Lake County foundation awards $250,000 to local nonprofits

The Lake County Community Foundation recently announced $250,000 in grants to 17 local nonprofit organizations, addressing the urgent needs of the most vulnerable individuals and families in the county.

The foundation also shared a new partnership with a donor who has essentially doubled its grant making over the next four years.

The 17 grants approved by the LCCF Board of Directors went to local nonprofits engaged in addressing hunger, homelessness, mental health support, domestic violence and more. All grants for this 2021 cycle were for general operating support to help the nonprofits recover from the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their operations and budgets.

Grantee Highwood Public Library noted that its $20,000 grant from LCCF has been timely, as the organization has expanded services over the last year in response to the pandemic.

"This support will enable the Highwood Public Library to continue to effectively respond to the community's needs by expanding our programs, resources and services," Highwood Public Library Executive Director Carmen Patlan said.

"Without LCCF's partnership, the library would not have the resources or capacity needed to sustain the growing impact that our programs have on children and families in Highwood and beyond."

Over the last three years, LCCF has received record-setting numbers of applications from nonprofits doing critical work to support Lake County. The gap between funding requests and what LCCF has been able to provide in grants has grown significantly each year.

For example, in the 2021 cycle, LCCF received almost $1.3 million in requests and had a spendable balance of $250,000. Fortunately, Forest County resident and LCCF donor advised fund holder Carlette McMullan recognized this chasm between LCCF's available resources and the need of nonprofits.

Through her family's fund, the James and Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation Charitable Fund, she has generously agreed to provide LCCF with an additional $250,000 annually over the next four years to support grant-making under LCCF's Basic Human Needs priority area.

This $1 million commitment will double LCCF's grant-making over the next four years.

"This is truly a transformational gift," LCCF Executive Director Maggie Morales said. "Over the last few years, we've continued to see an increase in need from our county's nonprofits. This incredible new donor partnership will ensure that LCCF has the resources to support nonprofits working so hard to serve our most vulnerable neighbors, especially as our communities and nonprofits continue to recover from the pandemic."

In the first year of this commitment, McMullan worked with LCCF staff to provide approximately $250,000 in grants to 16 nonprofits. This means that between LCCF and the donor advised fund holder, almost $500,000 was granted to 33 local nonprofits that applied under the 2021 Basic Human Needs Grant Cycle.

McMullan noted that leveraging LCCF's knowledge of Lake County's needs has been key in helping her family achieve the impact that they envisioned with their philanthropy.

"The foundation's extensive local expertise is helping us to maximize our giving, ensuring that our investments are strategic and align with our family's giving priorities," McMullan said.

"We are thrilled to support these nonprofits doing such incredible work to serve our communities."

The 2022 Basic Human Needs Grant Cycle will open in early January. For more information about LCCF's grant programs, visit

2021 Basic Human Needs Grant Cycle recipients include:

• A Safe Place: $15,000

• Antioch Area Healthcare Accessibility Alliance: $20,000

• Beacon Place: $15,000

• CASA Lake County: $20,000

• Direct Giving Lab: $10,000

• GiveNkind: $10,000

• Grandparents and Kin Raising Children - Lake County: $10,000

• Highwood Public Library -$20,000

• Keeping Families Covered: $15,000

• Mano a Mano Family Resource Center: $10,000

• Most Blessed Trinity Parish: $15,000

• My Father's Business: $12,000

• Nicasa Behavioral Health Services: $15,000

• North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic: $15,000

• Reading Power: $20,000

• Willow House: $15,000

• Youth and Family Counseling: $20,000

For a list of organizations that received grants through the new donor advised fund holder partnership, visit

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Farmworker and Landscaper Advocacy Project Executive Director Alexandra Sossa hands out face masks to Lake County families. Many of these individuals are front-line employees who continued to work throughout the pandemic. Courtesy of Ripple Public Relations
A Roberti Community House volunteer provides prepared meals to families in need during the pandemic. Courtesy of Ripple Public Relations
Carlette McMullan
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