Street improvements, paramedic services, youth job training and a fund for families impacted by crime are among the projects and services that will be funded by a $1 million donation from Northwestern University to the City of Evanston’s Good Neighbor Fund.

Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and Northwestern President Morton Schapiro today announced details of how the money will be allocated.

In March 2015, Northwestern agreed to donate $1 million annually to the City of Evanston for a period of five years, with proceeds to be spent on projects and services jointly agreed upon by Mayor Tisdahl and President Schapiro.

Every year on July 1, the mayor of Evanston presents the list of eligible projects and services to the Northwestern president, and the two come to an agreement on what will be funded for the 12-month period beginning Sept. 1. The first $1 million allocation to the city was announced last October.

This year, Mayor Tisdahl and President Schapiro agreed to the following allocation:

  • $500,000 for the Sheridan Road improvement project, including new bike lanes. Sheridan Road will be rebuilt from the south end of Northwestern University’s campus at Chicago Avenue north to Lincoln Street in 2017, including the addition of a two-way protected bike lane on the east side of the street. The portion of Sheridan Road north of Lincoln Street will be rebuilt in 2018. On Chicago Avenue, bike lanes will be added from Davis Street to Sheridan Road, connecting the entire project to the one-way protected bike lanes on Davis Street and Church Street.
  • $180,000 to support the Evanston Fire Department paramedics.
  • $160,000 to support existing at-risk youth job training programs.
  • $100,000 to support Evanston’s Youth and Young Adult Division. This allocation will cover the salary of two of the five existing full-time outreach workers.
  • $30,000 to support additional police safety cameras in the community.
  • $30,000 to support the mayor’s discretionary fund to assist families impacted by violent crime

“Evanston is where we work and where many of us live and send our children to school,” President Schapiro said. “We love this community, and we are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Mayor Tisdahl, a great leader of a great city, on some important priorities.”

“Northwestern is a great neighbor, and we thank President Schapiro, in particular, for supporting our community with this generous donation,” Mayor Tisdahl said. “We already are seeing outcomes that are making a difference.”

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  1. NU President Schapiro,

    NU President Schapiro,

    ​Thank you for your generous gift to the City of Evanston. Even without this gift, Northwestern U. has been a good neighbor.


    1. NU Good Neighbor-HA!

      NU owes the city of Evanston millions more….including back taxes for the more than 150(+) years where it paid nothing!

      1. Maybe then the city [more specifically homeowners] pay NU
        NU was originally granted the land to Asbury and Central. Should NU take that back ? For all the other property NU owned that they gave back to the city and where now property tax is paid.
        It was the state that gave NU tax free status—for property tax. They and students pay many other taxes.

    2. NU gift

      That is fabulous! My grandfather, who was a Dean there and lived in Evanston, would love it!

  2. Thank you!

    As a proud NU alum who has made a wonderful life in the City of Evanston, I am grateful for this partnership.

  3. Evanston pays a high price for NU development

    Good neighbor? NU's rampant development has pretty much ruined Clark Street Beach and now Lighthouse Beach, where there is now a wall of high rises, where our view is ugly sides of walls, and where we used to have a incredible natural feeling beach. There was no regard for Evanston in these plans. In their 50 year development plan, their building strategy was to push the parking lots and urban buildings "to the gateways" of campus as to not blight their core campus and so they could add more green space. Thus, these are pushed on us. Their campus looks better all the time, our city looks worse. Their new seven story dorm on Lincoln has now urbanized a beautiful neighborhood and they want to build another 3 building version of this across from Clark Street beach. NU is buying up houses in NE Evanston near Orrington school. Meanwhile, we want real neighbors and kids going to our schools. And how can this money, which most of it used for NU's portion of Sheridan Road, even begin to cover the extra burden Evanston has to pay for providing services to at least 6 new high rise buildings. For the real neighbors over here, it feels pretty hopeless.

  4. Time to challenge Northwestern to pay property taxes

    Northwestern is hardly a good neighbor.

    Consider that two years ago Princeton University agreed after immense local pressure to pay the town of Princeton $21.7 million over seven years to help cover the cost of local government and other services. Tax exempt NU is giving us $1 million? Sheesh. Unimpressed.

    Meanwhile, Princeton University in January in a long fight against a nearly five-year-old lawsuit which challenges their tax-exempt status lost another battle in court.

    An appeals court upheld a November decision made by Tax Court Judge Vito Bianco, which stated the burden of proof in the lawsuit falls to the university to demonstrate why they should remain free from paying property taxes. The case is ongoing.

    Wouldn't it be nice if our mayor and other activists went to battle with Northwestern and forced them to show in court why they should remain free of paying property taxes with an $11 billion endowment. Yes, I wrote BILLION!!!

    My sense is too many of our local leaders are too connected with Northwestern to make such a challenge. Again, it's up to the voters to do something.

    1. Case settled

      Hi Al,

      Princeton settled the case out of court late last week, agreeing to make payments somewhat larger than, but conceptually not unlike, what NU has been doing here.

      See the stories in Planet Princeton and and the Princeton Packet.

      Also notable in those stories is the fact that a group of private citizens — not the municipality — filed the tax court case against the university.

      — Bill

      1. There’s a movement afoot
        True, Princeton University agreed to pay more than $18 million in the settlement on top of the voluntary payments of about $3 million a year under a $24-million agreement, reached in 2014, that was set to expire in 2020..There’s a claw back provision, allowing someone else to challenge the university’s tax exempt status in court. That seems a heckuva lot more than what Northwestern is paying.

        Meanwhile, in Connecticut, lawmakers are to consider a plan to tax property owned by Yale University. In Maine, Republican Governor Paul LePage last year proposed allowing municipalities to extract taxes from non-profits. Two Congressional committees are interested in the tax status of private schools, and earlier this year asked the 56 richest schools a series of questions about their endowments.

    2. Endowments again

      Remember Princeton has eight times the endowment per student that NU has.  So maybe they can do things NU can't.  Also NU, being in Evanston, has many challenges that Princeton does not, like crime/security, students protesting everything they can thiink of and wanting administration for every "need."  , 

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