Lake County Community Foundation’s Crisis Relief Fund Reaches Over $1 Million in Contributions

As the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, the Lake County Community Foundation’s crisis relief fund has reached a landmark $1.2 million in contributions — money that will help support the critical needs of Lake County residents. Just founded in March of 2020, the Lake County Community Crisis Fund not only offers aid to those affected by the pandemic, but also serves as a permanent funding resource countywide for any future emergencies.

The Crisis Fund reached this incredible milestone with the help of a generous $200,000 contribution from Horizon Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company, and a $100,000 donation from the Julian Grace Foundation, a private foundation that does high-engagement grant making.

This isn’t the first time Horizon Therapeutics has stepped in to help the people of Lake County. As the LCCF scrambled to create the Crisis Fund in March of 2020, the company became an inaugural donor with a generous gift of $100,000.

“With the recent surge in Covid-19 cases across the country, we recognize that the needs of those in Lake County have intensified since our initial donation last spring,” said Tim Walbert, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Horizon. “As a proud Lake County business, we believe it is our responsibility as an organization to help our community weather this unprecedented and challenging time.” 

The Julian Grace Foundation was also one of the Crisis Fund’s first donors in the spring of 2020, with an incredible $300,000 gift. The continuing and urgent needs of Lake County residents as the pandemic wore on prompted the Foundation to contribute an additional $100,000 gift in the fall of 2020.

Help for Those Who Need It Most

So where is all of this money going? Directly to people in Lake County who need it the most as Covid-19 continues to batter families, almost a year into the pandemic. As of December, LCCF has awarded approximately $1.1 million in grants to 25 different frontline health and human service organizations in Lake County. The recent donations from Horizon Therapeutics and the Julian Grace Foundation will contribute critical funding during the winter months when needs throughout the county will continue to rise. 

“We know that this pandemic is far from over and its effects will be long-term,” said Maggie Morales, LCCF Executive Director. “We are grateful to Horizon Therapeutics and the Julian Grace Foundation for partnering with us to ensure that we are able to continue to support our most vulnerable neighbors during this challenging time. Their investment and leadership has been incredibly impactful in our community.”

As the pandemic continues to rage, many Lake County residents remain extremely vulnerable and in need of sustained support from the Crisis Fund.

How Grants Are Awarded

But how do individuals in Lake County benefit, precisely? Well, the process starts with grants awarded to a variety of nonprofit health and human service organizations committed to addressing the basic needs of county residents. Organizations can only apply for grants by invitation from the Crisis Fund. If approved, grants support utility and financial assistance, support for school-aged children and other vulnerable populations, nonprofit safety and operations assistance, and more.

“There’s a lot of hunger happening in Lake County right now,” says Emily Weber, Manager of Community Leadership and Investment at LCCF. “There’s people new to hunger who have never experienced it before, so [they] aren’t sure how to navigate the emergency food system. We’ve invested in organizations that are feeding our community.”

Roberti Community House. Waukegan

Another big area of need is direct assistance with utility bills and rent, Weber says. One of the biggest areas of need that LCCF’s Crisis Fund supports is actually the one people are least likely to think of: organizations that support mental health and wellness.

“Pre-COVID, mental health was such an issue, and it’s only been exacerbated since the pandemic started,” Weber says.

Although the Crisis Fund is new, the Lake County Community Foundation (an affiliate of The Chicago Community Trust) has been around since 2003. Since its inception, LCCF has grown to nearly $15 million in assets, connecting people and organizations in order to improve the lives of Lake County’s most vulnerable residents.

LCCF has awarded grants totaling more than $6.5 million to a variety of nonprofit agencies serving the residents of Lake County and beyond. The organization provides leadership on key issues, insight on emerging trends, and helps donors learn more about local needs to make their giving as effective as possible.

Weber says one of the best things about the LCCF is that the organization has expertise in the local nonprofit center, so they know which organizations are serving the community in the most impactful way and can direct funding towards those charities.

“Our goal has been to get the money as quickly as possible and then get it out the door as quickly as possible,” Weber says.

The Fund has benefited organizations from A Safe Place, a nonprofit that shelters women and children fleeing domestic violence, all the way to Waukegan Public Library, and many charities in between.

The fund is made possible by generous donors including Horizon Therapeutics, the Julian Grace Foundation, the Hunter Family Foundation, Steans Family Foundation, Great Lakes Credit Union, Morrison Family Foundation, John and Kathleen Schrieber Foundation, anonymous donors and many other foundation partners and individuals. 

“We have been humbled by the generosity of Lake County,” Morales said. “We still have much work to do to get our community through this difficult time and we are grateful for the continued support of our funding partners and neighbors.” 

How to Help

To donate to the Lake County Community Crisis Relief Fund, please visit here. If you wish to make a gift by check to support the fund, please make your check payable to: The Lake County Community Foundation, 1200 University Center Drive, Suite 333, Grayslake, IL 60030 and please indicate “The Lake County Community Crisis Relief Fund” in the memo.

Through collective philanthropy and by partnering with others, LCCF’s donors help make a greater impact together than any one organization can make alone. For more information about the Foundation, visit

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Jessica Suss is a native Chicagoan residing in Washington, D.C. She is currently getting her master’s degree in secondary English education at the University of Maryland. She enjoys petting other people’s dogs and is faithful to Lou Malnati’s alone. Jessica is also a supporter of MAZON and No Kid Hungry