Restaurants throughout Evanston are joining together for the community’s first Restaurant Week, benefiting the PTA Equity Project, a program created by equity representatives from each of the District 65 schools.

The PTA Equity Project (or PEP) is a collaborative effort across the district to address disparities in PTA fundraising opportunities among schools, which often result in inequitable experiences for students. A detailed study by PEP found some schools were able to fundraise as much as 10 times more than other schools, leading to a significant difference in per-student spending. This first annual restaurant week will help raise funds to support the important enrichment and community-building activities PTAs provide to students and their families.

“For years, people in our district have been having conversations about the noticeable difference in the ability of some of our schools to fundraise compared with other schools. Our committee was formed to explore these inequities and understand the impact they have on the experience of students and teachers across the district,” said Biz Lindsay-Ryan, co-facilitator of PEP and an equity, diversity and inclusion consultant. “While Evanston is not unique in having schools with varied resources, we believe we have the ability to solve this problem with a district-wide commitment to ensuring all students have an equitable experience.”

Now, local restaurants are jumping in to help launch PEP by donating a portion of each dollar spent to PEP during the week of Sept. 24-28. Restaurants include Boltwood, Candlelite, Dengeos, Farmhouse, Firehouse, Flat Top Grill, Found, Herm’s, La Principal, Lucky Platter, Old Neighborhood Grill, Panino’s, and Peckish Pig. Diners should mention they are there in support of the PTA Equity Project to earn 15% to 20% of the cost of their meal donated to the initiative.