Upcoming Kit Distributions to Military Families

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Partnerships with the USO &

Operation Homefront Make It Work

Summer is our busiest season, and this year is looking to be no different. We have a record number of kit distributions lined up in an effort to give out thousands of our signature kits to military families. They include:

  • July 20 – Milan National Guard Armory

  • July 20 – Mt. Vernon Readiness Center

  • July 20 – Marion National Guard Armory

  • July 27– Scott Air Force Base (Belleville)

  • August 2 & 3 – Great Lakes Naval Station

  • August 2 & 3 – Camp Lincoln (Springfield)

  • August 3 & 4 – Springfield 178th Air Wing

  • August 4 – Peoria 182 Airlift Wing Barton

  • August 11 – North Riverside National Guard Armory

  • August 11 – Joliet Armory National Guard Armory

These distributions are a part of our ongoing partnership with Operation Homefront, which serves military families. We couldn’t be more thrilled to provide our signature kits to the children of those who put their lives on the line defending our country.

For more information on Operation Homefront, click here.

Over 60+ Deloitte Employees Participate in Their 5th Build-A-Kit

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2,000 B2SI Kits Assembled

On Friday, June 7, dozens of Chicago-based Deloitte employees volunteered to participate in one of our biggest Build-A-Kit events of the year: assembling 2,000 of our signature kits. This was a part of Deloitte’s Global #ImpactThatMatters day, where employees around the world dedicate a day of service to helping nonprofits in countries everywhere.

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The Build-A-Kit was held at the Irving Park YMCA. It was an immense task to unload 11 pallets with over 60,000 school supplies, which then needed to be unpacked, sorted, and placed into kit boxes before being put into cartons.

Half of the kits were divided up among area YMCAs: Irving Park, McCormick and Latoff. The other 1,000 kits were picked up by the National Guard, which will be distributed to military families at bases this summer through our partnership with Operation Homefront.

Deloitte employees worked together to accomplish assembling an impressive 2,000 kits. As a result of their hard work, 2,000 more needy children will be heading to school this fall with the tools they need for a successful school year.

Another Successful Kickoff Event!

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B2SI Hosts Annual Gala 

On May 2, we returned to Galleria Marchetti for our annual gala. It was an exciting evening with many new elements designed to enhance the experience of the 250+ guests in attendance.
 
The festivities kicked off with our guests having their pictures taken at our “step and repeat” before entering the cocktail reception, which featured an open bar, passed hors d'oeuvres, expanded silent auction, wine pull and photo booth. 

We were delighted to have Marley Kayden, co-host of “Chicago’s Best” on WGN-TV, back as our emcee for the dinner and program portion of the evening.

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The program was filled with many highlights including a speech from Nicole Robinson, a teacher at the Academy for Urban School Leadership, titled “Agents of the Future: Empowering Today’s Youth.” We also handed out 8 college scholarships to some amazing young high school seniors. Two emotional videos were shown, one with teachers speaking on the impact of the Back 2 School program and how its continued growth has helped so many children in their schools, and another video of students thanking B2SI for their Back 2 School kits. 

2019 College Scholarship winners:

  • Maggie Hollerman (DePaul College Prep High School) – To attend the University of Illinois, Marquette or Loyola University 

  • Justin Powell (Walter Payton College Prep High School) – To attend the University of Southern California 

  • Brandon Lee (New Trier High School) Attending Yale or Princeton University 

  • Gabriel Laniewski (Whitney M. Young Magnet High School) – To attend Princeton University 

  • Kendyll Cole (Lindblom Math and Science Academy) – To attend Carnegie Mellon University 

  • Destiny Coleman (Lindblom Math and Science Academy) – To attend the University of Illinois 

  • Priscilla Kwan (Whitney M. Young Magnet High School) – To attend the University of Illinois 

  • Ashley Martinez (Rauner College Prep) – To attend Lafayette College or the University of Michigan 

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B2SI CEO Matthew Kurtzman’s addressed everyone and spoke on the future of the organization and the continued expansion of Back 2 School America.
 
Developing and executing an event of this size is a huge undertaking. Thank you to all the volunteers and staff for their tremendous work, and a special thank-you to Marci Adilman, Albert Ellenich, Hilary’s Cookies, Allan Kurtzman, Anne Kurtzman and Jeffrey Salzgeber – The Radiant Group. 
 
We are also grateful for our 30+ sponsors of the 2019 Back 2 School program including our Presenting/Founding Sponsor: the Community Currency Exchange Association of Illinois; Diamond Sponsors: Fifth Third Bank, Western Union Foundation and Wells Fargo; and our Platinum Sponsors: Republic Bank, NBC/Comcast/Universal, Electronic License Service, CA Ventures, Community Financial Service Centers, Kits for Kidz and CIBC.

To view the videos shown at the gala, please follow the links below:

Teacher’s Testimony Video
Students Say Thank You Video

To view all the photos from the dinner, click here

If you were unable to attend but would like to show your support and help us provide even more children from low-income households with school supplies this year, you can make a donation here.

‘Win School Supplies for an Entire School’ Contest Launch

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Deadline to Apply: August 1

Do you have a Chicago-area school in mind that you would like to nominate to win school supplies for their ENTIRE student body? Our “Win School Supplies for an Entire School” contest launched on April 1 and is open for nominations. Every year, we choose two Chicago schools to win based on their nominations, which means that every child at the winning schools receives their own Back 2 School kit loaded with the core supplies they need to be successful. 

Anyone can nominate a Chicago school and there is no limit to how many times a school can be nominated. Whether you are a parent, community leader, concerned citizen, student member or faculty, you can nominate a school. 

The deadline to submit applications is August 1, 2019. Students will be surprised with their Back 2 School kits during the first week of fall 2019 classes. 

To download the application or apply directly online, please click here

Another Successful Year for Back 2 School Illinois

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35,233 Children Received A Back 2 School Kit

2018 was another spectacular year for Back 2 School Illinois! We were fortunate enough to distribute over 1,050,000 school supplies to 35,233 children, children from families that struggle financially. As a result, these kids were able to do their school work and feel good about themselves. All of this was made possible by our amazing stakeholders. Without the ongoing support from companies and individuals, none of this would be possible, and no words can express our gratitude.

We want to share with you the recap of our 2018 Back 2 School program, which includes summaries of distributions, photos, press releases, newsletters, media coverage, thank you letters and much more.

We hope that you will take the time to browse through this online version and see all the amazing things we accomplished in 2018. To view, click here.

Filling Kits, Filling Hearts This Holiday Season

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Countdown to Education

On November 1, we launched our second holiday fundraising campaign to increase the number of Back 2 School kits we distribute during the season of giving. The campaign, which will run through the end of the year was featured in an interview on Tasty Trade Chicago by CEO Matthew Kurtzman.

The holiday season has become a busier time of the year for the organization and our goal is to distribute 5,000 kits to 5,000 underserved children. 

One of the many benefits of giving out kits during this time of year is that parents who can’t afford Christmas gifts can use our kit as a gift to go under the tree.

With additional donations, Back 2 School Illinois hopes to add more kits to the end of year distributions. Donating $15 puts a signature Back 2 School kit in the hands of a child in need. Help us reach our goal of 5,000 kits and donate today: www.b2si.org/holiday

A little donation can make a big difference:

$15: Provides school supply kit to 1 Illinois student for the new year
$30: Provides school supply kits to 2 Illinois students for the new year
$75: Provides school supply kits to 5 Illinois students for the new year
$120: Provides school supply kits to 8 Illinois students for the new year
$300: Provides school supply kits to 20 Illinois students for the new year

Upcoming December distribution events include:

  • December 1 - Bartonville Air Wing, Peoria

  • December 2 - Camp Duncan YMCA, Ingleside 

  • December 8 - DCFS Holiday Party, Kroc Center 

  • December 9 – 183rd Wing, Springfield 

  • December 10 - Rock Island Holiday Party  

  • December (TBD) – YWCA Chicago

  • December (TBD) – Youth Hope Moline

  • December (TBD) – Youth Hope Rock Island

Chicago Chapter of the University of Kentucky Alumni Participates in Build-A-Kit Event

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150 Back 2 School Kits Assembled

On October 9, the Chicago UK Alumni Association participated in one of our Build-A-Kit events at trendy new nightspot Eleven Eleven, located at 1111 W. Lake Street in the West Loop. Wildcat Alumni socialized over drinks and light bites as they assembled 150 of our signature Back 2 School kits. 
 
The event was part of the alumni association’s “Cats for a Cause National Service Week.” UK alumni partnered with the Nazr Mohammed Foundation to assemble the kits, which were later given to students at Reavis Elementary Math & Science Specialty School in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood. A highlight of the night was when the group was treated to a visit from Nazr Mohammed himself, a former UK player and 18-year NBA veteran.
 
This Build-A-Kit event represents one of many ways we are seeing increasing support from colleges. Over the summer, we had a group of University of Illinois alumni come together to hold an event, and on December 1, students from Loyola University Nursing School will participate in their own Build-A-Kit event as well. 

“Win School Supplies for an Entire School” Contest Winners

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Dewitt Clinton Elementary and Frazier Preparatory Academy 

On Wednesday, September 5, we surprised the students at Dewitt Clinton Elementary in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood, thanks to a caring 8th grade math teacher, Jason Zak. As a result of Mr. Zak’s application, including a powerful essay on the importance of what it would mean for his school to win, more than 1,100 of our signature Back 2 School kits were given out that day, one to each and every student. According to Mr. Zak, most of the students’ parents can’t afford to buy school supplies, leaving them unprepared for a successful year in school.  
 
The distribution event took place outside on the playground, as the auditorium was under renovation—another gift to the students that they soon would be able to enjoy. Principal Maureen Delgado, Assistant Principal Chor Ng, and Mr. Zak, as well as their Alderman Patrick J. O’Connor, all spoke to the students. Our CEO Matthew Kurtzman also addressed the group before the real fun began: handing out the Back 2 School kits to a lot of happy children.

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Our second lucky winner was Frazier Preparatory Academy of the North Lawndale neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side. Their school was nominated by physical education teacher and Sports Director Eric Clark, a man full of passion to help children in the community get a better education. His essay touched on the school’s unique approach and mission, which is “to bring to the forefront for our scholars the most important aspects of education, utility and culture.” The Back 2 School kits were handed out during an assembly, which included some inspirational comments by Principal Quincy Jones, Mr. Clark, and Alderman Michael Scott. Prior to the kits being handed out, the students joined in the recitation of the school anthem, which spells out the guiding principles for all Frazier students.

Annual “BIG” Distribution & Activity Day Event

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10,000 Kits Distributed

On Wednesday, August 8, we held our annual “BIG” Distribution & Activity Day Event at the Broadway Armory Park. Over 70 volunteers came out to help facilitate the day as 300+ children (from the Vietnamese Association of Illinois, Irving Park YMCA, McGaw YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, Camp of Dreams, and Centro Romero) rotated through a series of six fun and educational activities and received one of our Back 2 School kits. The activities included aerobics taught by the Chicago Park District, giant board games led by the David L. Hoyt Education Foundation, arts & crafts hosted by Kits for Kidz, science & chemical experiments presented by students from Wright College, financial literacy taught by Republic Bank, and an interactive exotic animal show.

We also gave away 10,000 Back 2 School kits to underserved Illinois students. The kits were brought in on four semi-trucks, sorted, and then picked up by staff from 50 area YMCAs to be brought back to their respective locations for distribution to kids before the start of school.

We would like to say thank you to all of the volunteers who came out to make the event run so flawlessly, as the event would not be possible without their help. A big thank you also goes out to the dozens of sponsors including Community Currency Exchange Association of Illinois, Kits for Kidz, MB Financial Bank, Western Union Foundation, Community Financial Services Centers, Electronic License Service, NBC/Comcast/Universal, Republic Bank, CIBC, and CA Ventures.  

We were very fortunate to have 5 of the local news stations report on the event as well as one radio station.  
                                                       
Here is a sampling of the media coverage highlights of the event:

WLS-TV (ABC7)

WBBM NewsRadio

WMAQ-TV (NBC 5)
 

“The Longest Day of Golf” a HUGE Success

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Over $35,000 Raised and Still Counting! 

On June 21, seven dedicated, hard-core golfers arrived at the Bull Valley Golf Club in Woodstock for their “Longest Day of Golf” outing. Despite a day-long downpour, the seven, playing to raise money for Back 2 School Illinois, were not going to let it rain on their parade nor diminish their generosity.

Past “Longest Days of Golf” have raised more than $750,000 for a variety of charities. These days they focus on smaller nonprofits where the dollars have a greater impact. We were thrilled that this year they chose to give the money to Back 2 School Illinois! To date over $35,000 has been raised and donations are still being made.

We couldn’t be more grateful! A big thanks to the “Magnificent Seven” - Steve Brown, Glen Krandel, Paul Lopata, Ben Kopin, David Brown, Steve Goldsher and Craig Krandel for golfing through the stormy weather and raising money for our organization.

If you would like to make a donation, please visit: The Longest Day of Golf.