Equity Fund

2023 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Cook County, Ill., IL

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About the Program

Category: Community and Economic Development (Best in Category)

Year: 2023

In 2020, as part of the fiscal year 2021 budget process and with the support of the Cook County Board, we created the Cook County Equity Fund to invest in specific ways to address the numerous structural barriers that have prevented the meaningful advancement of equity across our county. The Cook County Equity Fund also demonstrates that racial equity is more than an aspirational goal – we put our money where our mouth is by investing in systems-level change. With the creation of the Equity Fund, we also brought together external stakeholders as the Cook County Equity Fund Taskforce to provide recommendations for how to allocate the investments. Through the Cook County Equity Fund, the Office of the President aims to: 1. Address historic and continued disinvestment and resulting inequities that have negatively impacted residents who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC); 2. Fundamentally shift how Cook County uses grantmaking; and 3. Incorporate service providers, advocates, and residents in resource allocation. More than two years later, we have made progress on Cook County Equity Fund priorities, and we are proud to share this as an innovative model for how counties can address longstanding, structural issues experienced by their residents.