ARPA funding: an opportunity for Evanston's transformational recovery and rebuilding
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) allocated a $43 million windfall to Evanston. Evanston's vibrant nonprofit organizations and more than 500 community members have come together to help Evanston choose a different approach. The City Council, the Mayor, and City Staff can use this work to move this vision into action with ARPA funds and future projects.
Participant input from the four Town Hall meetings and the seven Roundtables form the basis for the report released to the public in late October, 2021.
building a vision
The goal was to build a vision of using ARPA funds for Evanston's recovery and rebuilding from the COVID pandemic grounded in clear, community-informed directives.
The work began in June when the City of Evanston, with the Evanston Community Foundation, Evanston Cradle to Career, Northwestern University's Office of Neighborhood and Community Relations, and with guidance from Evanston Early Childhood Council and Evanston Latinos, convened three Town Hall Meetings – two in English (virtual and in-person) and the third in Spanish. Three-hundred thirteen Evanston residents participated.
From August through September, the Evanston Community Foundation, Mayor Daniel Biss, and the staff of the City of Evanston partnered to facilitate seven Roundtables, each organized around a sector, a youth Townhall with 34 youth participants, and facilitators, and a survey of more than 55 ETHS students. Prior to the Roundtables, the Evanston Early Childhood Council had convened their own group to set out priorities which are incorporated into this report.
It is important to note that there are still opportunities for listening to incorporate important voices. These include the faith community, healthcare, environmental groups, and business groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the Black Business Consortium of Evanston/North Shore. We urge City officials and staff, civic leaders, nonprofit organizations, and others planning future projects to make use of the information here that came from the incredible resource that is our Evanston community.
The report is organized as follows:
• Executive Summary
• Criteria to use in the decision-making process
• Cross-sector themes for change
• A chart that compares the cross-sector themes with the priority topics covered in each of the seven Roundtables
• Appendices including, a) project recommendations by sector, b) youth survey results, c) priorities put forward by the Evanston Early Childhood Council, d) and a list of roundtable participants.