The Valuing Difference Awards

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.

Click here for the list of current and previous awardees.


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.  Only students enrolled in a graduate program within the Chicagoland area are eligible to apply. 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 in the Chicagoland area. 

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.

Applications are now closed for the 2020-2021 Valuing Difference Awards. Please check back in Fall of 2021 for information about the 2021-2022 awards application.