Diversity, equity and inclusion are at the heart of what it means to LIVE UNITED.

We celebrate unique and diverse identities and experiences. We believe that all people deserve fairness, justice and security. We create a welcoming environment in which everyone feels valued and respected.

We commit to aligning our culture and business practices to advance diversity, equity and inclusion to better address our community’s needs.


At United Way of Lake County:

We know that during the last 100 years, Lake County has been a gateway for racial and ethnic minorities.

We recognize that structural racism, ethnic discrimination and economic disparity have contributed to racial inequities that existed in the past and are persistent problems in our community today.

We acknowledge that those racial inequities are the result of policies, procedures and practices that contribute to the marginalization of entire populations of people.

We denounce racism and ethnic discrimination because it undermines the well-being and vitality of our community.

We support diversity, equity and inclusion because that is what it means to LIVE UNITED.

We define equity as the presence of justice and fairness within the procedures, processes and distribution of resources by organizations and communities.

We believe that it is necessary to focus on race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status, as well as other intersectional identities, to end the historical, social and systemic inequities that persist in our county.

We agree that we can only be successful if we recognize, raise up and support leaders from underrepresented neighborhoods.

We promise that we will engage these leaders as partners, volunteers, contributors, and community members and will intentionally create pathways for them to be included in decision-making and leadership roles within our own and other organizations.

We seek to dismantle disparities and engage our community, especially those whose voices have traditionally been marginalized, in the shared work of fortifying equity and empowerment.

We strive to intentionally make decisions that provide fair treatment, access and opportunity for all.

We engage public and private partners to co-create solutions that ensure everyone in Lake County has the resources, support, opportunities and networks they need to thrive.

We pledge to align United Way of Lake County’s culture and business practices to end racism and to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion to support the creation of a more equitable Lake County.

And finally, we commit to an ongoing and purposeful journey of listening, learning and growing as we hold our leadership, our staff and our partners accountable in addressing Lake County’s needs for racial equality.



  • Create an inclusive culture of belonging that recognizes, promotes and celebrates the rich diversity reflective of our communities.  
  • Foster an inclusive environment where volunteers and donors feel valued and represented.  
  • Utilize inclusive, asset-based language in UWLC’s communication and outreach to the community.

Learning and Development

  • Provide community engagement opportunities for board members and staff to develop a deeper understanding of and connection to the community.  
  • Provide ongoing learning opportunities for board and staff around DEI concepts.

Community Impact

  • Seek diverse perspectives and backgrounds as active participants and utilize data to inform UWLC’s work in the community. 
  • Collaborate with communities across Lake County to deliver high-impact results, through UWLC’s Success By 6, Youth Success and 211, and build an equitable future for all Lake County children and families.



  • Clarence Berry, Waukegan Public Schools
  • Derrick Harden, College of Lake County
  • Joe Garnett, Zurich of North America
  • Michelle Hansen, Aon
  • Patrice Maloney-Knauff
  • Jose Quirarte, Honeywell
  • Mark G. Schweitzer, PhD, Mark Schweitzer Consulting, LLC
  • Carl Skoog
  • Donnovan M. Young, Onlife Health/GuideWell


  • Kristi Long, President and CEO
  • Taylor Bellson, Account Manager, Donor Relationships
  • Jessica Ceisel, Senior Manager, Women United & Donor Engagement
  • Kelly Cotter, J.D., Initiative Funding Manager
  • Gale Graves, VP Community Impact
  • Lauren Schwabe, Marketing Coordinator
  • Robert Szarzynski, Director of Administration
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