About 600 students in Evanston schools will receive financial help to purchase school supplies this year, thanks to a $9,000 grant to the Evanston/Skokie District 65 school system from the Evanston Community Foundation.

The award, known as a “community catalyst grant,” had the effect of supplementing a grant from Foundation 65, the district’s charitable fund.

Community Catalyst grants are small, discretionary grants that allow ECF to respond to needs in the community as they arise. 

The funds were needed due to the disbanding of the Evanston nonprofit Kids and School Supplies (KASS).

When the district learned in early August that the KASS funding would not be forthcoming this year, Assistant Superintendent for Special Services Joyce Bartz and PTA Council President Kristin James scrambled to find funds and set a fund-raising goal of $10,000.

They were aided by a school supply drive conducted by 12 local Starbucks stores and volunteers who helped organize and pack supplies.

Maria Allison, chief strategy officer of District 65, praised the private fundraising effort and noted that nearly 40 percent of the district’s student population qualifies for free and reduced lunch.

“We are very grateful to the Evanston Community Foundation for stepping in to address this pressing need,” she said.

Other supporters to the fund drive included Evanston businesses Maya Papaya & Tony Macarony, Office Depot, United Way, and Verizon Wireless, as well as individual donors.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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