Calumet Project (Hammond, IN)


  • Name:Ms. Francine Hintz

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Calumet Project
  • Address:200 E Russell St. Suite 304
    Hammond, IN 46320
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:219-937-4103
  • Main fax:219-937-4170

Organization Web

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • The mission is to motivate and unite people to work for the economic, environmental and social revitalization of Northwest Indiana. Calumet Project stands for jobs with wages that improve the quality of life and encourages environmentally sustainable and socially responsible economic development.

  • Overview:
  • Northwest Indiana was built on racial divide. According to a professor at Northwest Indiana University, minorities and poor people are more likely than whites and median income people to live next to hazardous sites. Current census data shows that Lake County in Indiana has a minority population consisting of 25.3% Black and 12.2% Latino. In the urban core, people of color make up a substantially larger part of the population: Gary 89%, East Chicago 87.9% and Hammond 37.6%. The percentages of graduates of high school and beyond are: Gary 72.7%, East Chicago 60.6%, and Hammond 75.6%. The median incomes for households are: Gary $27,195, East Chicago $26,538, Hammond $35,528. The unemployment rate in Indiana was 9% in December 2011. There were 284,795 people out of work.

    Calumet Project is a diverse group, representing residents of many towns, white and blue collar workers, union and non-union, working poor and better paid. Half the membership are people of color. The group truly represents the people of the region. Our coalition includes 10 unions and religious and community groups, plus 180 individual members. Our newsletter, Works, has a circulation of over 1,000.

    Our work is focused on economic, social, and environmental justice for all people in the region. The program areas are labor support, organization development, and environmental justice. With its toxic industrial environment, Northwest Indiana needs an environmental advocate. Calumet project is the only not-for-profit group in the area focused on environmental justice issues.

    A major accomplishment during the past year was successfully negotiating with BP to install a state-of-the-art air monitoring system at their refinery in Whiting, Indiana, and allow the data from the system to be available for public access on the internet. This success was a direct result of the Bucket Brigade we direct.

    The disastrous consequences of living in an industrial area are often misunderstood or overlooked by the general public. Taken as the status quo, those who are informed of the harmful effects of many of the pollutants being emitted into the land and water often feel that the pollution is an insurmountable beast, something which cannot be changed. Corporations have access to technology that would alleviate (though not eliminate entirely) some of the harmful environmental effects they’re causing.

    In order to pressure corporations into taking steps towards using better and more eco-friendly technology, communities must unite together. Being able to demonstrate the harmful effects caused by the byproducts of pollutants is greatly beneficial for enacting change. The Bucket Brigade is a procedure to take air samples and have the samples analyzed. We have targeted 2 areas of industrial pollution as the focus of the Bucket Brigade, the BP Refinery in Whiting, Indiana and the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal in East Chicago, Indiana.

    When the monitors are installed at BP, a committee will be trained to read the data from the monitors. The team will educate and inform their communities about the environment. Data will be documented and reports created and distributed to inform the public about the quality of the air.

    For many years, two steel mills dumped waste into the Indiana Harbor canal. The Army Corps of Engineers has begun to dredge the canal. The last time this occurred was in 1972. A confined disposal facility (CDF–toxic dump) will be built to hold the waste. The site already has open RCRA status and is in close proximity to 2 schools, a mental health facility, fire station, and public golf course.
    The CDF will ultimately hold 4.67 million cubic yards of toxic waste including PCBs, benzene, naphthalene—known carcinogens, neurological and development toxicants. The environmental impact of air born toxicants and untreated waters migrating back into Lake Michigan would have a devastating, long-term effect.

    We seek remediation of this project that would keep uppermost the well-being of local citizens. Calumet Project staff attends meetings regarding the dredging of the Indiana Harbor Canal, which is scheduled to begin soon. Air samples have been taken and analyzed from that area. They will be used as the baseline data to compare with samples after the dredging begins. When that happens, samples will be taken frequently and the results of testing made public.

  • History:
  • Calumet Project was founded in 1984 as a joint project of the church-based United Citizen Organization of East Chicago, Indiana and the community-labor coalition, Midwest Center for Labor Research, based in Chicago, Illinois. The organization was initially developed to help workers in Northwest Indiana respond to the crisis in the region-dominant steel industry by focusing on economic redevelopment.

    While the organization still stands for saving and creating jobs of dignity with wages that improve the quality of life in communities, the mission has expanded and projects are also focused on economic, social and environmental justice of all people.

    The vision of Calumet Project is to ensure the disadvantaged, low-income, minority populations residing near polluting industries are treated equally and fairly. We work to help reduce toxic pollution produced by certain industries in Northwest Indiana. The larger movement for social change envisions the fair, equal treatment of all people, no matter their race, income level, or where they live and the sustainability of the planet.

    Calumet Project’s most significant accomplishments over the last few years include—
    • Organized a successful campaign for the passage of a tax abatement ordinance both in Hammond and Gary. The ordinance allows a corporate tax abatement only if the company pays living wages.
    • Assisted workers at LaSalle Steel in their successful efforts for fair treatment during the plant closing
    • Led the community involvement in working for clean-up of a severely polluted site end construction of several businesses
    • Successfully gained the implementation of EPA safeguards in the project to dredge a canal heavily polluted by industrial toxic waste

    A major goal has been to convince the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana to install 24 hour, real-time air monitors so people who live in that area can be aware of the state of their environment at all times and can hold companies accountable for chemicals that escape beyond the boundaries of their facilities. Under the direction of Calumet Project, the volunteer team of The Bucket Brigade took many air samples from areas around the refinery. The results of analysis of the samples were reported and residents in the community formed committees to challenge BP. They were successful! We recently signed an agreement with BP regarding the air monitors and public access to the data from the system.

    The next steps in this project are to form a team to be trained to analyze the data from the monitors, train the team, hold meetings with residents living near the refinery, train residents to analyze the data from the monitors, frequently visit residents and manage their reports of the air monitors. After one year, all the data will be compiled and a report published. The report will be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of this project.

  • Year established:1989
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:10
  • Advisory board size:
  • Staff size:2


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:None
  • Tax ID:35-1748816