According to the Kids Count Data Center, about 180,000 Chicago children live in poverty. Northwestern Dance Marathon is stepping up to help.
NUDM announced Tuesday that it has chosen Cradles to Crayons, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing low-income children with basic supplies free of charge, as its primary beneficiary for 2018.
Cradles to Crayons has been providing children ages 0-12 with items including “clothing, school supplies, toys, and much more” since 2002, first in Boston, then Philadelphia and now in Chicago, according to the organization’s website.
“Right now, poverty in Chicago is an issue that cannot go unaddressed,” said NUDM 2018 Executive Co-Chair Jamie Newman in the press release. “The support that Cradles to Crayons provides is crucial at this exact moment. It is very difficult for children to focus on school and play without pencils to use in school, books to read at home and clothing that makes each child feel confident.”
Having raised over $1 million for its beneficiaries every year for the last seven years, “NUDM is one of the largest independent student-run philanthropies in the country,” according to the release.
“I couldn’t be more excited that Northwestern University students decided to make a transformative difference in the lives of local children living in poverty and crisis situations,” said Bernard Cherkasov, executive director of Cradles to Crayons, in the press release. “For many seasons to come, we’ll be able to reach more kids in more parts of Chicagoland and provide them with books, toys, and clothing – all because Northwestern University Dance Marathoners have chosen to uplift these kids.”
Around 89 percent of the charity’s expenses are spent on its services and programs, according to Charity Navigator, giving it a four star rating from the independent charity evaluating group. Donated items given to Cradles to Crayons go to more than 20 partner organizations across the Chicagoland area, including the Northwestern University Settlement House.
Northwestern students will be able to help out the charity through more than just donations, with on-and off-campus service opportunities planned for the 2017-18 school year, according to the press release.
“The energy, voice, and resources NUDM can provide Cradles to Crayons over the next ten months will jumpstart their growth, allowing them to serve more children, provide more essential items to families, and help relieve the burden of poverty across the Chicagoland area,” said NUDM 2018 Executive Co-chair Daniel Nussbaum in the press release. “I’m excited to work with the Northwestern community to help this amazing organization as it grows its roots in the town we call home.”
The Evanston Community Foundation, an organization that provides grants to various community causes in Evanston, will be NUDM’s secondary beneficiary for the 21st year in a row, the release said.
Cradles to Crayons was chosen unanimously by the entire NUDM Executive Board, according to the release.