Officials for both the Economic Development Corporation Michigan City (EDCMC) and the Greater La Porte Economic Development Corporation (GLEDC) as well as the mayors of both Michigan City and La Porte thanked the numerous sponsors that have already either donated or pledged money toward the economic groups’ combined Community Investment Campaign at the Pottawattomie Country Club Thursday night.

The latest community investment campaign, which runs from 2014-2016, is a way for local businesses to support business retention and growth across La Porte County. Clarence Hulse, executive director of the EDCMC, announced that the fundraising has already surpassed the $400,000 goal that was set when the campaign officially kicked off in April.

“We’ve already surpassed that goal, and look forward to adding to our record for three years,” Hulse said, noting that $344,000 has already been banked for the campaign and with an additional $70,000 or so pledged, a total of $414,000 (or 104 percent of the goal) has been raised.

“This is an ongoing campaign,” Hulse continued.“What GLEDC and the EDCMC does is important for the entire community.”

Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer spoke to a number of investors on hand about the “great collaboration” between his office and La Porte Mayor Blair Milo, GLEDC and the EDCMC.

“Our commitment isn’t that we are going to agree on everything, but to find a way to work together and accomplish our goals,” he said.

Milo said she too is “excited about the accomplishments,” specifically noting the expansion projects underway at Alcoa Howmet and Jaeger-Unitek.

“The cooperation between all of us is truly important as we grow the region overall,” she said.

The previous community investment campaign from 2011-13 garnered $300,000 in donations. Building on that momentum, 64 total companies have made pledges for this three-year effort including 20 new companies and five who have increased the amount of their donation.

Alcoa Howmet, which presented a $10,000 check to GLEDC during Thursday’s event, is one of five platinum sponsors to make a contribution of $10,000 or more. Also in that distinguished group are Franciscan St. Anthony Health: Michigan City, Horizon Bank, IU Health La Porte Hospital and NIPSCO.

But as Hulse said, the effort is ongoing and a new goal of $500,000 should be expected.

“I definitely think we can commit to that goal,” Hulse said. “We are still looking for more industrial, commercial and retail contributors. We want to create more product in La Porte County and increase the quality of our workforce. In the end we are all about partnerships and we’d like to have more partners.”