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District 65 awarded
Community Catalyst Grant

August 27, 2014 | ECF Press Release

The Evanston Community Foundation announced the awarding of $9,000 to the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 to provide school supplies for 600 students on free or reduced lunch programs.

The Evanston community rallied to raise $10,000 to provide the supplies.

filling an urgent need

The funds fill an urgent need in the community with the disbanding of the Evanston nonprofit KASS (Kids and School Supplies), and the school year starting Aug. 25.

Upon learning in early August that KASS was no longer providing school supplies, District 65 leaders including Joyce Bartz, Assistant Superintendent for Special Services, and Kristin James, PTA Council President, investigated various options to help subsidize the cost of purchasing supplies for those families in need. They also looked at the amount of supplies provided by KASS in previous years and arrived at the goal of raising $10,000. Together with a school supply drive conducted by 12 local Starbucks stores and volunteers stepping forward to organize and pack supplies, this amount of funding will provide supplies for over 600 students. Other supporters to the District 65 school supply drive included Evanston businesses Maya Papaya & Tony Macarony, Office Depot, United Way, Verizon Wireless, and walk-in donations from residents.

Catalyst_Grant_2014.JPGPictured L to R: Maria Allison, Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Chief Strategy Officer; Joyce Bartz, Assistant Superintendent for Special Services; Kristin James, PTA Council President; and Paul Perry, Special Services Supervisor.

Maria Allison, chief strategy officer of District 65 said, "The Foundation's quick response to this need is just as important as the funds they are providing. Nearly 40 percent of our student population qualifies for free and reduced lunch. For many families, the cost of school supplies is prohibitive, and so students enter school lacking what they need to feel fully prepared. We are very grateful to the Evanston Community Foundation for stepping in to address this pressing need with a grant for $9,000. "

community catalyst grants

Community Catalyst grants are small, discretionary grants that allow ECF a new way to respond to needs in the community as they arise, or advance strategic initiatives throughout the year, to make Evanston stronger. The Foundation's grant of $2,500 was increased to $9,000 thanks to additional grants from five of ECF's donor advised funds.

Sara Schastok, president and CEO of ECF said, "Every year, the Foundation asks community members to invest in Evanston by giving to ECF. What we've been able to do here for 600 public school families who need help speaks volumes as to why this matters. ECF's ability to respond so quickly to an urgent Evanston need would not have been possible without community support."

Marybeth Schroeder, vice president for programs at ECF said, "With these Community Catalyst grants, established in 2013, the Foundation has the capacity to respond to needs that come up between grant cycles. Given the work the Foundation has done on key strategic initiatives like "Every Child Ready for Kindergarten", we couldn't be more pleased to make sure that every child is ready to begin their school year with the tools they need to succeed."

about the foundation

The EVANSTON COMMUNITY FOUNDATION, founded in 1986 with current assets of more than $19 million, helps Evanston thrive now and forever as a vibrant, inclusive, and just community. It builds, connects, and distributes resources and knowledge through local organizations for the common good. The Foundation builds endowments for current and future opportunities, fosters private philanthropy, focuses the impact of collective giving, finds solutions to community challenges, allocates grants, and provides leadership training.