Bridging the Divide

Monday, January 23, 2017

Forefront to convene nonprofit and foundation leaders across Illinois to share ideas for building just + equitable communities throughout Illinois. 

“Bridging The Divide,” a new, three-part discussion series hosted by Forefront and local foundation partners, will convene community leaders from across the state to discuss the perceptions and needs of Illinois’ rural, suburban and urban communities.  From these discussions, we hope to collaborate with community leaders to ultimately advance strategies and partnerships that create just and equitable communities throughout Illinois. The “Bridging The Divide” series will begin this month in Springfield, with subsequent events planned for Quincy and Peoria.

“Illinois is a state of very different communities with very different needs,” says Dawn Melchiorre, Forefront’s Vice President of Member Engagement. “We need to learn more about the broad issues facing our communities and how we can work to address them.” 

Sarah Tapscott, Director of Statewide Partnerships for Forefront, agrees. “We need to develop a better understanding of our communities and their individual needs- it’s a critical part of what will move us forward in our statewide work. And to gain that shared understanding we need to get in the same room and talk.”

Through these conversations with Illinois community leaders, Forefront hopes to develop and strengthen relationships between Illinois’ rural, suburban and urban communities. Potential outcomes from these conversations include:

                1. Strategies to address issues facing rural communities

                2. Ability to develop and strengthen new partnerships

                3. Mobilization of constituents and other stakeholders

“These initial conversations are the first piece of a larger process,” says Tapscott. “As we gain insight about the existing needs and community priorities of our different regions, we’d like to partner with local community leaders to address those individual needs. That’s how we build a stronger Illinois.”

Nonprofit and foundation staff and community leaders are encouraged to join us! Please register using the links below. If you have questions, please contact Sarah Tapscott, Director of Statewide Partnerships, at

Springfield (1/25) 

Peoria (2/21)

Quincy (3/15)