Evanston launches shopping campaign to benefit nonprofits

Cat Zakrzewski, Assistant Summer Editor

A coalition of nonprofit organizations earlier this week kicked off their second annual campaign to fund employment training programs through support of Evanston businesses.

Titled “Evanston Works Together: 4 Tuesdays in August,” the campaign encourages residents to shop Tuesdays in August at stores that donate 5 percent of their profits to the programs. Connections for the Homeless, YWCA Evanston and North Shore and Youth Job Center will run the programing funded by the campaign.

“It’s mutually beneficial,” said John Flannery, Connections for the Homeless spokesman. “It’s a really great way to showcase the really rich local small business economy that Evanston has. … It works well for both groups.”

Last year, the campaign had three sponsors and 28 stores and restaurants participating. This year, it has six sponsors and 44 retailers, almost double the involvement.

“It was a success last year, and we wanted to see how much further we could go with it,” Flannery said.

Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl endorsed the program at a news conference Monday. She said it contributes to three priorities she outlined with aldermen last week — increasing economic development, aiding at-risk families and controlling the city’s debt. She noted the campaign also connects with the goals set by the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness last spring.

“The agencies that are driving Evanston Works Together are focused on accomplishing this and working with the business community to do so,” Tisdahl said.

— Cat Zakrzewski