Direct Giving Lab (DGL) provides unrestricted cash transfers to low-income working households that are looking for a path out of poverty. A direct cash transfer program aims to alleviate poverty by bridging the minimum wage-living wage gap. A living wage is the household income necessary to meet basic needs: rent, food, utilities, childcare, health care, transportation, income taxes. In Illinois, the living wage household income for a family of four with one adult working is $56,000. The living wage gap for DGL families can be as significant as $20,000 annually and traps families in poverty. DGL’s Cash Transfer program conducts unrestricted cash direct cash projects, varying the monthly cash amount and duration of program enrollment, and collects feedback on financial security and health outcomes. To date, DGL has provided families with $100/month and $150/month cash transfers, and families have participated for 12 or 24 months. DGL’s current group of families were selected using the free and reduced meal (FARM) program at Highland Park High School to identify families with children struggling to make ends meet.
Founded in 1930, Family Service of Lake County responds to the ever-changing needs of the community with professional social services, educational programs and case management referrals for all ages. Family Service of Lake County continues to evolve to address critical community needs in Highland Park and Highwood. Clients come from diverse communities and across the full economic spectrum and life cycle. Their history is to serve all in need, regardless of ability to pay. Most services are available at no out-of-pocket cost to the client. Family Service annually serves over 6,000 clients of all ages.
Family Service works to ensure that their supportive services can be affordable for all who need them. Supporters like the Highland Park Community Foundation help make that possible. With the Foundation’s help, they are able to make counseling available even to a significant number of clients who are uninsured or underinsured or cannot pay their minimum sliding-scale fee of $15. With this year’s grant, Family Service will provide specialized supports to two high need populations in our community: 1) Seniors and their caregivers – for Highland Park and Highwood’s seniors and their caregivers, mobility, isolation, grief, loss, and the emotional toll of illness are common sources of distress. 2) Latino children and their families – in Highland Park and Highwood, school age Latino youth face challenges stemming from barriers created by: language, household income, lack of familiarity with the area’s public and community service systems.
GPF Foundation supports education, appropriate treatment and overall awareness of the dangers related to recreational drugs. Through its education initiative, which the HPCF supports, GPF delivers to high school students research-based, interactive multi-media presentations about the risks of recreational drug use.
Gratitude Generation (G2) is a nonprofit organization that encourages the volunteer efforts of children and families with a special emphasis on cultivating community leadership in children. Founded in 2018, G2 initiates community service projects and also partners with existing, local nonprofit organizations, providing volunteers and donations to support their efforts. HPCF’s grant funding will be used to purchase supplies for inclusion in 4 Your Care Kits that will consist of toiletries needed for basic hygiene, including soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and deodorant. These items can be expensive, particularly for residents without access to transportation or low-cost retailers. Additionally, toiletries cannot be distributed by organizations that are receiving federal funding to give out food aid; however, there is a great need for personal care items along with food. This program seeks to fill that gap by partnering with Northern Illinois Food Bank to distribute the personal-care kits to the families who most need them. The kits are assembled by g2 volunteers at special events, allowing kids and adults to participate in their projects. The volunteers are also invited to the NIFB distribution event(s) where the kits are handed out.
Highland Park After Prom was created to promote the safety and well-being of HPHS students. After Prom is a fun, substance-free, late night celebration for the entire HPHS Class of 2020. All HPHS seniors and their prom dates are included as well as seniors not attending prom. HPCF’s grant will help support After Prom 2023.
Infinity Foundation is a holistic education center located in Highland Park that provides experiential courses in personal, professional, and spiritual growth. In collaboration with Highwood Library, Infinity provides a Wellness and Self-Care Fair, which is supported by the Highland Park Community Foundation, to address needs of the Latino community.
Response is a safe, welcoming space where teens receive support to deal with life’s challenges, meet new friends, and above all, feel free to be themselves. Their mission is to support adolescents and their families in the Jewish and general community by providing prevention, outreach, counseling and medical services in a teen-friendly environment that empowers teens to make healthy life choices. The grant from the Highland Park Community Foundation supports Operation Snowball which is a year-long leadership program for teens culminating in a 3-day retreat, which addresses topics including bullying, alcohol abuse, identity, diversity, communication, and drug prevention.
Josselyn provides affordable, high-quality psychiatric & mental health services for local youth and adults, including low-income residents who are underinsured, uninsured, or rely on Medicaid. With the HPCF’s funding, Josselyn is able to close gaps to care. Josselyn’s affordable outpatient mental health services provide Highland Park and Highwood residents of all ages access to therapy, psychiatric services, support groups, art therapy, employment support, and Camp Neeka, a therapeutic summer day camp for children 8-12. Josselyn removes barriers to mental health care for Highland Park and Highwood residents, so that income, cultural barriers, and ability to access appointments after the work or school day do not keep anyone from mental health treatment.
Keeping Families Covered provides diapers and other basic needs to families. They distribute items through community partners and direct to client service. They operate an on-site diaper bank and a mobile diaper pantry that visits 5 locations, one of which is Highwood, multiple times each month. Insofar as diapers are not covered by safety net programs, Keeping Families Covered help to fill the gap.
Kids Rank provides military children with a sense of stability through interactive group learning experiences and community service. Its Cornerstone Pride Program provides military children with safe spaces and social emotion skills to foster authentic connections with other military children and supportive adults, compassionate leadership, and service to their communities. Programming is based in groups of ten to twelve children, called Prides, that meet once a week during the school year with additional programming opportunities during the summer. The schedule provides children a sense of stability and consistency throughout the year. The Foundation’s funding is used to broaden the access of eligible families to the Kids Rank Pride Program in the Fort Sheridan/Highland Park area.