READI grant update: Tolleston Opportunity Campus • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine
Tolleston Opportunity Campus

READI grant update: Tolleston Opportunity Campus

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Editor’s note: The Northwest Indiana Forum is partnering with Northwest Indiana Business Magazine to provide updates on READI grant recipients. This is the third in an occasional series.


In 2011, the Gary Community School Corp. transferred ownership rights of the John Will Anderson school to the Boys & Girls Club. This decision led to an exciting new opportunity for the club as well as their members. For the first time, they would be able to host events, games and recreational activities outside of the building in athletic fields — a luxury the club had previously not had with their old space.

Fast forward 12 years and the club is offering amazing opportunities for students and families: busing services from schools to the club, year-round learning activities, fitness programs and even a teen tech center. The JW Anderson club is working hard to ensure that students have enhanced opportunities to diversify their knowledge and increased opportunities.

In March, alongside Gov. Eric Holcomb, it was announced that the club was positioned to increase capacity and offerings once again with many regional partners to serve the nearly 68,000 citizens of Gary as well as those in the surrounding areas.

About $30 million has been allocated to fund the Tolleston Opportunity Campus in Gary. The project brings together a strong team of philanthropic partners, including the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Northwest Indiana, Methodist Hospitals and the Crossroads YMCA to provide child care, exercise classes, community programing, health care, workforce development and more for the citizens of Gary and surrounding communities. The city of Gary, Dean and Barbara White Foundation, and the READI grant (administered by the Northwest Indiana Forum) are the funding sources for this massive investment.

READI was launched by Gov. Eric Holcomb and is administered by the Indiana Economic Development Corp. READI builds on the framework and successes of the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative and the 21st Century Talent initiative, encouraging regional collaboration and data-driven, long-term planning that, when implemented, will attract, and retain talent in Indiana.

In 2021 the Northwest Indiana Forum was awarded a $50 million READI grant to fund a list of 34 priority projects — including The Tolleston Opportunity Campus.

The READI grant’s overall spending, sparked by the $50 million investment, is expected to exceed $700 million with an economic impact in the billions. The Northwest Indiana Forum is the Region’s economic development organization, representing Lake, Porter, La Porte, Starke, Pulaski, Jasper and Newton counties. The grant funds are being managed by the NWI Forum Foundation Inc.

“As we celebrate our 100th year of service to the Northwest Indiana community, we are proud to be a partner in the Tolleston Opportunity Campus, an initiative that will have a profoundly positive impact on the health and wellbeing of children and families in our community,” said Matthew Doyle, president and chief executive officer of Methodist Hospitals.

The READI grant’s support of this opportunity campus will lead to increased opportunity for students as well as development within Northwest Indiana.

Caption: The community celebrated investments totaling $30 million in the Tolleston Opportunity Campus in Gary during an event in march. (Provided by NWI Forum)


  • Spencer Summers

    Spencer Summers is the economic development director at the Northwest Indiana Forum. Summers, of Valparaiso, graduated in 2022 from Purdue University Northwest with a double major in business management and human resources. He was the basketball league director at The Courts of Northwest Indiana in Valparaiso from 2019-2022. He has experience coordinating and managing events/tournaments, managing staff, marketing and database management.

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