Racial Equity Program

LCCF's Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) program provides comprehensive racial equity resources and education to support a more equitable Lake County. LCCF defines racial equity as an approach that assesses resource, opportunity and access. It is a lens that considers historical and systemic factors and acknowledges the needs for tailored, multi-faceted approaches to ensure all individuals are able to be successful for intended outcomes.

Through our REDI program, we are prioritizing our work with both the philanthropic and social service sectors in order to bridge the gap and reimagine an equitable and thriving Lake County community. LCCF launched this program in January 2021, beginning with re-examining our internal organizational procedures, practices and priorities to enrich our values and community investments. Since then, we have:

  • Established a REDI Committee comprised of board members to help drive strategy
  • Initiated weekly staff REDI trainings, quarterly board trainings and community education sessions
  • Conducted REDI education sessions featuring diverse voices through our monthly Funders Call series, which convenes and educates philanthropists around key community issues
  • Launched our new Small Business Growth Initiative (SBGI) program that focuses on decreasing racial wealth disparity by supporting small businesses owned by people of color in Lake County.

Mission, Vision & Goals

Mission: LCCF’s Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) program is designed to educate the community and drive social change specifically around racial equity and racial justice. We believe we are well positioned within the community to serve as a leader in this area and help shift the philanthropic sector in Lake County to be more equity-focused.

Vision: We envision a Lake County where neighbors are engaged and inspired to address community issues by giving back and taking action to support a more resilient community for all.


  • Commit to infusing equity across all areas of our organization.
  • Foster a more equitable Lake County by practicing anti-racism, promoting diversity, inclusion and understanding, raising awareness and inspiring neighbors to get involved.
  • Provide a safe space for individuals to learn and engage in meaningful dialogue about racial equity issues.
  • Create pipelines of leadership and entrepreneurship in communities of color and increase investment to Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)-led organizations.

Racial Equity Workshops

LCCF's racial equity training and education workshops are tailored to fit the needs of nonprofits, government entities and educational institutions. Workshops typically last a minimum of 1.5 hours to a maximum of 4 hours. We can provide single sessions as well as program series depending on your needs and goals. Trainings start at $150-$400

Please reach out to our Director of Strategy & Community Impact, Courtney Combs, at [email protected]

Racial Equity Resource Library

On our website, we maintain a free community Racial Equity Resource Library that contains a racial equity glossary, books, articles, podcasts, documentaries and other materials on racial justice issues.

Why Racial Equity?

While we continue to serve a variety of communities in Lake County through our community investment and leadership strategy, we see a tremendous need for intentional investment, education and strategy for racial equity. In Lake County (and across the U.S.), race and ethnicity are determinants for several social disparities. In Lake County, the disparities between neighboring cities are stark and deeply inequitable. The COVID-19 crisis only magnified these inequities that have plagued our county for generations.

For example:

  • The average life expectancy of residents in North Chicago is 14 years less than Lake Forest, two communities less than 5 miles apart.
  • Black adults are 8.5 times more likely than white adults to be admitted to Lake County jail.
  • Lake Bluff’s median income is $162,000, compared to Waukegan at $49,000.
  • Although students from Highland Park and Highwood share a high school, students living in Highwood are 2.5 times less likely to graduate than their Highland Park classmates.
  • 82% of Lake Forest High School students go on to enroll in post-secondary education, compared to 47% of North Chicago students.

We understand that the only way to work towards rectifying hundreds of years of slavery, segregation and policy that has enabled systemic racism is by forging deep relationships with our communities of color, creating opportunities for significant, long-term investment and building pathways for diverse leadership. We are dedicated to the mission of intentional, equitable investment in Lake County and are committed to bringing this conversation to the forefront with our fellow funders, partners and neighbors in Lake County. We also know that dismantling systemic racism will benefit everyone in Lake County regardless of race or ethnicity.

For more information, please reach out to our Director of Strategy & Community Impact, Courtney Combs, at [email protected]