A sold-out crowd watched in awe as Mayor Angie Nelson Deuitch surprised 13 local youth programs with thousand-dollar checks at her inaugural charitable gala on April 19 at the Stardust Event Center at Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa.

Through sponsorships and ticket sales, the mayor raised $113,000. These funds will benefit Michigan City organizations that offer youth services and programming.

“Before I was mayor, I was a coach, a teacher and a mentor,” Nelson Deuitch said. “I’m as committed now as I’ve ever been to our young people, and saw my first mayor’s ball as the perfect opportunity to raise the money our community needs to help our kids grow and develop into the leaders Michigan City will turn to in the future.”

The mayor was adamant that the youth who will benefit from her fundraising efforts be present at the gala, not only to enjoy dressing up and joining in the festivities but to get a firsthand look at the community that came together to support them.
Several kids volunteered their services throughout the evening by distributing programs, escorting guests to their tables, even speaking on stage to the crowd of nearly 800 people.

“Everyone there was really nice and welcoming, so that took away my nerves,” said Joshua Vaughn, the eighth-grader who took the stage during the dinner program to welcome gala attendees and recognize the elected officials in the room. “Mayor Angie did a good job raising $113,000, which can really help all of us, the youth in Michigan City. I hope to see more sports and arts programs happen this summer because of it.”

Fifth-grader Elise Miller and high school junior Michael Walker Jr. also addressed the crowd.

Check recipients at the gala included the Fly High Youth summer program, Salvation Army of Michigan City summer camp, Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City summer program, Diamonds and Pearls, the Drifters college readiness program, Essence Rare scholarships, JUMP, the YMCA of Michigan City

City of Michigan City, City Hall – 100 East Michigan Boulevard, Michigan City, IN 46360 www.emichigancity.com
summer camp, Kidpreneurs, Lubeznik Center for the Arts pop-up youth events, Monster Bowling, the Michigan City Soul Steppers, and the Stepping Stone Shelter youth program.

“The check presentation took us by surprise,” said Kathy Walker, co-founder of Essence Rare. “Mayor Angie’s donation will help to expand our scholarship program as we head into our 25th year so that we’re able to help more of our debutantes and masters as they prepare for college.”

Beyond the funds the mayor presented at the gala, the United Way of La Porte County will administer grants ranging between $1,000 and $7,500 to Michigan City-based organizations that offer youth services or programming. Agencies may apply for these grants at https://agency.e- cimpact.com/login.aspx?org=16400F through May 23 at 5 p.m.

“It is a very simple grant application on purpose, so organizations don’t have to spend a lot of time doing paperwork,” said Dave Sisk, director of engagement at United Way. “We are honored to work alongside Mayor Angie to support summer programming in Michigan City. A small committee made up of representatives from the Mayor’s Office and community volunteers will review the grant applications, so turnaround will be fairly quick.”

All questions regarding the grant application or review process may be directed to Sisk at dave@unitedwaylpc.org or (574) 274-5855.

As the presenting sponsor of the 2024 Mayor’s Charitable Gala, Horizon Bank provided the seed that got the ball rolling on Nelson Deuitch’s record-breaking fundraising initiative.

Horizon CEO Thomas Prame said, “As a company that has been headquartered in Michigan City for over 150 years, we are proud to be able to partner with our elected officials in support of the Mayor’s Charitable Gala and Mayor’s Community Empowerment Fund benefitting local youth-serving organizations. By investing today in our youth, we are helping to ensure the future prosperity of tomorrow’s leaders and the well-being of our entire community.”

Law firm Barnes & Thornburg LLP and Blue Chip Casino upped the ante by signing on as Gold Sponsors for the event.
NIPSCO, HealthLinc, Purdue University Northwest, American Structurepoint Inc., Harris Law Firm, Hoosier Equipment LLC, ACME Print Copy Design, Global Engineering & Land Surveying LLC, Meticulous Design + Architecture, Wessler Engineering, and La Porte County Project Management rounded out the event’s Silver Sponsors.

Dozens more businesses, service clubs, church groups, and individuals from throughout the region pitched in to sponsor tables and tickets as a means of supporting Michigan City’s youth.

“I am so grateful to all of our sponsors and everyone who attended the gala or donated tickets, time or talents to help us pull this off,” the mayor said.