Anixter Center

Anixter Center’s mission is to provide an array of services and support to help people with disabilities and related challenges live, learn, work, and play in the community. Located in Highland Park, the agency’s Adult Community Transition (ACT) program helps facilitate the transition of young adults with developmental disabilities from their safe, nurturing school environments to life in the broader community. This is accomplished through individualized employment and volunteer opportunities, case management, educational activities, socialization, and recreational activities developed to maximize their independence, giving these adults “the ability to soar.” The Foundation’s grant was used to fund art therapy for young adults with developmental disabilities who reside in Highland Park and Highwood.

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.


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 were used to support this program.

Center for Enriched Living (CEL)

The Center for Enriched Living (CEL) enhances and enriches the lives of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities – from youth through adulthood. CEL provides a space for their members to grow and learn new social, educational, and independent living skills with a community of friends and a world of opportunities. CEL celebrates the unique contributions of everyone, where all voices are heard and personal choices are respected. Highland Park Community Foundation’s grant provides financial aid to Highland Park residents with developmental disabilities so they can participate in CEL programming that includes the REACH (For Success) adult day programs; summer camp; dances and excursions; afternoon programs; and evening and weekend programs.

Center for Independent Futures

Center for Independent Futures upholds a vision for the future where individuals with disabilities have access to all opportunities of a full life. The Center creates sustainable solutions through community living options, personal networks, and lifelong planning and education, tailored to support individuals and families as well as schools and agencies. The Foundation’s grant serves individuals with disabilities/family members who reside or are readying to live in Highland Park and Highwood. Funding supports the expansion of person-centered services, primarily life-skills tutoring and readying young adult children with intellectual/developmental disabilities for adult community living.

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 youth program through which Highland Park High School students are trained in and work together to implement evidence-based, drug-prevention strategies in their school and community.

Family Service of Lake County – Community Counseling

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 serve 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.

Family Service of Lake County: Latino Education Continuum

The Latino Educational Continuum supports students and their families from first grade through high school graduation and transition to college. Continuum programs include After-School Homework Club for Oak Terrace Elementary School first-fifth graders, Youth Educational Support & Success (YESS) program for sixth-eighth graders at Northwood Jr. High School, and Latino Youth Initiative (LYI) at Highland Park High School. Their graduates and their families continue to acknowledge that their path to life success has been greatly improved by the support they received from the Continuum. Today, the need for these programs is more essential than ever to the Highland Park/Highwood Latino community. The Foundation’s grant has helped Nuestro Center develop a more structured program which included improving academic performance, bridging the educational gap between Latino students and their peers and promoting the social-emotional growth of students.

Highland Park/Highwood Legal Aid Clinic

Since May of 2015, the Highland Park-Highwood Legal Aid Clinic has served hundreds of members of the community, primarily in the areas of housing, immigration, and domestic violence.  The Legal Aid Clinic supports the provision of pro bono legal services provided to all qualifying individuals who live in Highland Park and Highwood. Highland Park Community Foundation’s funding will help to design and implement a domestic violence program to address the many legal and social issues involving family stress, domestic abuse, and intimate partner disturbances.

Jewish Council & Family Service – Response

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.

Kids Rank

Kids Rank provides military children with a sense of stability through interactive group learning experiences and community service.  Kids Rank’s goal is to recognize and celebrate the positive characteristics that military children often develop in light of the numerous changes and challenges they face while living a military lifestyle. The program is open to school-aged military children from all branches of service including active duty, reservists, retirees and Families of the Fallen. The Community Outreach Initiative targets non-registered military children, their families and potential Community Partners. To cultivate and build relationships between Kids Rank and families with the goal of integrating them into our member programming while promoting awareness throughout the community to the needs, challenges, and strengths of military children. The Foundation’s grant assists with expenses of the program that addresses a gap in services for military children by engaging them in hands-on, skill building projects and volunteer opportunities designed to encourage resilience through the program’s core pillars of Connect, Lead, and Serve.

Northern Illinois Food Bank

With the help of the Highland Park Community Foundation, the food bank’s mobile pantry program provided regular distributions on the second and fourth Fridays of each month at the Highwood Recreation Center, serving between 100-120 families at each distribution.

Random Acts of Flowers Chicago

Random Acts of Flowers improves the emotional health and well being of individuals in healthcare facilities by delivering recycled flowers, encouragement, and personal moments of kindness. Through the program, flowers that are donated to the organization are arranged into bouquets that are delivered to “unsuspecting people” in healthcare facilities at no charge to the recipient or the facility. The grant from the Highland Park Community Foundation will be used to deliver bouquets to residents in nursing homes in Highland Park.

Stuart I Raskas Friendship Circle of Illinois

The Friendship Circle’s mission is to empower today’s teens to bridge the gap between families of children with special needs and the rest of the community. Volunteers offer friendship as well as social and educational experiences, enriching lives and reaping the rewards of selfless giving. The Friendship Circle extends a helping hand to families who have children with special needs and involves them in a full range of social and Judaic experiences. The Circle’s unique formula introduces teenage volunteers to the children and their families, and through the shared experiences, all are enriched. The Foundation’s grant provides weekly home visits to children/young adults with disabilities by trained teen volunteers.

Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center

Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center (ZCenter) is the only rape crisis center in Lake County. Built on the courage of survivors, staff, volunteers and donors, ZCenter has been serving the community as a non-profit center against sexual assault and abuse since 1983. The Highland Park Community Foundation’s grant supports ZCenter’s Children’s Program. Through counseling and community education, this program helps survivors of sexual assault heal, prevent re-traumatization, and change assumptions and attitudes about rape and sexual abuse.