The Lake County Community Foundation Hosts "Engage Lake County: A Community Conversation to Inspire Action" In Observance of National Poverty Awareness Month

  • Nationally acclaimed author, speaker and consultant Paul Schmitz will inspire local leaders at "Engage Lake County" on January 16

    Nationally acclaimed author, speaker and consultant Paul Schmitz will inspire local leaders at "Engage Lake County" on January 16

Updated 12/20/2019 10:31 AM

For some, Lake County, Illinois is synonymous with the affluent suburbs of Chicago's North Shore, yet this is a far cry from the reality that many of the communities that make up this area face. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 9% of the population in Lake County lives below the poverty line. In Waukegan, where The Lake County Community Foundation is headquartered, the poverty rate is almost 18% and in neighboring North Chicago, it reaches more than 23%.

In an effort to raise awareness of this devastating issue during National Poverty Awareness Month and in recognition of Lake County Poverty Awareness Day on Jan. 23, The Lake County Community Foundation (LCCF), in partnership with University Center of Lake County , College of Lake County, and William Blair, is hosting Engage Lake County: A Community Conversation to Inspire Action. Taking place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16, at the University Center (1200 University Center Drive, Grayslake), LCCF and partners will welcome nationally acclaimed author of "Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up," Paul Schmitz as the keynote speaker. Attendees will leave the event with a new perspective on need in the county, as well as an opportunity to find ways to get involved and improve life for our most vulnerable neighbors during a volunteer fair featuring local nonprofits.


"The suburbanization of poverty is happening all around us and is something that communities are struggling with right here in Lake County," says Maggie Morales, Executive Director of LCCF. "Through this event, LCCF is continuing its efforts to bring attention to poverty in Lake County and identify ways each of us can take action to change our communities. With Paul Schmitz leading this important conversation, attendees will undoubtedly be inspired to transform their intentions into actions."

Paul Schmitz is an author, speaker, trainer, and consultant whose work focuses on leadership development, collaborative culture, racial equity, community engagement, and result-based strategies. In his roles as Senior Advisor at The Collective Impact Forum and CEO of Leading Inside Out, Schmitz builds the collective leadership of organizations and communities to achieve greater social impact. Schmitz is a faculty member of The Asset-Based Community Development Institute, was a social innovation advisor to the Obama White House, and has been named three separate years to The Nonprofit Times list of the 50 most influential nonprofit leaders in America.

Schmitz's book, "Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up" (Jossey Bass, 2011), is based on lessons learned from 21 years leading Public Allies, an innovative leadership development program that helped more than 5,000 passionate and diverse young leaders across the country begin careers working for community and social change. Schmitz will draw from his book during the Engage Lake County event and explore a new definition of 'leadership,' which highlights everyone's ability to harness his/her leadership potential and turn it into action.

In addition to Schmitz's keynote address, the event will feature a meet and greet with the author, a book signing, and the volunteer fair for participants interested in making a difference in their own communities. For individuals who live, learn, work or play in Lake County, Engage Lake County: A Community Conversation to Inspire Action will offer inspiration, as well as a multitude of opportunities to get involved and make the community a better place for all!

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The event is open to the public. Tickets are $20 for a single ticket, or $35 for two and include Schmitz's discussion, entry into the volunteer fair, drinks and light appetizers. For more information about the event or to register, visit, email Emily at or call 847-377-0520.

Please note, this event is intended for people who live or work in Lake County and are interested in learning more about how they can become involved in their community. To ensure that our nonprofit community partners are able to participate in this important conversation, we are offering a special discounted nonprofit rate, which provides access to an overflow seating area where Schmitz's presentation will be televised. Non-profit partners interested in attending can purchase their discounted ticket


The Lake County Community Foundation (LCCF), an affiliate of The Chicago Community Trust, brings together philanthropists and donors, dollars and ideas to build permanent funds to benefit Lake County, Illinois -- today and for generations to come. Since 2003, LCCF has grown to $13.5 million in assets, and has served as a catalyst for generosity and change; a connector of people and organizations; and as the permanent steward of charitable funds dedicated improving the lives of the most vulnerable residents of Lake County.

LCCF has awarded grants totaling $5.5 million to 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. 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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