Paramedics, Jobs, and Parks benefit from NU's 2020 Good Neighbor Fund; Now, Let's Talk NU and Reparations

November 20, 2019

In a news release yesterday, Mayor Steve Hagerty and Northwestern University President Morton "Morty" Schapiro detail projects and services funded by Northwestern's $1 million contribution.

 

Support for paramedic services, job training programs and park improvements, including the creation of a new dog park, are among the services and projects that will be funded by this year’s donation from Northwestern to the City of Evanston.

 

This is the fifth consecutive year that Northwestern has donated $1 million to the City’s fund. In March 2015, Northwestern agreed to contribute $1 million annually to the City for a period of five years, with proceeds to be spent on projects and services jointly agreed upon by the mayor of Evanston and Northwestern University’s president.

 

This year, Mayor Hagerty and President Schapiro agreed to the following allocation:

 

-- $250,000 to support Evanston Fire Department paramedic services

-- $150,000 to support Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center interior improvements

-- $135,000 to support existing job training programs

-- $100,000 for youth outreach programs, which will cover the salaries of two of the five existing full-time outreach workers

-- $85,000 to fund the creation of a new dog park

-- $85,000 to fund improvements to McCulloch Park

-- $80,000 to support the career coordinator position for the Elevate Evanston workforce development initiative

-- $70,000 to support the full-time social worker position at the Evanston Public Library

-- $45,000 to support Climate Action and Resilience Plan initiatives

 

"From enhancing job training programs, to improving our parks, to supporting the City's climate action efforts, the projects funded by this year's Good Neighbor Fund allocation will have a direct and positive impact on the quality of life for all who live, work and play in Evanston," said Mayor Hagerty.

 

“For Northwestern to thrive, Evanston must thrive,” President Schapiro said. “That’s the idea behind our Good Neighbors Fund. It’s an honor for us to play a role in providing programs and services that make Evanston one of the most remarkable communities in the nation.”

 

Projects and services selected for this year’s Good Neighbor Fund allocation will be funded for the 12-month period beginning January 1, 2020.

 

Next year, Mayor Hagerty and President Schapiro will meet to discuss the future of the Good Neighbor Fund as well as other opportunities for collaboration and partnership.

 

MY TAKE:

 

In addition to continuing the Good Neighbor Fund in the future, Northwestern University should write a check for $10 million to the City's newly established Reparations fund.

 

That fund allows individuals, family foundations, religious institutions, and other institutions to make a tax-exempt donation to support Evanston reparations (yes, all of us!) -- to complement the City's budget allocation of $1 million per year over 10 years. That 10-year goal was established in a resolution recently passed by City Council.

 

Robin Rue Simmons 5th Ward Alderman, who's leading the charge for reparations in Evanston (along with Cicely L. Fleming, 9th Ward Alderwoman and Ald. Ann Rainey, 8th) readily acknowledges that that amount isn't close to what's owed Evanston's Black community.

 

Given Northwestern's own history of racism and discrimination--like many other

 

northern Universities, it was only officially integrated starting in 1965--the University should generously support the City's efforts toward reparations.

 

You can read a fascinating history about systemic racism at Northwestern (and other northern universities) and the May 3, 1968 student takeover of NU's Bursar's Office in Jenny Thompson's new book, "The Takeover 1968: Student Protest, Campus Politics, and Black Student Activism at Northwestern University."

 

Thompson is Director of Education at the Evanston History Center.

 

“For Northwestern to thrive, Evanston must thrive,” said President Schapiro yesterday.

I'll add: for Evanston to thrive, its Black community must thrive.


If YOU want to be a good neighbor, you can (should) contribute to the fund. Send your check, made payable to:

 

City of Evanston
Memo: Reparations Fund “Solutions Only”

 

to:

 

Lorraine Morton Civic Center
2100 Ridge Ave
Evanston IL 60201
Attn: Reparations Fund

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