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HCS Family Services: Leadership Development

First Nonprofit Foundation awarded $18,000 to HCS Family Services (HCS) to support leadership development for the Willowbrook Corners Coalition in Willowbrook, Illinois.

The coalition was formed to coordinate services that are currently provided by several community agencies without any overall plan. The coalition’s executive committee is exploring the possibility of constructing an outreach center for education/training, food needs and other social services. In cooperation with a leadership development group sanctioned by the United Way of Chicago, the committee will create a shared vision in the community, assess current reality, explore the possibilities of constructing a new center and create an action plan. The planning consultants, in cooperation with HCS and the United Way, will work with the coalition’s executive and general committees. The deliverable will be a solid plan to create a senior level outreach center committee including funders, business executives, educators and foundation leaders.  This committee will exist for 3 years to raise the funding necessary to build an outreach center in Willowbrook.

The committee will record the training process to create a planning guide for other social service agencies seeking a coordinated approach to community social service, education, and food needs. The committee will distribute the guide locally and nationally through publications, speaking engagements and the Internet.

Last year, HCS served over 24,000 individuals and 12,000 are from the Willowbrook community. HCS Family Services serves high need areas in DuPage County, Illinois. Our focus over the past two years is to build a high performing community coalition team that can provide residents with the services they need to function in their changing environment. The area selected is an apartment complex of 1,500 apartments that only accepts DuPage County Section 8 Vouchers.

Knowing that the residents need specialized services and programs, a leadership coalition was established to coordinate communication to other social service agencies and the residents. Several programs have been very successful but the coalition lacks a clear long term goal and methods to move forward. The funding received from First Nonprofit Foundation will be devoted to creating high/capacity attitude leadership teams.


$18,000

Awarded

Mission Statement

The mission of HCS is to prevent homelessness and food insecurity by helping low-income individuals achieve their dreams of sustained economic self-sufficiency and create an improved quality of life for themselves and their families. HCS seeks to empower individuals to reach their goals through case management, education and advocacy.

Our self-sufficiency efforts focus on four areas: family strengthening; guidance support and advocacy; education and career development; and practical assistance and resources.

Organization History

HCS began in 1926 and was incorporated in 1937 as a not-for-profit charitable association. For over 75 years, HCS has been serving residents of Southeastern Du Page County. From its inception, HCS provided a lifeline to our neighbors in need with the goal of preventing homelessness. The lifeline included many types of services directed at keeping our clients in their homes.

We discovered from the very beginning that the majority of our neighbors in need aren’t looking for a handout, but are looking for short-term solutions to their problems. There is no easy solution for many of our neighbors in need. They need jobs, a livable wage, affordable housing, public transportation, access to healthcare and an opportunity to try to do better.  As a way of addressing these needs, HCS recently began its Elites program, a program aimed at educating each person in life skills.