Youth Organizations Umbrella raised over $250,000 at its annual benefit Saturday that drew more than 300 people to the Evanston Golf Club.

Funds raised will help sustain Y.O.U.’s programs at Washington and Oakton elementary schools when federal funding ends this year.

Y.O.U. outreach worker Antasia Maddox kicked off the evening by recognizing ETHS seniors Cristal Hernando, Tyler Dixon and Shaquerra Blackwell for their growth and community contributions as the Richard and Katherine Art Youth Award finalists.

Hernando thanked her family and Y.O.U. for helping her grow, find her voice and become more involved in community projects such as the Filmmakers group that was nationally recognized for its anti-violence PSA.

United Way of North-Northwest received the Todd and Lora Wheeler Award for its transformative support of Y.O.U.’s Partnership for Middle School Success, which annually empowers over 300 youth and their families to succeed in middle school and enter high school ready to thrive.

Executive Director Seth Green said, “We are truly grateful to have such loyal and committed supporters, and we are all absolutely thrilled for how this support will allow us to empower even more youth in the year ahead.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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