Harper foundation launches grant program to help marginalized groups

  • Harper College in Palatine is launching a new grant program to provide funding to nonprofit organizations that support the advancement of equity, diversity and economic mobility for underserved and marginalized communities within Harper's district.

      Harper College in Palatine is launching a new grant program to provide funding to nonprofit organizations that support the advancement of equity, diversity and economic mobility for underserved and marginalized communities within Harper's district. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer, 2019

 
 
Updated 5/9/2022 9:33 AM

The Harper College Educational Foundation is launching a $100,000 Community Innovation Fund Grant Program to help lift minority communities.

It will provide one-year grants totaling up to $100,000 -- including a single grant of up to $50,000 -- to nonprofit organizations whose missions support the advancement of equity, diversity and economic mobility for underserved and marginalized communities within Harper's district.

 

The Palatine college's district encompasses 23 communities.

Preference will be given to organizations with annual operating budgets of $500,000 or less, said Laura Brown, Harper College vice president and chief advancement officer.

"We want to know that (they) are using the money to help support the community ... remedy or close equity gaps," she said.

Funding for the grant program comes from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott's $18 million gift to Harper in June 2021.

The program's goals align with Scott's funding priorities and Harper's efforts to reduce the college's equity gaps by 20% by 2024, Brown said.

Applications for community innovation grants are due June 1. The grant period will run July 1 through June 30, 2023.

Minority jobs

The Illinois Community College Board received a $745,200 grant from the Lumina Foundation to help community colleges improve employment outcomes for Black and other minority students statewide.

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The funding will be used to connect Illinois' Workforce Equity Initiative students to job opportunities within their communities as part of Lumina's Employment Connection Project.

Since its founding, Workforce Equity Initiative has enrolled more than 5,000 students -- 75% Black -- in 100 high-demand training programs focused on historically underinvested Black and brown communities.

College of Lake County in Grayslake and Oakton Community College in Des Plaines are among 19 Illinois community colleges with WEI programs. They will use employment mentors to work with students and connect them to job opportunities within the community. Mentors also will help students with essential employability skills activities, including workforce preparation, resume writing, mock interviews, and other activities to support successful transition to employment.

"There is no doubt this grant will help our students succeed and will contribute toward Lumina's overall goal of 6.5 million credentialed students by 2025," ICCB Executive Director Brian Durham said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Eid festival

The Islamic Circle of North America Chicago will host its annual Eid Fest July 15-17 at the DuPage County Fairgrounds, 2015 Manchester Road in Wheaton.

The festival, which typically draws thousands of Muslims, will mark its 12th year in the suburbs. It was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but resumed last July when restrictions eased.

Around 20,000 people typically attend over the three days. Attractions include a petting zoo, carnival rides, pony rides, games and bazaar vendors selling food, clothing and ethnic/cultural goods.

For details, visit eidfest.us.

LGBTQ law

State lawmakers have amended the Illinois Act on the Aging to address disparities for LGBTQ older adults and older adults living with HIV.

Changes recently adopted by the Illinois General Assembly create a new Illinois Commission on LGBTQ Aging; establish a state LGBTQ Older Adult Advocate; and require state-funded aging services providers to complete LGBTQ older adult awareness and competency training.

The state's Council on Aging also will be required to have at least seven members from underrepresented communities, including LGBTQ, Black, and Asian American or Pacific Islander.

The newly created Commission on LGBTQ Aging must study the health, housing, financial, psychosocial, home- and community-based services, assisted living and long-term care needs of LGBTQ older adults and their caregivers. It then will make recommendations to improve access to benefits, services and supports for that population.

Top Latina cop

Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Jacqueline Cepeda recently was sworn in as the first female president of the Hispanic Illinois State Law Enforcement Association.

The nonprofit association -- in existence since 1987 -- provides a voice on issues facing Hispanics in law enforcement. Its membership and executive board are made up of Hispanic officers from federal, state, county, and local law enforcement agencies. The association advocates for policies and programs promoting the hiring, appointment, and advancement of Hispanics at all levels of the criminal justice system.

Cepeda has served on the association's executive board since 2016.

• Share stories, news and happenings from the suburban mosaic at mkrishnamurthy@dailyherald.com.

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