2021 Annual Grant Recipients - Human Services
A Safe Place
A Safe Place is the sole provider in Lake County exclusively addressing domestic violence. Through behavioral health programming, A Safe Place provides individual and group counseling/therapy, art therapy, and supportive services to adults and children who have been impacted by domestic violence. HPCF’s grant is used to support these services for members of our community. Using therapeutic interventions to address multiple Issues that include safety planning, re-establishing boundaries, reinforcing roles and healing the impacts of trauma, A Safe Place has connected Highland Park and Highwood residents with many kinds of supportive services including case management, civil legal advocacy, education, employment and economic assistance, housing, transportation and other types of advocacy.
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters develops high-impact mentoring relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people facing adversity. Mentors (“Bigs”) work with children (“Littles”) in the community, workplaces, their schools, and many places in between. Big Brothers Big Sisters provides ongoing professional support to volunteers, children, and parents/caregivers throughout the life of the match. 100% of the grant funds from the Highland Park Community Foundation directly supports the Highland Park Neighborhood Mentoring Program through which Highland Park and Highwood youth are paired in one-to-one relationships with caring mentors. Mentoring matches meet in a group setting and also on their own. Bigs and Littles spend several hours together each month engaging in activities focused on improving outcomes in the following areas: educational achievement, avoidance of risky behavior, and socio-emotional competency.
Blessings in a Backpack Highland Park
Blessings in a Backpack is designed to feed school-age children whose families qualify for Federal programs and have little or no food at home on weekends so every school-aged child in America has the nourishment needed to learn and grow. As a leader in the movement to end childhood hunger, Blessings strives to ensure children don’t go hungry on the weekends by empowering individuals and communities to take action. Funds from the Highland Park Community Foundation are used to purchase food that is used to assist NSSD112 students at Green Bay, Indian Trail, Wayne Thomas, Braeside, and Ravinia Schools who qualify for the Federal Free/Reduced Price Meal Program.
Cancer Wellness Center
Cancer Wellness Center provides counseling, group support, educational lectures, classes, and workshops free-of-charge to assist cancer patients, survivors, and their loved ones. While the Center's primary demographic is over age 45, the Center's clinical team includes a Child Specialist to serve families with young children. It also includes a Spanish-speaking therapist to provide services to the Latinx community in our area. HPCF’s grant partially funds the Center’s Support Services, which seek to reduce distress by providing participants with learning opportunities to cope more effectively with the mental and emotional impact of their diagnosis. Center services are provided by a professional clinical staff of psychologists, counselors, and social workers.
Collaborative Community Housing Initiative
Collaborative Community Housing Initiative (CCHI) is grassroots collective made up of families with young adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) and community members who desire a community that is inclusive and diverse. CCHI envisions communities where individuals of all abilities live collectively, each determining their own path to a meaningful life. CCHI is about housing as well as inclusive opportunities in living, working, and socializing. HPCF’s grant funding supports activities for CCHI members from Highland Park and Highwood that promote self-directed social engagement, volunteer service, and community building.
Community Partners for Affordable Housing
Community Partners for Affordable Housing ("CPAH") provides safe affordable housing services that residents can access including rental housing, affordable home ownership, home repairs, accessibility improvements, and financial counseling. CPAH serves families, individuals, single parents, those with disabilities, seniors, those facing a change of circumstances, and anyone else who needs help securing affordable housing or related services. The Foundation’s funding supports CPAH’s Community Land Trust program that develops safe, permanently affordable ownership and rental opportunities for members of our community who cannot afford decent housing.
Cradles to Crayons
Cradles to Crayons provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play. They supply these items free of charge by engaging and connecting communities. New and nearly new children’s items are collected through grassroots community drives and corporate donations. Donations are then processed and packaged by volunteers in their warehouse, The Giving Factory. Packages from The Giving Factory are distributed to local children through a collaborative network of diverse service partners. HPCF’s grant supports the distribution of basic needs to children in Highland Park and Highwood.
Community – The Anti-Drug Coalition
Community – The Anti-Drug Coalition (CTAD) is a community coalition that is comprised of parents, local government, school officials, clergy, and health providers. CTAD’s mission is to generate conversation and provide accurate information about alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use in our community. CTAD is a volunteer-led organization, which strives to build and sustain a safe and drug-free community in which our youth feel protected, confident and empowered to make healthy choices. They bring together input and contributions from all sectors of the community—schools, parents, youth, government, healthcare, faith, law enforcement, youth-serving organizations and more—to transform the environment around our youth so that the drug-free choice is the easy choice. The grant from the Highland Park Community Foundation supports CTAD’s “You Got This!” drug prevention campaign that will be implemented in District 113 in the 2021-2022 school year. The purpose of the campaign is two-fold: 1) to celebrate the strength and resiliency of HPHS and DHS students during challenging times and 2) to strengthen the association between drug-free choices and values important to our students.
Curt’s Café provides unique work and life skills training, social-emotional support, and job placement for young adults 18-24 living in at-risk circumstances. Since Curt’s opened in 2012, the organization has served over 450 young adults. Over 80% have completed Curt’s program and entered the food service and restaurant industry and/or stayed in high school to graduate. Curt’s original café in Evanston serves Cook County and Curt’s Highland Park Café serves Lake County young adults. Curt’s is excited to reopen the Highland Park café for the students it serves as well as the community by offering a meeting place to strengthen the connections between diverse residents of the community. Students are referred or learn of the program from current and former participants as well as probation officers, city police, social service agencies, State's Attorney's offices, teachers, and counselors. Curt’s breaks the prison pipeline and builds a stronger foundation for the students and their families. HPCF’s funding provides general operating support for the Highland Park Cafe including expenses for training, stipends, and mental health services for Highland Park and Highwood students.
Direct Giving Lab
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.
Family Service of Lake County
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
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 2022.
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.
JCFS Chicago – Response for Teens
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.
KEEPING FAMILIES COVERED
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.
Mothers Trust Foundation
Mothers Trust Foundation partners with over 200 social workers, school counselors, public health nurses, and other professionals who work with children and families and submit requests on their behalf. Service requests can be for basic needs like clothing and underwear; stable housing including rent; security deposits or utility assistance; enrichment opportunities including playing a sport or musical instrument or attending summer camp; education-related assistance; and medical assistance including eye glasses, prescriptions and counseling. HPCF’s grant provides resources Mothers Trust needs to help low-income youth in Highland Park and Highwood.
North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic
Since May of 2015, the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic has served hundreds of members of the community, primarily in the areas of housing, immigration, and domestic violence. The Clinic provides pro bono legal services to all qualifying individuals who live in Highland Park and Highwood. Highland Park Community Foundation’s funding is used to support services the Clinic provides for Highland Park and Highwood residents in all three of the Clinic’s three practice areas, with a specific focus on Housing as there is an ongoing, urgent need with the rollback of the State’s eviction moratorium.
Northern Illinois Food Bank
Northern Illinois Food Bank’s mission (NIFB) is to provide nutritious food and resources for those in need, with dignity, equity, and convenience, through partnerships and innovation, and with a vision of everyone in Northern Illinois having the food they need to thrive. With the help of the Highland Park Community Foundation’s funding, NIFB operates a Mobile Market distribution in Highwood. The Mobile Market supplements food resources for residents to access food beyond what the local food pantries provide. They offer a welcoming environment for our neighbors and help to remove the barriers that may prevent them from accessing traditional food assistance, by providing more convenient hours, taking limited personal information, and being held at accessible and local community locations. Each Mobile Pantry provides up to 250 families with groceries, including a variety of meat, fresh produce, dairy products and non-perishable items like pasta, cereal, or canned goods.
Operation Warm provides warmth, confidence and hope to children in need through the gift of brand-new winter coats. Operation Warm partners with individuals, community organizations, and corporations across North America to provide children in need the gift of a brand-new coat. Through this, they provide these children with physical and emotional warmth, confidence to socialize and succeed, and hope of a brighter future. In 2019, the organization distributed approximately 410,000 coats to 1,200 different communities with the help of 800+ partners in the US and Canada. With a matching grant Operation Warm will receive from the Winnetka-Northfield Rotary Club, HPCF’s grant is being used to provide 200 high-quality brand new winter coats to low-income children attending North Shore School District 112 schools.
Parks Foundation of Highland Park
The Parks Foundation of Highland Park raises funds for three programs, including the Foundation Youth Initiative ("FYI"), to enable children from Highwood to participate in the Park District’s programs. Highwood does not have its own Park District, and therefore relies largely on the Park District of Highland Park (PDHP) for recreational and enrichment programming. Highwood is home to many families who would benefit from participation in PDHP activities but cannot afford the program fees. Yet, as a taxing body, PDHP is legally precluded from supporting scholarships for Highwood residents. HPCF’s funding is thus used to fund scholarships for Highwood youth whose families qualify for an established state or federal assistance program so they can participate in the FYI Swim-to-Learn program and summer camp.
Project Shop N’ Drop
Project Shop N’ Drop is a service program that provides groceries and personal items on a weekly basis to approximately 315 people in 70 families who are food insecure and economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Shop N’ Drop develops ongoing relationships with all supported families in order to best understand their present and future needs; provides messages of hope and encouragement through weekly themes; and engages community volunteers in the support of local families. The Foundation’s grant funds groceries and personal items for the Highland Park and Highwood families Project Shop N’ Drop supports.
Rainbows for All Children
Rainbows for All Children serves children 3-18 who are struggling with emotions following the loss of a family member through death, divorce/separation, deployment, incarceration, or illness. There are approximately 3,880 students in North Shore School District 112. Pre-COVID, the national statistics for children struggling with any of the pillars of loss Rainbows supports was 68%. A recent Harvard study puts that percentage nearer to 90% post-COVID. Rainbows thus estimates that there are between 2,639 and 3,493 students within NSSD112 that need and deserve support. To mitigate this issue, with the HPCF’s support, during the 2021-2022 school year, Rainbows will train two educators within NSSD112’s nine schools to facilitate guided peer-support groups within the school day. They will also provide one school-wide advocacy presentation at each school.
ROBERTI COMMUNITY HOUSE
The mission of Roberti Community House (RCH) is to nourish, educate, and empower community members so that they can acknowledge, appreciate, and actualize their individual strengths and talents. As part of this, RCH rescues food, produce, and supplies from farmers, food distributors, stores, and community partners to provide food for people who are food-insecure, including Highland Park and Highwood residents.
Save A Star Drug Awareness Foundation
The Save A Star Drug Awareness Foundation educates and increases awareness about drug abuse/addiction, provides prescription drug disposal programs, and offers support and resources for adults recovering from substance disorders. HPCF’s grant will be used to support Lake County Recovery Connections, a non-clinical peer-to-peer recovery program Save A Star established in 2019, and Save A Star’s Drug Collection and Disposal Program.
THE BALANCE PROJECT
With an emphasis on education and providing a safe space where individuals can engage in a dialogue about emotional wellness, The Balance Project supports individuals and families in addressing their emotional wellness needs before they reach a point of crisis, thereby filling a much-needed service gap. HPCF’s funding supports the facilitation of workshops as well as individual and group mental health education and programming for families of North Shore School District 112 and District 113.
The Josselyn Center
The Josselyn Center 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, the Josselyn Center is able to close gaps to care. The Josselyn Center’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. The Josselyn Center 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.
Youth Services offers programs focused on early intervention, intervention, and crisis response. Specific programs include individual and group therapy, boys and girls clubs, academic support, crisis intervention services, and SHARE and Pride Youth. Agency clients struggle with depression, anxiety, bullying and cyberbullying, issues related to gender and or sexual identity, familial stressors, academic pressure, and suicidal ideation. The majority of youth are referred by local schools, and no one is turned away if they cannot afford to pay. HPCF’s funding supports Youth Service’s Pride Youth Program, which provides meaningful social activities, peer support, and leadership development for Highland Park and Highwood LGBTQ+ youth and their families. It also supports the SHARE Program, which provides workshops for youth grades 5-12 in schools and community organizations on healthy relationships and LGBTQ+ identities and allyship, in addition to providing education for parents and professionals about how to support youth development and healthy relationships.
Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center
Zacharias Center provides quality, comprehensive, client-centered services to survivors of sexual assault and abuse. The agency’s services are free and available to all survivors regardless of race, gender, language, ability, sexual orientation, or religion. They include counseling, which provides therapy in individual and group settings; advocacy, which provides staff, who are available 24 hours a day, to answer a support line, meet victims in the local police stations and emergency rooms, or attend local trial proceedings; and prevention education, which reaches into the community to provide safety education workshops to students and adults. HPCF’s grant supports Zacharias Center’s ability to provide all of these services for Highland Park and Highwood survivors of sexual abuse and assault.