Story: Jim Gorter
Jim Gorter believes “improving our education system is the single biggest need facing our country today” but he’s hopeful about what’s happening in North Chicago schools. Eight years ago, the Gorter Family Foundation (GFF) decided to concentrate its philanthropic efforts in Lake County. A comprehensive survey taken at that time showed that not-for-profit organizations in Lake County were struggling to meet the significant and growing needs of communities in the county’s northern and western corners. To help address the challenges of poverty and inequity GFF has redirected much of its philanthropy to Lake County and adopted the slogan “Look North,” with the hope of encouraging others to do the same. Although the Gorter Family Foundation supports a variety of organizations and initiatives in Lake County, its focus is on education and, more specifically, education in North Chicago. In 2008, GFF made a long-term commitment to the children and families of North Chicago and demonstrated their belief in the venture philanthropy model by providing seed capital for a new operating foundation, North Chicago Community Partners. Since then, the Gorter Family Foundation has directly invested or secured from others close to $7.5 million to support education in North Chicago, and NCCP has grown from a well-intentioned idea into a vibrant organization that has forged a deep and thoughtful district-wide partnership with North Chicago Community Unit School District 187.