the Pokagon Band and the City of South Bend.
The City of South Bend along with the non-profits each receive a share of the funds to assist with their operations and programs.
Matthew Wesaw, Tribal Chairman of the Pokagon Band says, “The Pokagon Band is very fortunate and proud to be able to make these annual contributions to the City of South Bend, the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County, YWCA of North Central Indiana, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, Jobs for America’s Graduates Indiana, the Bowman Creek Project, Beacon Children’s Hospital, South Bend Community School Corporation, and South Bend Venues, Parks & Arts for the renovation of Howard Park,” and adds, “These important organizations play a vital role in serving the community and we look forward to seeing what programs and initiatives they have planned for 2020.”
Mayor James Mueller says, “The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi have been a generous partner in our community, and we are grateful for their contributions to improve our city’s parks, open spaces, and neighborhoods,” and adds, “We look forward to continuing this great partnership into the future.”
The Pokagon Band voluntarily entered into an agreement with South Bend to make annual payments from revenue derived from its Class II gaming devices at the Four Winds South Bend casino. The annual payments are in lieu of property tax payments and provide funding for city services and funding for community development initiatives related to the Band’s trust lands in South Bend.
One percent of the Class II revenues is paid directly to the city and another one percent is paid to the South Bend Redevelopment Commission to contribute to the improvement of educational opportunities and to address poverty and unemployment in the city. The agreement between South Bend and the Pokagon Band is similar to those in three additional communities where the Pokagon Band’s Four Winds Casinos operate including New Buffalo, Hartford and Dowagiac.
In addition to the annual payments to the City of South Bend, the Pokagon Band also proposed to fund a variety of community development projects and causes. Organizations 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, and an 200 additional seniors who will 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 America’s Graduates Indiana will receive $250,000 over five years. The annual amount will be used to identify youth that need services via mobile units, Goodwill, and Youth Service Bureau street programs including staying in school, career training and guidance.
- The Bowman Creek Project will receive $500,000 over five years to revitalize Bowman Creek and catalyze social, economic and environmental sustainability in the surrounding community.
- Beacon Children’s Hospital will receive $500,000 over five years for an expansion that includes the General Pediatrics Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic, Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NIC), 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.
- South Bend Venues, Parks & Arts will receive $2,225,000 over 5 years for the renovation of Howard Park.
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’ sovereignty was reaffirmed under legislation signed into law by President Clinton in September of 1994. The Pokagon Band is dedicated to providing community development initiatives such as housing, education, family services, medical care and cultural preservation for its more than 5,700 citizens. The Pokagon Band’s ten-county service area includes four counties in Southwestern Michigan and six in Northern Indiana. Its main administrative offices are located in Dowagiac, with a satellite office in South Bend.