On Sept. 8, Evanston’s City Council voted, 8-0, to participate in Evanston’s Cradle to Career Initiative (EC2C) for one year and to provide funding in the amount of $50,000. The City Manager was authorized to work out the details. Future funding would be dependent on City Council’s assessment of EC2C’s progress.

Some Background

The initiative, almost two years in the planning, is built on the premise of “collective impact” – that schools, institutions, community organizations, business groups and others can have a greater impact by working together to address complex social and educational issues, than working alone.

The plan is to address the needs of Evanston youth, starting at birth, in a holistic fashion and to focus on all factors that impact learning, health and social and emotional development. The vision is “By the age of 23, all Evanston young adults will be leading productive lives.”

A steering committee will provide a centralized infrastructure and oversee the initiative. One function of the steering committee is to retain an executive director for the organization. (See accompanying article).

Solution design teams will focus on six areas: literacy, community stability including housing and poverty, mental and physical health and safety, career and postsecondary readiness and parent engagement. Each team will develop goals, a plan of action and metrics of success in their respective areas.

The City Joins EC2C

On May 19 representatives of the EC2C provided an overview of the initiative to City Council, and Council sent the matter to the Human Services Committee for further review.

On May 29, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl provided six recommendations to be considered by the Human Services Committee, as proposed guidelines for the City’s participation in the EC2C. They are 1) that a City Council member serve on EC2C’s Planning Committee; 2) that an alderman be on EC2C’s Steering Committee; 3) that the Steering Committee include at least one person who is in the target population; 4) that EC2C work with Northwestern University to collect data for the initiative; 5) that the City have input on the data to be collected and the metrics for success; and 6) that all data collected be public and accessible to all members of the group.

On June 2, the City’s Human Services Committee unanimously supported the Mayor’s recommendations as appropriate guidelines for the City’s participation in the initiative, and the EC2C Planning Committee subsequently agreed to the recommendations. Many of the items were contemplated in EC2C’s planning documents.

Mayor Tisdahl appointed Fifth Ward Alderman Delores Holmes to serve on the EC2C Planning Committee, and she has worked with the group since the end of June.

Current Partners

According to a memo prepared by Assistant City Manager Joseph McRae, the City will be joining the following organizations which have also committed to the initiative:

City of Evanston – $50,000

School District 65 – $50,000

School District 202 – $50,000

Northwestern University – $25,000*

McGaw YMCA – $10,000

Chidcare Network of Evanston – $5,000

Evanston Community Foundation – $5,000

Peer Services – $5,000

Youth Organization Umbrella – $5,000

YWCA Evanston/North Shore – $ 5,000

Infant Welfare Society – $3,500

Second Baptist Church – $3,500

Evanston Scholars – $500

*NU will also provide data/research support

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...