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Food Bank of Northwest Indiana check presentation (l-r) Dawn Reynolds-Pettit, Vice President of Human Resources, Hard Rock; Victor Garcia, President and CEO, Food Bank of Northwest Indiana; and Matt Schuffert

Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana donates $90,000 to 3 area charities

Contributed By:The 411 News

Food Bank, Boys & Girls Clubs, Urban League receive $30,000 each

Matt Schuffert, President of Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana (HRCNI) along with Dawn Reynolds-Pettit, the VP of Human Resources, visited three local charities to present each organization with a $30,000 check and to share the exciting news about the surprise donation amounts.

The proceeds are from Hard Rock's employee friends and family event that took place at the casino on May 11, prior to its official public opening.

According to Schuffert, “Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana is committed to help local charities in Gary and Northwest Indiana have the financial resources to support their constituents in times of need.”

The first stop was at the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana with Victor Garcia, President & CEO accepting a check for $30,000.

“We depend on the support of partners like Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana. We truly appreciate their generosity. Having the ability to provide fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy along with summer meals is so important to needy families while their children are not in school,” said Garcia.

The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana has been leading the Region’s fight against hunger since 1982 and distributes more than 5 million meals each year to hungry kids, adults and seniors across Lake and Porter counties. Each month the Food Bank serves more than 30,000 individuals through its 100+ partner agencies and programs and is part of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization and a powerful network of 200 food banks across the country.

The second stop was at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Northwest Indiana with Ryan Smiley, President & CEO accepting a check for $30,000.

According to Smiley, “The goal that we strive to accomplish at the Boys & Girls Club is to inspire and enable the youth of our community to realize their full potential. We try to encourage everyone to live a healthy lifestyle.”

The Boys & Girls Club offers a variety of programs including STEM learning opportunities, art projects, games room, gym time and Keystone Club, a group leadership program. The summer program runs from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and offers a free breakfast, lunch and snacks.

And, the third stop was at the Urban League of Northwest Indiana, with Dr. Vanessa Allen McCloud, President & CEO accepting a check for $30,000.

“We want to improve the social, educational and economic conditions for Lake, Porter, and LaPorte county families by offering scholarships and other resources to families that would improve their quality of life,” said McCloud.

The Urban League of Northwest Indiana is the premier agency that supports and promotes neighborhood community collaborations towards the improvement, capacity building and awareness of citizens in areas of education, financial literacy, health/wellness, civic/civil leadership, and diversity throughout Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties which would encourage a better quality of life.

Schuffert has northwest Indiana roots; he was born in Gary and raised in Hobart. Prior to joining Hard Rock in September 2020, Schuffert was general manager of East Chicago's AmeriStar Casino.


Boys and Girls Club of Greater Northwest Indiana (l-r) Sheria Givens-Pearson, Program Director, Boys and Girls Club; Marcus Steele Jr., Junior Staff/Youth of the Year, Boys and Girls Club; Dawn Reynolds-Pettit, Vice President of Human Resources, Hard Rock; Joe Branchik, Vice President of Marketing, Hard Rock; Matt Schuffert; Ryan Smiley, President & CEO, Boys and Girls Club


Urban League of Northwest Indiana (l-r) Matt Schuffert; Dr. Vanessa Allen-McCloud, President & CEO, Urban League; Yolanda Davis, Board Chairman, Urban League; Kenichi Iwama, Board Secretary, Urban League; Kiki Encarnacion, HR Manager, Hard Rock and Urban League Board member; Guillermina Perez, Director of Surveillance, Hard Rock and Urban League Board member

Story Posted:06/06/2021

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