The Valuing Difference Awards

APPLICATION DEADLINE EXTENDED! All applications are now due through the application portal on Live Oak’s website no later than 11:59pm on December 31st, 2020. Updated application phases are provided below.

At Live Oak, we recognize the consequences of privilege, oppression, discrimination, and stigma, and therefore practice psychotherapy, consultation, and training that affirms the value of difference. In responding to systems of marginalization, people and communities often cope in ways that magnify feelings of shame, low self-esteem, and disconnection. Our affirmative and inclusive approach is based on an understanding of an integrative change process and therefore provides our clients with opportunities to reduce the disintegrating effects of power and privilege to promote self- actualization, and integration. We emphasize the extent to which growth and connection are enhanced more from our differences than from our similarities.

The Wingspan Project (TWP) is a not for profit 501(c)(3) corporation with a mission to make mental health and related services available to underserved, marginalized, and/or disenfranchised people through organizational and individual capacity building. They are most notably dedicated to supporting services to people who have experienced discrimination and stigma and to those whose identities are particularly vulnerable to systems of oppression.  What makes TWP unique is that the organization does not provide any direct client services.  Instead, TWP is committed to helping individuals and organizations optimize services to underrepresented and underserved communities through a variety of initiatives, including the Valuing Difference Awards.

Graduate Student Award

$2,500 in possible awards.  Each award will be no less than $500/person but no more than $1000/person. 

Eligible Applicants

Students currently enrolled or about to begin graduate programs in any of the following disciplines: Social Work, Clinical Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, Art Therapy, Dance/Movement Therapy, Psychology, or a related field.  The intention of this award is to encourage and support new clinicians who are aligned with the values described above and plan to implement them in their practice.

Community Activism and Achievement Award

$2,500 in possible awards.  Each award will be no less than $500/person but no more than $1000/person. 

Eligible Applicants

Persons actively engaged in community activism, organizing, advocacy, or support.

The intention of this award is to encourage and support activists, organizers, advocates, and other support people who are aligned with the values described above and plan to implement them in their work.

Application Process

APPLICATION DEADLINE EXTENDED! All applications are now due through the application portal on Live Oak’s website no later than 11:59pm on December 31st, 2020. Updated application phases are provided below. Any applicant who is having difficulty submitting their application or has questions about the below timelines is encouraged to contact Audrey Habermann, Valuing Difference Awards Committee Lead, at ahabermann@liveoakchicago.com

Application Phase 1: September 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020

Applicants will submit all of the following materials through the application portal on Live Oak’s website no later than 11:59pm on December 31, 2020

    • Resume, CV, or outline of relevant experience
      • If applicable, applicants are encouraged to provide examples of relevant work by providing portfolios (in PDF format) or links to webpages, videos, news articles, etc. 
    • Position Statement (no more than 3 pages, double spaced) addressing the following prompts:
      • How do your own goals relate to the values that serve as the framework for this award? Please feel free to draw from personal and professional experiences when constructing your response.
      • How will you use the award in a way that is consistent with the values of both Live Oak and The Wingspan Project? 

Application Phase 2: January 1, 2021 – January 22, 2021

All complete applications will be reviewed and final round applicants will be invited to in-person interviews with a panel of representatives from Live Oak and The Wingspan Project. Applicants will be informed of their application status no later than January 22, 2021, and will be provided with the dates of their final round interview to be held in late January and early February 2021. 

Application Phase 3: January 23, 2021 – February 5, 2021

Final round applicants are invited to complete in-person interviews with a panel of representatives from Live Oak and The Wingspan Project. These interviews are intended to allow applicants to more thoroughly describe their previous experience and future personal, professional, and/or activism related goals. Applicants are encouraged to bring any materials with them that would help support their application, if applicable. 

Prior to completing the final interview, applicants will be asked to provide a 2-3 sentence blurb about the focus of their previous or current work, as well as how they plan on utilizing the award if chosen. Additionally, applicants will have their headshots taken during the interview process. These blurbs and headshots will be posted onto the websites for Live Oak and The Wingspan Project to announce the winners of the awards. 

Award Winners Announced: February 8, 2021

All final round applicants will be notified of their application status by Monday, February 8, 2021. Award winners will be posted to the Live Oak and The Wingspan Project websites. 

Award Payments

Due to Illinois state and federal tax laws, all award winners will be issued a 1099 form from The Wingspan Project and all award payments should be reported per appropriate IRS regulations.. In order to complete payment, the award winners will be asked to provide an individual W9 form at the time of the award announcements.