Forest Preserves of Cook County REDI Committee

2023 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Cook County, Ill., IL

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About the Program

Category: Personnel Management, Employment and Training (Best in Category)

Year: 2023

The Forest Preserves of Cook County protects nearly 70,000 acres of public land within the second most populous county in the nation. Cook County’s size and diversity is a significant strength, but our region is plagued by considerable inequities including unequal access to nature, clean air and water, and outdoor recreation opportunities. The Forest Preserves is committed to promoting an infrastructure and culture that is based on equity and inclusion. Therefore, in 2018 the Forest Preserves formed the Racial, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee (REDI), a group of employees empowered to focus on analyzing and understanding internal agency challenges and barriers to implement solutions based on racial equity. REDI works to restructure internal processes in order to operationalize equity and inclusion. While REDI efforts have included projects related to community engagement, professional development and volunteers, there has been significant emphasis placed on improving human resource processes. The Forest Preserves strives toward equity in its workplace and in its collaborations with partners and communities throughout Cook County. The Forest Preserves acknowledges that the work is ongoing and has pledged to do its part to ensure everyone feels welcome at the forest preserves.