Our Impact

Lake Area United Way goes beyond temporary fixes to create lasting change in communities across Lake County, Indiana and Lansing, Illinois. By bringing people and organizations together around innovative solutions, we impact thousands of lives every year.

Do you believe that every one of us deserves to live in a community that is prospering, safe, clean, educated, united, culturally diverse and inclusive, progressive, and healthy? Do you believe that no child should go hungry and that every senior citizen should be able to grow old with grace and a strong quality of life? Do you believe that hardworking families should do more than just survive? Do you believe that every young person deserves a quality education that prepares them for the future? So do we.

Sadly, our vision for a healthy, vibrant community does not align with our reality today. Right now, many of our neighbors are struggling to make ends meet. Child poverty and hunger are on the rise. Many communities are unsafe and a quality education is not available to all. Our elderly neighbors are living on shoestring budgets and cannot afford basic necessities of life. 

At Lake Area United Way, we believe that thriving communities begin with thriving families. The harsh truth is that one in four hardworking families in Lake County is on the edge of survival. They can’t seem to make ends meet, despite their best efforts. They struggle to afford healthy food, quality childcare, safe housing, and more.

After 18 months of intensive research which included community convening, data review and analysis, environmental scan, donor surveys, and case study analysis, our Lake Area United Way board voted unanimously to focus on the issue of ALICE households in Lake County. ALICE, a United Way acronym which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, represents the growing number of individuals and families who are working, but are unable to afford basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care, and transportation. Through a series of new, standardized measurements, United Way is quantifying the size of the workforce in each state that is struggling financially and the reasons why. These measurements provide a broader picture of financial insecurity than traditional federal poverty guidelines.

In Lake County, ALICE represents 1 in 4 households. These individuals and families are faced with difficult choices daily. Put food on the table or gas in the car? Take a sick child to the doctor or pay the utility bill?

We’re working to change that. Lake Area United Way is taking a bold, new approach to tackling tough challenges facing our community. We’re attacking problems at the root and driving solutions that will make lasting, sustainable change.

We believe one setback should not sink a family into financial ruin. We know every family deserves their fair shake at the American Dream, so we work for equality and justice in our community.

We believe people should have a safety net and a support system so they can get ahead, not just get by.

We believe we’re all in this together. Will you be part of the change?

Lisa Daugherty
President / CEO