LIFT-Chicago Continues Work with Evanston

By LIFT on June 7, 2013

Categories: Our Work

LIFT-Chicago continues to maintain its longstanding relationship with the Evanston community. Currently, a robust cohort of volunteer advocates from Northwestern University (NU) serves low income adults and families at LIFT-Chicago’s flagship office in Uptown. Many of these volunteer advocates utilize NU shuttle vans to commute to and from the LIFT office.

You can hear more about the LIFT experience when you listen to NU student leader, Serena Walker, speak in our volunteer summit video. LIFT maintains an active presence on NU’s campus where it is a registered student group, conducts on campus trainings, leads Poverty Awareness Week activities and partners with multiple campus organizations including NU’s Center for Civic Engagement, Norris Center for Student Involvement, and Sigma Chi Fraternity. LIFT also recently hosted a site visit with NU students enrolled in a philanthropy course in the School of Education and Public Policy.

NU President Morty Schapiro recently commended LIFT-Chicago for its meaningful work.

(President Schapiro and LIFT-Chicago Executive Director Ben Reuler at a City Club of Chicago luncheon).

Many Evanston residents regularly visit LIFT-Chicago’s Uptown office to work on their goals. LIFT partners with Evanston service providers to ensure that case managers and social workers in Evanston know that they can refer clients to LIFT. Our Site Coordinators have had meetings in recent months with representatives from Connections for the Homeless and Erie Health Center in Evanston. LIFT-Chicago client “Barbara” is an Evanston resident who was referred to LIFT through Connections for the Homeless. Barbara started coming to LIFT this past winter and has been enthusiastically working with her advocate Breana on her goals regarding employment and is obtaining free eye glasses. Furthermore LIFT’s former co-locator in Evanston, Faith Temple Church of God in Christ, continues to refer families in need to LIFT-Chicago. LIFT has committed to remaining active in the Evanston Workforce Developer’s Convener’s Meeting (organized by the Youth Job Center of Evanston) and the Evanston Partners Meeting (organized by National Able Network). Additionally, LIFT plans to attend Local Advisory Network meetings in Evanston and work with our longtime allies in the community, like Pam McKenzie from the McGaw YMCA who has been a regular speaker at LIFT volunteer trainings.

LIFT formerly operated a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site in Evanston; after merging our Evanston office with our newly expanded Uptown office in 2012 LIFT reached out to the renowned Center for Economic Progress (CEP) to ensure that there would be no gap in services for eligible Evanston families seeking free tax preparation support. LIFT-Chicago’s Executive Director connected CEP to our community partners in Evanston; the outcome was that CEP operated a mobile tax clinic at the YWCA Evanston/North Shore during the 2013 tax season.

As LIFT-Chicago’s flagship center in Uptown serves as a bridge to the North Shore, so do our employees and supporters. Our Director of Programs, Sol Anderson, is an Evanston resident and currently sits on the board of the Childcare Network of Evanston and NU’s Center for Civic Engagement, and is a former board member of PeaceAble Cities – Evanston. Sol is also a coach with the Fellowship of Afro-American Men (aka FAAM) basketball league in Evanston. Another Evanston ally has been Steve Mangan, Sodexo’s Resident District Manager for NU’s NuCuisine program. Steve sits on the Regional Advisory Board of LIFT-Chicago and has been a valuable thought partner and leader, helping connect LIFT-Chicago to people and companies interested in helping address the issue of poverty in our community. Under Steve’s stewardship Sodexo has also been a lead sponsor of LIFT-Chicago events by donating in-kind the amazing catering and cuisine found in Evanston.

LIFT also receives strong support from the Kenilworth community, just North of Evanston. Kenilworth Union Church and Kenilworth United Fund are anchor funders for LIFT-Chicago, and many individual families in Kenilworth support LIFT-Chicago as donors, event host committee members and regional board members.