MERRILLVILLE - Merrillville-based Legacy Foundation has announced plans to launch a new community development corporation for Lake County. The organization says the nonprofit CDC, which is being funded by a grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, will provide much needed support for area neighborhoods.

Legacy Foundation says the idea to form a county-wide CDC came after working with five northwest Indiana neighborhoods and realizing it could grow resident engagement. The Lake County CDC will initially be housed within the offices of Legacy Foundation, which will provide administrative staff, office space and technology.

"The short term goal of this project is to create a sustainable CDC that will be able to focus on the transformation of vulnerable, undervalued and transitional neighborhoods into healthier places where people invest their time, energy and resources and where residents are engaged in community problem solving," said Kelly Anoe, vice president of Legacy Foundation. “In the long term, we believe this will increase access to economic opportunity and mobility for residents across Lake County.”

Legacy says it will hire an acting director for the CDC who will work with the organization to develop by-laws, establish a board of directors and create a strategic plan on the path to making the CDC a self-sustaining organization. 

JPMorgan Chase provided $150,000 for the first year of the project. After the first year, the Lake County CDC will apply for independent tax exempt status and seek new funding opportunities.