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The Pokagon Band Gives $1.56 Million To Area Agencies

January 17th, 2019

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians is pleased to announce a check for $1.56 million was presented this morning to South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg as well as representatives from area non-profits that will each receive a share of the funds to assist with their programming. The donation is part of a voluntary local agreement between the Pokagon Band and the City of South Bend.

The check presentation was held this morning in the Grand Rotunda of Four Winds Casino South Bend. The Casino, which is celebrating its first anniversary this month, is the fourth owned and operated by The Pokagon Band, and is the only tribal-owned casino in Indiana.

“The Pokagon people have called this area home for centuries. We work hard to establish meaningful relationships with governments and communities around us and be good neighbors,” said Matthew Wesaw, Chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. “It is part of our culture to share what we have, and we are in a position to give back. For this gift, our Tribal Council selected agencies whose values aligned with ours: helping children, women and the environment.”

Agencies receiving a portion of today’s revenue share are:
• The Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County will receive $100,000 over five years. The annual amount will be used for academic enrichment programming.
• The YWCA of North Central Indiana will receive $125,000 over five years. $20,000 of each annual amount will be applied to crisis services programs to help clients work toward self-sufficient and violence-free lives. $5,000 will be applied to children’s services to ensure the safety of children, mitigate toxic trauma, and break the cycle of violence.
• The Food Bank of Northern Indiana will receive $100,000 over five years. The annual amount will be used for the Senior Nutrition Program, funding 200 additional seniors who would receive
a 7 – 10 lb. bag of assorted food items. The Senior Nutrition Program currently serves 750 seniors a month. This program serves low-income seniors in Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaPorte, Marshall, Starke and St. Joseph Counties.
• Jobs for Americas Graduates—Indiana will receive $250,000 over five years. The annual amount will be used to identify youth needing services via mobile units and Goodwill and Youth Service Bureau street programs and provide programs for staying in school and career training and guidance.
• The Bowman Creek Project receives $500,000 over five years to restore Bowman Creek and catalyze social, economic and environmental improvements and sustainability in the surrounding community.
• Beacon Children’s Hospital receives $500,000 over five years, which helps fund improvements that include space for the General Pediatrics Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic, and Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The new facility includes all-private patient rooms, playrooms, teen hideout spaces, Family Enrichment Centers, roof gardens and a two-story glass ceiling Atrium.
• The South Bend Community School Corporation will receive $500,000 over 5 years, for dual language immersion, a summer academy, and national board certification for teachers.
• The City of South Bend, through South Bend Venues, Parks and Arts, receives $2,225,000 over five years for the redevelopment of Howard Park.

The Pokagon Band also contributed $700,000 to resurface and enhance the landscape of Prairie Avenue within the public right-of-way from US-31 to Locust Road (this project was completed and celebrated in July 2018).

“The South Bend community and region has welcomed us warmly and with great enthusiasm,” said Frank Freedman, Chief Operating Officer of Four Winds Casinos. “Our employees have established us as a first-class entertainment and service destination, and because of the community’s support of Four Winds South Bend, we are able to give back to these fine organizations that are making a difference in our lives.”
To learn more about the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, contact Paige Risser at (269) 783-6199.

About the Voluntary Local Agreement
The Pokagon Band voluntarily entered into an agreement with South Bend to make annual payments from revenue derived from its Class II gaming devices at Four Winds South Bend. The annual payments are in lieu of property tax payments and provide funding for City services and funding for community development initiatives throughout the region surrounding the Band’s trust lands in South Bend. One percent of the Class II revenues is paid directly to the City and the other one percent is paid to the South Bend Redevelopment Commission to contribute to the improvement of educational opportunities and to address poverty and unemployment in the City. The agreement between South Bend and the Pokagon Band is like those in three additional communities where Four Winds Casinos operate: New Buffalo, Hartford and Dowagiac in Michigan.

About The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’ sovereignty was reaffirmed under legislation signed into law by President Clinton in September of 1994. The Pokagon Band is dedicated to providing community development initiatives such as housing, education, family services, medical care and cultural preservation for its approximately 5,600 citizens. The Pokagon Band’s ten-county service area includes four counties in Southwestern Michigan and six in Northern Indiana. Its main administrative offices are located in Dowagiac, Mich., with a satellite office in South Bend, Ind. In 2007, it opened Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Mich., followed by Four Winds Hartford in 2011 and Four Winds Dowagiac in 2013. Four Winds South Bend opened January 16, 2018. It owns and operates a variety of business via Mno-Bmadsen, the tribe’s non-gaming investment enterprise. More information is available at, and

About Four Winds Casinos
Four Winds New Buffalo, located at 11111 Wilson Road in New Buffalo, Mich., Four Winds Hartford®, located at 68600 Red Arrow Highway in Hartford, Mich., Four Winds Dowagiac®, located at 58700 M-51 South in Dowagiac, Mich., and Four Winds South Bend, located at 3000 Prairie Road in South Bend, Ind., are owned by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. Four Winds New Buffalo offers nearly 125,000 square feet of gaming with more than 2,500 slot machines, 50 table games, five restaurants, entertainment bars, retail venues, a pool, and a 415-room hotel, making it the premier gaming resort in the Midwest. Four Winds Hartford features more than 500 slot machines, eight table games, a 74-seat restaurant, and a 15-seat bar. Four Winds Dowagiac features 400 slot machines, seven table games and one restaurant. Four Winds South Bend has over 55,000 square feet of gaming space, 1,600 games, four restaurants, three bars, a players lounge, a coffee shop, a retail outlet and a 10-table live poker room. Please play responsibly. You must be 21 years of age to gamble. For more information on Four Winds Casinos, please call 1-(866)-4WINDS1 (866-494-6371) or visit Additionally, be sure to like Four Winds Casinos on Facebook at and follow on Twitter at


Media Contacts:
Paige Risser, Communications Director, Pokagon Band, (269) 783-6199,
Melinda Pierce, Big Idea Company, (574) 257-4332,
Jill Klinedinst, Big Idea Company, (574) 257-4332,

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