Legacy Foundation announces new Program Officer and Think Tank Director


Legacy Foundation, Lake County's leading philanthropic partner, adds two new faces to its staff. The Foundation welcomes Erica Fizer as Program Officer and Ester Diaz as Director of The Think Tank.

Fizer began an internship with Legacy Foundation 15 months ago while completing her graduate studies. In this role, she handled media relations and was actively involved with developing website content.

As Program Officer, Fizer will be responsible for the management of Legacy Foundation's scholarship program and grant administration. Fizer is a Northwest Indiana native and a graduate of Merrillville High School. She has earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from Indiana University in Bloomington and a master's degree from Indiana University Northwest where she studied nonprofit management and human services.

"We are thrilled to place these amazingly talented individuals into these roles," said President and Chief Executive Officer, Harry Vande Velde. "They are replacing strong, talented individuals and we are confident that Ester and Erica won't miss a beat in our delivery of care and services to the people of Lake County."

Diaz joins Legacy Foundation with nearly 20 years of experience in both programs and nonprofit management. As Think Tank Director Diaz will assist nonprofits with management and program design. She has earned a bachelor's degree in Community Health from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree in Public Health from University of Illinois at Chicago – School of Public Health.

Since earning her degrees Diaz has worked exclusively in the nonprofit sector, beginning her career as a Public Administrator for the Chicago Department of Public Health. Prior to joining Legacy Foundation, Diaz was Senior Director of Patient Programs at Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization. During her 13 years at Y-ME, she developed, implemented, and managed national patient programs and collaborative care programs.

Fizer and Diaz join Legacy Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer, Harry Vande Velde III; Vice President, Lara Kalwinski; and Office Manager, Michelle Aerts. The Legacy team is eager to work with donors interested in maximizing their charitable intentions and to work with local leaders as they provide services that improve the quality of life in our community.

To learn more about the Legacy Foundation programs and staff, email legacy@legacyfdn.org.