North Chicago Community Partners

North Chicago Community Partners is the hallmark organization of the Gorter Family Foundation’s “Look North” motto, as well as a textbook example of its venture philanthropy model.

In 20Logo with North Chicago Community Partners(1)-108, after GFF recognized a significant lack of support for academic challenges in the North Chicago community (an under resourced community just north of some of the state’s wealthiest communities), Mary Gorter Krey and Jennifer Grumhaus pursued a partnership with North Chicago Community Unit School District 187. When a thoughtful partnership was established, GFF made a long-term commitment to the children and families in the community and provided $20,000 in seed funding for NCCP.

NCCP started as a private operating foundation with two employees. Today, it’s a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with more than 40 employees, 3,000 volunteers, 50 partner organizations and a $2 million budget. The nonprofit’s role has expanded far beyond its initial design and implementation in large part due to its unique community school model.

NCCP focuses on the whole child and the whole family by working with the entire community—strategic partners, local agencies, school districts, businesses, volunteers and residents—to offer an extended web of programs and services inside and outside of school. NCCP provides support in the following focus areas:

Extended Learning, Enrichment and Family Engagement Opportunities

  • Quiet Zone and Fun with Books lunchtime opportunities
  • Homework Club
  • Afterschool and Saturday Enrichment Programs
  • Summer Learning
  • Family Nights

Student and Family Health, Wellness and Care

  • Student and Family Care Closets to meet basic clothing, hygiene, school supply and food needs
  • Weekend Backpacks filled with food
  • Wellness Initiatives and Family Health and Wellness Open Houses
  • Pop-Up Clinics for vaccinations, physicals, hearing and vision screenings

Strategic Partners and Individual Volunteer Engagement

  • Collaborate with more than 50 organizations
  • 3,000 volunteers tutor and mentor students, provide learning and enrichment opportunities, transform school facilities, support the teachers and staff, and help meet the needs of students and families

District Logistical and Operational Support and Strategic Community Initiatives

  • District-level strategic planning and operational support
  • Facility maintenance, improvements and renovation projects

As one teacher noted in a year-end assessment, “the two most valuable outcomes of the collaboration (with NCCP) are student improvement and a true sense of community. When teachers, families and the community come together, student achievement is deeply impacted.”

NCCP is helping bridge the low-income achievement gap in North Chicago and strengthen the community through its schools. The organization holds an impressive list of accomplishments from its 10+ years of service, including:

  • Free, all-day early childhood education for more than 275 students
  • After school and Saturday programming at no cost to the school district or families
  • Construction of a health center at North Chicago Community High School
  • Higher attendance rates, lower behavior referrals and an increase in academic interest and progress for students who participate in NCCP programming

GFF has been committed to NCCP from the beginning and grants funds to the organization yearly as it continues to “Look North.”