Community Foundation of St. Joseph County

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CASIE Center Wins $150,000 Leighton Award for Nonprofit Excellence

Hope Ministries, South Bend Symphony Receive Special Recognition

Members of "Team CASIE"

The Community Foundation of St. Joseph County has named the CASIE Center, under the leadership of Executive Director Carolyn Hahn, the winner of its 2017 Leighton Award for Nonprofit Excellence. The CASIE Center has an outstanding track record of responding to the problem of child abuse and neglect in our community.

The CASIE Center provides forensic interviews and advocacy services for 1,500 children each year, more than any other Child Advocacy Center (CAC) in Indiana. Recently, the development of the Clinic at CASIE—a partnership with the Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, and the South Bend Medical Foundation—has allowed the CASIE Center to increase the number of non-acute medical exams and treatments it provides to its clients onsite. The organization has benefitted from strong and consistent leadership: Carolyn Hahn has been with the CASIE Center since 1996, taking on her role as executive director in 1999.  

The Leighton Committee was especially impressed by the CASIE Center’s recent building campaign, which has brought many local forensic and advocacy services together under one roof. By serving as the “connective tissue” among these partners, the CASIE Center ensures that our community’s most vulnerable children receive the care they need in a place that is always safe, supportive, and child-focused. The Leighton Committee believes that this model is worthy of emulation throughout the country.

As the 2017 Leighton Award winner, the CASIE Center receives a $150,000 endowment challenge grant and must raise $150,000 in matching funds. The resulting $300,000 will be added to the CASIE Center's endowed fund with the Community Foundation, providing additional annual resources to support the organization’s mission and purposes. The organization also receives an additional $25,000 to help cover the costs of any fundraising and communications associated with the match.

Also, the Community Foundation named two Special Recognition winners, each of which will receive an award of $10,000. Special Recognition awards are intended to encourage organizations that are pursuing higher degrees of excellence, recognizing inspiring examples of service and performance. The Community Foundation’s first 2017 Special Recognition Award goes to Hope Ministries, in recognition of Hope's special ability to build partnerships and engage the faith community in its work to combat homelessness in our community. The Foundation’s second 2017 Special Recognition Award goes to the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, recognizing the organization's excellence in managing through change.

Established by Judd and Mary Lou Leighton and the Leighton-Oare Foundation in 1999, the Leighton Award encourages all of the community’s nonprofit organizations to pursue excellence at every level of their operations. Previous winners of this award include LOGAN (2000); Center for the Homeless (2001); South Bend Heritage Foundation (2002); REAL Services (2003); St. Joseph Health Center at Chapin Street (2004); Goodwill Industries of Michiana (2005); Center for Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc. (2006); South Bend Civic Theatre (2007), the YWCA of St. Joseph County (2008), the St. Joseph County Public Library (2009), the Women’s Care Center (2010), Family & Children’s Center (2011), St. Margaret’s House (2012), the Center for History (2013), the Fischoff National Chamber Music Association (2014), and Habitat for Humanity of St. Joseph County (2015) . In 2015, the Leighton Award moved to a biennial process, rather than an annual process, and increased the amount of the award provided. The next Leighton Award process will take place in August 2019.