Evanston officials and community leaders celebrate the back-to-school shopping spree with representatives of Target. Submitted photo                                                                                          

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On Aug. 22, through a partnership between Target and United Way’s Neighborhood Network, 100 Evanston school children were given $100 gift cards to shop for school items at Target on Howard Street to help ensure they had essential supplies to start the school year. The children are participants at Family Focus in Evanston, one of 40 agencies that partner with Evanston Cradle to Career, Evanston’s Neighborhood Network engaged with the United Way.

Family Focus nurtures children starting at birth by strengthening families and providing support to families in need. The children who received gift cards are part of the Family Advocacy Center, which works with the Illinois State Department of Children and Family Services, the grandparents raising grandchildren program, and the Illinois State Board of Education Prevention Initiative program.  

The Neighborhood Network initiative is a collaborative effort that attempts to help neighborhoods solve their most pressing problems though collective impact strategies. In Evanston, this initiative is focused on advancing equity to achieve equitable outcomes for the community’s children.

Sheila Merry, Executive Director of Evanston Cradle to Career, said, “We are tremendously grateful to Target and our partnership with the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago for making it possible for Evanston families to benefit from this wonderful opportunity.”