Online Spring Benefit Success!

We are pleased and humbled to report that our first-ever Online Spring Benefit was a tremendous success. Thanks to dedicated supporters like you, the special challenge gifts from Dale and Nancy Nichols, and Leslie Shad and Joe Brennan, together with the support of many new donors, we have raised more than $220K for our mission to preserve and restore natural lands and waters in northwestern Indiana, and to engage people in nature and conservation.

screenshot of video posts
Screenshot of video posts featuring Dale Nichols (top), Jaimee Janiga (middle left), Anne Walsh (middle right), and Matt Vessely (bottom)

In place of our traditional in-person gathering, the innovative online fundraiser was delivered through a series of four video testimonials from supporters, and a video message from Executive Director Kris Krouse. The testimonials were shared with participants via email, on our freshly redesigned website, and through our social media channels. In case you missed them, they remain available for viewing on our website.


In his testimonial, Board Treasurer Matt Vessely spoke of the value of supporting the permanent protection of natural land in northwestern Indiana. Longtime Board Member Anne Walsh shared her passion for nature and protecting the unique ecology of the region. Volunteer Jaimee Janiga spoke of her deep connection to the natural world, Meadowbrook Nature Preserve, and the rewards of being a volunteer, and Board member Dale Nichols spoke of how he became involved, what motivates him, and the many different ways in which volunteers are vital to the success of the organization.

In his message, Kris Krouse summarized our new strategic plans to address climate change and water quality in the region, protect nature in our local communities, build an appreciation for conservation through programs that engage people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds; strengthen public access on our nature preserves, and create community conservation destinations at Meadowbrook Nature Preserve in Valparaiso, and Lydick Bog Nature Preserve in St. Joseph County.

screenshot of benefit landing page
Screenshot of Spring Benefit Landing Page

Krouse thanked the many partners and individuals who helped to make the online event a success, including the evening’s Benefactor Sponsor, Northern Indiana Public Service Company, the Karner Blue sponsor, ArcelorMittal, along with all corporate and individual sponsors.

“Given this year’s unique challenges, it’s truly amazing that we surpassed our monetary goals for the benefit,” Krouse says. “Special recognition goes to Dale and Nancy Nichols, and Leslie Shad and Joe Brennan, who provided early challenge donations which inspired others to contribute. Their generosity produced an unprecedented response that will help assure we can continue to advance our critical work during these challenging times.”

Dale and Nancy Nichols responded, “We are extremely gratified by the wonderful response from so many in support of the important work of Shirley Heinze Land Trust.”

Leslie Shad and Joe Brennan remarked, “The benefit is an important fundraiser for Shirley Heinze, and we welcomed the chance to encourage the success of the online format. We were glad to encourage others to contribute. We are extremely pleased to see such a generous response.”

Board President Kelly Carmichael stated, “We are so fortunate to have the unwavering support and commitment from so many people throughout the region. Their support is truly inspiring, and it will help to sustain our important work.”

Thank You!