Lake County Poverty Awareness



January marks national Poverty Awareness Month, an initiative to bring awareness to the issue of increasing poverty in America. At LCCF, this initiative spans all 12 months of the year. In Lake County, we have taken a number of approaches to shine a light on this important topic, particularly the suburbanization of poverty and the challenges several thousand of our neighbors face each and every day.

LCCF is proud to partner with WTTW, Chicago's PBS station, to highlight the issues of suburban poverty right. FIRSTHAND: Living in Poverty, a new initiative launched in 2021, explores this issue from the perspectives of five Chicagoans who are experiencing intergenerational poverty. Gary, a Lake County resident, is featured in the series as well to highlight the suburbanization of poverty. Find the documentary series, expert talks, reported stories, discussion guide, and community events HERE.

“It’s a huge misconception that poverty is an urban issue. There’s a 14-year difference in life expectancy between (Lake Bluff) and one of our poorest communities, North Chicago."

-Maggie Morales, LCCF Executive Director
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"I want to get (my daughter) away from the environment I grew up in and how I grew up. I don’t want her to have to struggle with anything – clothes, money, or lights getting shut off."

-Gary Ladehoff, FIRSTHAND Living in Poverty
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Lake County Poverty Awareness Day

LCCF board members attended the Foundation’s first annual “Lake County Poverty Awareness Day” on January 23, 2018

On Tuesday, January 23, 2018 over 175 participants joined LCCF for Right Now in Lake County, an event held at the new Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. The standing room only audience comprised of donors, business and nonprofit executives, municipal leaders, agency partners and concerned residents speaks to the magnitude of the issue of suburban poverty right here in Lake County.

Dr. Scott Allard, author of Places in Need: The Changing Geography of Poverty, delivered remarks  as well as a panel of three nonprofit health and human service providers who shared examples of successful local efforts that are under way to address the growing issue of poverty.

L - R - Cheri Neal, Zion Township, Kathy O'Hara, Village of Lake Bluff, Janet Kilkelly, City of Waukegan, Mayor Steve Lentz, Village of Mundelein, Chairman Aaron Lawlor, Lake County Board, Sandy Hart, Lake County Board and Mayor Charlie Pecaro, City of Highwood

Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor read a proclamation joining LCCF in declaring January 23, 2018 as Lake County Poverty Awareness Day. We were honored to have Mayor Rob Lansing (Lake Forest), Village President Kathy O’Hara (Lake Bluff), Mayor Steve Lentz (Mundelein), Mayor Charlie Pecaro (Highwood) and Mayor Nancy Rotering (Highland Park) show their support through the creation of their own community specific proclamations.

Our 2018 Lake County Poverty Awareness Day served as a launching point to build awareness of poverty and its effects in suburban Lake County and fostered further dialogue, community engagement and philanthropy to address it.

  • Click HERE to access recordings of our 2018 Right Now In Lake County
  • Access the recording of the “Addressing Poverty Right Now In Lake County” webinar HERE

A year since the first Poverty Awareness Day, efforts continue in Lake County to raise awareness and drive positive change:

  • Zion Township hosted its own Poverty Awareness Day on June 26, 2018.
  • The food insecurity rate continues to decline. LCCF has begun to see positive progress through its collaborative efforts to increase access to affordable, nutritious food throughout Lake County.
  • The Alliance for Human Services, a coalition of over 30 health and human service organizations across Lake County, has committed to providing hands-on professional development opportunities for its members and other community stakeholders to further understand the issues of suburban poverty and how we can work together to collaboratively address them.