More than $578,000 in Economic and Workforce Development Grants Awarded
06 February 2015

Lincoln Financial Foundation is providing workforce education, building adult literacy and stimulating economic development through $578,760 in grants to 11 Fort Wayne economic and workforce development nonprofits. These grants are a portion of $2.5 million in charitable funds the Foundation has allocated for the area in 2014.

The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (NIIC) received $46,500 to support its student entrepreneurship program for high school and college students. The NIIC Student Entrepreneurship Program and experience focuses on three major components: YES!, Student Venture Lab and Learning Circles. The YES! Youth Entrepreneurship Symposiums are open to high school and college students, and use innovative frameworks and ideation processes to allow the students to create their own product/service. The Student Venture Lab is focused on catalyzing the idea into launch and action, using a seed accelerator framework for moving companies through a "fast test" environment to prove assumptions or to pivot to another application, market or customer segment.  Learning Circles include capstone lectures, seminars and structured peer-to-peer interactions between student entrepreneurs, incubator entrepreneurs, successful entrepreneurs/practitioners and other small business owners.

Other economic and workforce development grants awarded include:

  • $45,000 to Headwaters Park Alliance for its Festival Plaza under the Lincoln Financial Pavilion, which provides a venue for festivals, events and winter ice skating to the community.
  • $45,000 to Ivy Tech Foundation for the Employer Student Connection Initiative, an education and job placement program.
  • $37,420 to East Wayne Street Center to support Project Solve, an adult basic education and vocational training program that prepares students to pass the High School Equivalency Exam (HSE) and provides an opportunity for them to receive vocational training and achieve industry certifications. 
  • $35,000 to The Literacy Alliance for its High School Equivalency (HSE) Learning Centers, which serve adults who need additional tutoring, self-pace learning, classroom support, child care and neighborhood classroom locations as they prepare for the HSE. 
  • $25,000 to Women’s Bureau for Dress for Success Fort Wayne, which provides assistance with career services such as building a resume and developing cover letters, as well as providing professional attire for interviews and job placements. 
  • $22,420 to Fort Wayne Clubhouse d/b/a The Carriage House to help those with serious mental illness gain employment and become self-sufficient.
  • $17,420 to Blue Jacket to support Opportunity Staffing, an in-house staffing agency that provides temporary-to-permanent placements, transitional and direct hire placements for graduates of their intense four-week employment training program.  
  • $5,000 to Service Corps of Retired Executives Association for Small Business and New Business Development Mentoring, which provides free mentoring services to individuals beginning a small business.

Multi-year economic/workforce development payments include:

  • $150,000 to Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance to support the initiatives of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc. This is in payment toward the Foundation’s four-year commitment awarded in 2013.
  • $150,000 to Northeast Indiana Foundation to support the Big Goal Collaborative, Vision 2020 and Business Cluster Development. This is in payment toward the Foundation’s four-year commitment awarded in 2013.

About Lincoln Financial Foundation

The Lincoln Financial Foundation, established in 1962, is a nonprofit organization formed and supported by Lincoln Financial Group. Under Foundation guidelines, grants are made in the areas of arts, education, human services and economic/workforce development. The Foundation awarded more than $2.5 million to support nonprofits in the greater Fort Wayne area in 2013. Since 2006, the Lincoln Foundation has contributed more than $26.3 million to Fort Wayne nonprofits.

About Lincoln Financial Group:

Lincoln Financial Group provides advice and solutions that help empower Americans to take charge of their financial lives with confidence and optimism. Today, more than 17 million customers trust our retirement, insurance and wealth protection expertise to help address their lifestyle, savings and income goals, as well as to guard against long-term care expenses. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation (NYSE:LNC) and its affiliates. The company had $215 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2014. Learn more at: Find us on Facebook, Twitter (@lincolnfingroup), LinkedIn and YouTube.


Byron Champlin

Lincoln Financial Foundation

(603) 226-5554