Thanks to grants from the Evanston Community Foundation and Foundation 65, the Evanston/Skokie District 65 school system has met its goal of $10,000 for students in need of financial help to obtain their school supplies for the year that began this week.
A special drive was necessary when the district learned that the nonprofit Kids and School Supplies (KASS) had disbanded and would no longer be providing supplies for students.
“Nearly 40 percent of our student population qualifies for free and reduced lunch,” noted Chief Strategy Officer Maria Allison. “For many families, the cost of school supplies is prohibitive,” she said, “and so students enter school lacking what they need to feel fully prepared.”
So she and Joyce Bartz, assistant superintendent for special services, got together with PTA Council President Kristin James and went after private contributions to raise the $10,000 they felt was needed.
The Evanston Community Foundation contributed $2,500 and raised another $6,500 from five of ECF’s donor-advised funds to come up with a total of $9,000 for one of its Community Catalyst grants.
Meanwhile, the district’s non-profit fundraising group, Foundation 65, enlisted the aid of 12 local Starbucks stores and volunteers to raise the additional $1,000 and to provide manpower needed to organize and pack supplies.
The Starbucks stores hosted school supply drives and allowed patrons to drop off donations at their various locations.
In addition to the grant awards provided by the local foundations, the district also received donations from Maya Papaya & Tony Macarony, Office Depot, United Way, Verizon Wireless, and individual residents of the district.
“It was truly a community effort,” said Allison. “We are grateful for the generosity showed to our students and families by the residents of Evanston and Skokie.”