The Lake County Community Foundation (Foundation) asserts that the quality of life of Lake County can be improved through an earnest effort to bring organizations, government, businesses, corporations and civic leaders together to establish a common vision, adopt a shared set of measurable goals and pursue evidence-based activities that reinforce one another’s goals as a means of addressing the most pressing needs of our community.
The Foundation’s grant making is a highly competitive process. With an emphasis on being both proactive to opportunities in the community that advance its mission and responsive to urgent needs, the Foundation will focus on making measurable impact on high priority issues with its limited available funding and additional resources.The Foundation envisions a countywide health and human services delivery system that is robust and thriving with a network of providers capable of achieving the greatest impact on the urgent needs of the most vulnerable residents of the county. With an emphasis on partnership and collaboration,while using innovation and organizational strength as its compass, the system will foster transformational change in communities across the county.
The Lake County Community Foundation, honoring a nearly century old tradition of community philanthropy,awards grants to nonprofit organizations that are addressing the most pressing needs of residents in the county. As the community’s philanthropic leader and steward of its donors’ resources, the Foundation believes that large scale social change requires broad, cross-sector coordination versus isolated intervention.
Recognizing that successful grant making is rooted in clearly articulated values, the Foundation envisions a community that models:
COMMUNITY AND CONNECTEDNESS
We believe that a healthy region maintains interconnectedness between people and place, and actively pursues solutions to community challenges through a sense of shared responsibility that extends beyond boundaries of neighborhoods, villages and townships. We believe that Lake County is part of a healthy and sustainable regional community; one that is diverse, works toward inclusion, cares for the well-being of everyone, plans economic development in a responsible manner and sustains the land and environment while encouraging fairness and respect toward all.
We believe in a productive civic leadership that is inclusive and representative of the full spectrum of the county’s residents. We further believe that civic leadership is a conduit for leveraging resources and advancing strategic solutions toward the county’s most pressing needs.
We believe that the Foundation’s mission will be best advanced by upholding the public trust placed in us as a community foundation; establishing reliable and trustworthy partnerships with our donors and grant recipients; maintaining open and honest dialogue with civic leaders; and embodying the highest ethical standards for the community.
We believe that the Foundation’s countywide focus and local expertise propels us to be a catalyst for transformative, system-wide impact. While not all innovation must be new, the Foundation seeks strategic solutions to current challenges so as to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable residents.
We believe that the Foundation’s mandate is to foster opportunity for all residents of Lake County by (1) increasing access to county resources for the county’s most vulnerable residents, (2) engaging donors to give back to the community where they live and work, and (3) enabling the county’s underserved residents to have a greater voice in decision making and an equal opportunity to prosper.
Grant making in pursuit of the Foundation’s mission and vision will encompass a strategic focus on quality of life indicators as articulated in the comprehensive regional plan, GoTo 20401, along with several program areas that have traditionally received funding. The Foundation seeks to advance four overarching priorities to helpLake County meet the challenges of our changing region:
1. Livable Communities
Livable communities tend to share some common traits. They are healthy, safe and walkable. They offer choices for timely transportation to schools, jobs, services and basic needs. They are more cost effective for individuals and local governments. They make the region more economically competitive. The Foundation will consider grants based upon the following priorities:
o Achieve Greater Livability through Land Use and Housing
Development needs to fit the local context; and it needs to emphasize principles that improve livability and promote comprehensive planning and collaboration between municipalities on shared priorities.
o Manage and Conserve Water and Energy
Water/energy supply conservation and management are critical issues that require long-range planning. Improving energy efficiency through the use of green techniques in order to reduce the output of greenhouse gases will improve the livability of our community.
o Expand and Improve Parks and Open Space
Abundant natural areas make our county a more desirable place to live and work.
o Promote Sustainable Local Food
Promoting local, sustainable farming and production of food will help meet present needs while building toward the county’s future. Access to nutritious and local food is a priority in order to alleviate local “food deserts”.
2. Human Capital
The quality of our region’s labor force is crucial for sustaining economic prosperity. Increasingly, job growth relies on the availability of well-educated, skilled workers for knowledge-based industries. Our fragile health and human services safety net system will require resources and investment in order for the sector to meet the growing demand for services. The Foundation will consider grants based upon the following priorities:
o Improve Education and Workforce Training
1 Go To 2040: http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/2040/main
The county needs an effective, adaptable and coordinated education and workforce development system to help the county’s children become productive citizens and to keep our worker’s skills current.
o Support Economic Innovation
Translating new ideas into goods and services creates jobs, saves time/money and improves quality of life. All sectors in the community—public, private, corporate and civic—need to support innovation which will ensure future prosperity.
o *Sustainthe Health and Human Services System
A thriving countywide health and human services delivery system requires a network of providers capable of achieving the greatest impact on the urgent needs of the most vulnerable residents of the county. A strong safety net maintains the following characteristics: ampleresources are available and accessible to those in need within their community; a stable revenue stream; a collaborative approachto sharing information and data; capacity to strengthen the community through policy, advocacy and public education; public/private partnerships and coordination of services; demonstrated methods for measuring impact; a solid administrative infrastructure with capacity for innovation and the ability to adapt to changing external circumstances and community needs.
3. Efficient Governance
Effective and efficient decision making by government is necessary for the county to meet its goals. The Foundation will consider grants based on following priorities:
o *Advocacy and Public Policy
Coordinated efforts that influence public policy are critical to ensuring the vitality of health and human services for the most vulnerable residents of Lake County.
o Access to Information
As communities become more interconnected, access to high quality and reliable information/data is critical to help residents make informed decisions.
o Pursue Coordinated Investments
A coordinated approach to addressing county issues will assist in increasing efficiencies and implementing comprehensive solutions.
4. Regional Mobility
A modern transportation system is indispensable for our region’s future prosperity. To sustain our economy and quality of life, residents must be able to travel quickly and easily around our region so they can choose from a wide variety of jobs and communities in which to live. The Foundation will consider grants for the following priority:
o Increase the Commitment to Public Transit
Investing in public transit reduces congestion, improves air quality and gives residents choices in how they travel around our vast county.
*Sustainingthe Health and Human Services System and Advocacy and Public Policy are priorities of the Foundation that fit within the Lake County context of quality of life indicators, but arenot part of the Go To 2040 regional plan.
ONLINE GRANT SYSTEM
The Foundation usesan online application system, part of the system used by The Chicago Community Trust. Specific information about this system and directions on how to register your nonprofit organization can be found on the Foundation’s website: https://lakecountycf.org/apply/how-to-apply
GRANT MAKING PROCESS
The Foundation follows anannual process whereby eligible nonprofits may apply for funding. All grants are awarded for one year. No multi-year grants are awarded to organizations. All grants are reviewed on an annual basis and may be renewable for up to three years following staff and board review. The Foundation’s process includes:
Step 1: Online registration and submission of the Project Screening Form (PSF) is required for any project to be considered for funding. Foundation staff will review the PSF to assess the project’s alignment with the Foundation’s goals and priorities and will determine whether the project advances to Step 2.PSF due: February 17, 2014
Step 2: Online submission of proposal. Eligible agencies with qualified projects will be notified if their individual project has been invited to respond to the Foundation’s Request for Proposal (RFP).Proposal due: April 25, 2014
Step 3: Due diligence. Following submission, proposals will be reviewed by staff and board of the Foundation.
Step 4: Grant decision. The Foundation’s board of directors determines the final grant awards. Decision: May 29, 2014
Step 5: Online reporting of outcomes. Grant recipients are required to report on outcomes at the mid-term and end of the grant cycle.
The Foundation believes that the diversity of our community is a fundamental strength of our region. Our mission to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable residents of our region is best fulfilled when we embrace diversity as a value and a practice. We define diversity to include, but not limited to, age, disability status, economic circumstance,
ethnicity, gender, race, religion and sexual orientation.The Lake County Community Foundation requires all applicants to either adopt the Foundation’s Diversity Statementor have a similar policy adopted by their boards. Additionally, the Foundation asks that applicants provide demographic data on board and staff as well as clients/beneficiaries of the projects. The Foundation believes that the board and staff composition of grant recipients should reflect the diversity and demographics of the clients/community being served and include diversity among its leadership at the board and senior staff levels to ensure diverse perspectives at all decision-making levels. For this reason, the Foundation does take into consideration the demographic make-up of the board, staff and clients of a grant applicant as an important proposal evaluation criterion.
CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION
The Lake County Community Foundation seeks to proactively respond to requests for potential funding. All ideas for projects must be submitted in writing for review by Foundation staff utilizing the Project Screening Form. All requests will be evaluated, on a competitive basis, using the following criteria:
• Request aligns with the Foundation’s mission and value statements
• Request responds to a high priority need based on current data
• Request addresses and has the potential to impact a quality of life indicator
• Strong, documented partnerships currently in place
• Request has potential to leverage other resources/donor support
• High probability of affecting significant change over the next 3 years
• Policies or programs that, if implemented, would save significant public funds
• Cost-effective delivery of direct services or advocacy
• Likelihood of success and a track record of provider(s)/partners in achieving outcomes
• Strong method for tracking outcomes