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The Pokagon Fund

Caring Circle Receives $60,000 Grant from The Pokagon Fund

The Pokagon Fund, created by an agreement between the City of New Buffalo, New Buffalo Township, and the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi citizens, donated $60,000 to Caring Circle, a Lakeland Health Affiliate. The grant helped fund several programs from 2014 through 2016, including Caring Circle Transitions Service, transportation for patients, volunteer support, massage therapy services, and Lory’s Place monthly grief support groups in area schools. 

“The Pokagon Fund has been a treasured partner in helping us serve southwest Michigan families,” said Melinda Gruber, PhD, Caring Circle President and CEO. “We thank them for their commitment to bettering the lives of their neighbors through supporting Caring Circle programs.” The allocation supported Caring Circle Transitions Service and Lory’s Place programs, which provide professional and volunteer services without charge.

“We are proud to support initiatives like those offered by Caring Circle so that our friends and neighbors in Harbor Country can receive compassionate, holistic care, whether they are patients and families coping with a life-limiting illness or children learning to live without a loved one,” said Janet Cocciarelli, The Pokagon Fund Executive Director.

All these stories were made possible by The Pokagon Fund grant.

  • Caring Circle Transitions programs help patients and their families navigate the stages of care in the Caring Circle continuum and connect them with community resources for additional needs.
  • Leslie, a hospice care patient with breast cancer, struggled with pain in her final days. Medications helped, but Leslie couldn’t relax her body. Reiki and energy work by a Caring Circle massage therapist slowly relaxed Leslie. By the end of the session, light massage soothed her and she was resting comfortably in bed with no signs of distress or pain. Her family was grateful that the symptom relief lasted through the next few days, when Leslie passed away peacefully.
  • Although regular podiatry appointments are important for patients with diabetes or other health issues, transportation can be a barrier. Many patients can no longer travel by car and medical transport can be expensive. Bill from Three Oaks appreciated regular medical transport for his podiatry appointments.
  • A home-cooked meal can become a luxury when you no longer have the energy to cook. During a visit, a volunteer who enjoyed cooking for others learned that one patient’s dream meal was lobster. The volunteer surprised the patient and her husband with a delicious homemade lobster dinner
    during the holidays.
  • Sarah and Stacy felt completely overwhelmed, different, and alone after the sudden death of their father. The girls regularly attended both monthly school groups and bi-weekly support group at Lory’s Place. Sarah and Stacy are relieved to have a safe place to talk about their father, and now understand that all of their feelings are ok and everyone experiences grief differently.

To learn more about the Pokagon Fund’s impact on Caring Circle services, visit

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For more information call
(269) 429-7100 or
(800) 717-3811


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