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2017 Good Neighbor Fund donation to center youth initiatives

Northwestern+has+transferred+the+annual+%241+million+from+the+Good+Neighbor+Fund+to+the+city+of+Evanston.+This+year%E2%80%99s+designation+for+that+money+centers+around+youth+initiatives.%0A
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2017 Good Neighbor Fund donation to center youth initiatives

Northwestern has transferred the annual $1 million from the Good Neighbor Fund to the city of Evanston. This year’s designation for that money centers around youth initiatives.

Northwestern has transferred the annual $1 million from the Good Neighbor Fund to the city of Evanston. This year’s designation for that money centers around youth initiatives.

Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Northwestern has transferred the annual $1 million from the Good Neighbor Fund to the city of Evanston. This year’s designation for that money centers around youth initiatives.

Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Northwestern has transferred the annual $1 million from the Good Neighbor Fund to the city of Evanston. This year’s designation for that money centers around youth initiatives.

Julia Esparza, Assistant City Editor

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City manager Wally Bobkiewicz told The Daily on Tuesday that Evanston has received Northwestern’s 2017 Good Neighbor Fund donation, which can now be directed toward implementing youth-centered initiatives.

Roughly two-thirds of this year’s donation has been allocated to supporting youth initiatives in the community through park and facility improvements, job training programs and the Youth and Young Adult division.

Part of a five-year agreement, NU’s $1 million donation in 2017 marked the third year of annual giving. Each year the mayor chooses to put the money toward community projects agreed upon by both city and university officials.

After planning with Evanston’s city manager, Mayor Steve Hagerty said he met with University president Morton Schapiro to discuss this year’s designations. Hagerty said officials choose projects they are unable to fund through the city budget. They often focus on issues affecting youth in Evanston, Hagerty said.

“Youth are the future of Evanston and investing in them will ultimately help our community,” Hagerty said.

The Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services controls many of this year’s projects, including $325,000 worth of Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center improvements and a $100,000 plan to renovate the Harbert Park basketball court.

The department’s director Lawrence Hemingway said these facilities were “not in good shape.” Hemingway’s department submitted proposals to the city at the beginning of the 2017 for these improvements in hopes of providing safe and clean facilities and support youth development, he said.

Hemingway’s department is also in charge of the $100,000 directed toward supporting the city’s Youth and Young Adult Division, which he said helps at-risk youth “overcome barriers that they might face across the spectrum,” including housing, employment and education.

Within that division, an additional $160,000 has been designated to strengthening job training programs for at-risk youth.

“It is important that young people have access to gainful employment because it not only gives them life skills they can carry with them … but also because employment is a deterrent to violence,” he said.

Former mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and Schapiro — who created the Good Neighbor Fund agreement together — allocated last year’s $1 million to Evanston’s at-risk youth programs as well, in addition to police camera implementation and the Sheridan Road construction project.

Hagerty said last year’s funds helped address crime in Evanston and he claimed that there has not been any youth- or gang-related homicides in the city in 2017.

“We are making a coordinated effort to ensure Evanston remains a safe community,” Hagerty said. “The money Tisdahl put into programs are paying dividends.”

Other destinations for this year’s Good Neighbor Fund allocation include $220,000 to the Evanston Fire Department for paramedic services, $70,000 to Evanston Public Library for a full-time social worker and $25,000 for a beautification project at the CTA Union/Pacific viaduct.

Schapiro said in an email to The Daily that this year’s allocations were “excellent choices.”

“One of Northwestern’s key assets is our location in Evanston, a vibrant and thriving community where many of our faculty and staff live,” Schapiro said. “Our partnerships with the City of Evanston and Evanston schools continue to grow, and this contribution demonstrates our commitment to our hometown.”

Hagerty said he did not discuss with Schapiro in any official capacity extending the fund past the initial five years. The fund is set to expire in 2020.

Email: juliainesesparza2020@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @juliaesparza10

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