Women United is Lake County’s premier women’s organization for strengthening the community through philanthropy, leadership, and volunteerism while creating a meaningful sense of belonging. Just this month, it was announced that Women United will distribute $166,000 through its Little Kids, Big Futures philanthropy fund to support eight critical early education programs that will ensure the foundation for strong and successful academic futures for Lake County’s most vulnerable children. Since 2014, Women United has allocated over $850,000 in grants to education programs across Lake County, IL.
Women United members. Pictured (left to right) Back row: Karen Warrington, Karen Jones, Marilyn Mines, Sandra Bankston, Elizabeth Suerth, Patrice Maloney-Knauff. Front row: Lori Cruz and Judy Kotsiopolous.
The following programs will receive funding:
$65,000 – United Way of Lake County’s Kindergarten Countdown Camp (KCC)
Beach Park, Round Lake & Waukegan
Funding will support a virtual and hybrid summer learning program for 120 incoming kindergartners with little to no preschool experience. In addition to teaching social classroom norms, the goal is to build key foundational skills such as learning shapes, letters, counting, and name writing.
$25,000 – B.E.S.T. Pre-K Program
Funding will continue to allow this Round Lake Park District program to provide 20 scholarships for children who otherwise would not have access to preschool. With this opportunity, children will be prepared for kindergarten and ready to learn.
$20,000 – One Hope United‘s Busy Bee Children’s Center
Beach Park, North Chicago, Park City, Waukegan & Zion
Funding will provide scholarships to low-income families who need full-time child care while parents work or are in school. The research-based curriculum focuses on learning through exploration and discovery to build critical thinking, early learning skills, and the confidence needed to succeed in school.
$15,000 – United Way of Lake County’s Better Together program
Green Bay Early Childhood Center in North Chicago
This early learning program is for children birth to three years old and their caregivers. Each family receives resources and materials to learn, play and develop school readiness skills together. Funding will support 36 sessions. Each session will serve 10 – 12 families.
$16,000 – Mano a Mano
Funding will support the Healthy Kids/Healthy Families initiative, which will expand literacy programs for families with children ages three to five years old through home visits.
$12,000 – Bright by Text
Bright by Text is a national bilingual texting program that puts expert tips, games, and child development information in the hands of caregivers. Bright by Text partners with experts such as PBS, Sesame Street, the CDC, and others to develop content for families with children ages prenatal to eight.
$8,000 – United Way of Lake County’s Early Learning Clubs
Waukegan Public Library
Early Learning Clubs provide bilingual opportunities for children to learn basic skills while their parents are empowered to be their child’s first teacher. Curbside pick-up of learning materials will connect more children to Early Learning Clubs.
$5,000 – HUGS/North Preschool Partnership
HUGS (Heroines United for Giving and Support) is a community engagement initiative of Women United where members embrace a school, project, or community with the resources and care it needs to succeed. In 2019, Women United’s HUGS Committee started a new partnership with North Preschool in Waukegan to support reading in classrooms, special events, family programming, parent workshops, and other curricula to enhance learning programs for 140 students.
Women United of Lake County is a powerful network of 115 women who enable each other to leverage our passions, ideas, expertise, and resources to ensure children living in Lake County’s most vulnerable communities are prepared for kindergarten and ready to succeed. Women United is a critical community within United Way of Lake County.
Thinking ahead to 2022 and beyond, Women United’s philanthropy is poised to continue to grow and mobilize community-minded women through leadership and resource development in order to expand its impact on early childhood education.
To learn how you can get involved in Women United of Lake County and to know about the Little Kids, Big Futures Philanthropy Fund Guidelines, please contact our Manager of Women United, Diana Nielander, at Diana.Nielander@uwlakeco.org.
For more information about Women United, visit: www.LIVEUNITEDlakecounty.org/womenunited