Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in Lake County
As the community foundation for Lake County, Indiana, we are committed to seeing all residents lifted to their fullest potential. Our experience has shown us that when we work together, there is positive and meaningful and long-lasting change. At Legacy Foundation, we are committed to taking immediate and long-term action to uplift the voices, the needs, and the rights of every minority group. We call on you to join us in the work of advancing equity and justice.
A Letter of Support
Dear friends in the struggle against racism,
At Legacy Foundation, our job as the community foundation for Lake County, IN, is to help make the 19 cities and towns we serve better for us and future generations. In addition to providing over $3 million in annual grants to local nonprofits and $1 million in scholarships to area students, we pride ourselves on creating spaces where people can share in authentic conversations about our community.
We at Legacy Foundation have been reeling from the recent events: mass shootings, hate crimes against Asian American/Pacific Islanders, and violence against African American/Black citizens. It is no doubt a stressful time for many of us. The videos and comments we see on social media can be draining; and discussions with our loved ones, coworkers, or neighbors who are still coming into an understanding of other people’s experiences can lead to strained relationships. Our region, and our nation, has deep divides which stem from a long history of racism and show up across our schools, healthcare institutions, and neighborhoods. We do not have all the solutions to these problems, but we know we can make progress by listening to each other and sharing our experiences.
Right now, Legacy Foundation has a program called Conscious Conversations. It is open to the public, and we hope you will join us. Much like a book club, we collectively read, watch, or listen to a story. Then, we invite community members to take part in a conversation about the story as it relates to their own experiences and communities. Nearly 300 people have participated in past Conscious Conversations that were either led by Legacy Foundation staff or hosted by a community member. Legacy Foundation’s selected texts and other works focus on the African American/Black experience as a means of understanding our country’s long history of oppression and its lasting impacts today.
We are learning how to be an organization that is anti-racist and an ally to racialized community members and those who have been socially and economically marginalized. The Conscious Conversations program is one part of our larger strategy to foster understanding and equity in the region. Legacy Foundation has committed to taking immediate and long-term action to uplift the voices, needs, and rights of minority groups. The effort includes diversity and inclusion training for staff and board members of area nonprofit organizations, a radio program that highlights perspectives from minority groups on community issues, and changes to our grantmaking strategy to prioritize under-resourced and marginalized communities across Lake County. We hope that these stories will help us all understand and reflect on the ways we have contributed to or remained neutral in the face of racism and inequity, so that we may see a new way to move forward.
During Legacy Foundation’s nearly 30-year history, we have developed relationships with neighborhood volunteers, elected officials, nonprofit staff members, and high school students who focus their energies and efforts on making Lake County a just and welcoming place. We want to continue fostering those relationships and build new ones with people who have hope that our communities can offer all residents dignity and the opportunity to thrive.
Join us – your voice matters. Find out how to participate in our next Conscious Conversation at legacyfdn.org/community-programs/conscious-conversations.
Yours in philanthropy,
Internal Equity Assessments for Nonprofits
Legacy Foundation seeks to build organization leadership for inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) work in Lake County by providing training and organizational capacity building. Legacy Foundation is launching this new initiative to support IDEA in non-profit organizations serving Lake County, Indiana. We seek to support change at the organizational level and believe IDEA learning and growth is important for all types of organizations.
Along with Legacy Foundation, the following organizations are participating in a 10-month long cohort to develop strategies to implement IDEA practices into their internal policies and practices and in their programs and services.
Community Conversations on Equity
We want historically marginalized groups to feel seen and heard. An important part of advancing equity in our community is to bring the discussion to the public sphere. We have launched two exciting efforts to raise the voices of people of color.
Neighborhood Voice Radio Segment
Lake County is home to many minority entrepreneurs who strengthen the local small business community. Each week Neighborhood Voice brings you one of their stories. The show airs on Lakeshore Public Radio 89.1 FM on Tuesdays at 7:23 AM, in the 11 O’CLOCK HOUR, and 4:21 PM.
Find all the recorded episodes at: lakeshorepublicradio.org/programs/neighborhood-voice
There is power in stories. They can help us understand ourselves and the world around us. Through generations and across geographies, stories have roused our emotions, stoked our curiosity and sparked conversations. Join us each month for a series of Conscious Conversations around books, films, and podcasts. Our hope is that these stories will guide us toward a more equitable and inclusive Lake County, Indiana.
Find the story schedule at legacyfdn.org/community-programs/conscious-conversations