Chicago Public Schools and Children First Fund Partner with Chicago’s Philanthropic Community to Spread Holiday Joy
16 December 2021
Generous Partners Support Students Across Chicago Neighborhoods
CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools and Children First Fund (CFF) surprised students across the District this week with coats, gifts, and fun-filled events to celebrate the holiday season in school communities. Students shared their wish lists in letters to `CPS Santas,' and Santa – with a little help from generous partners across Chicago – delivered.
From Pop-It fidget toys to LOL dolls, remote control cars to writing desks, thousands of hand-selected personalized gifts went home with students. Many students received gift cards, warm winter coats, hats, gloves, and other cold-weather essentials. At several schools, every family received turkeys or holiday meals. In all, the generosity of our partners impacted more than 10 CPS schools, bringing holiday cheer to nearly 3,000 students.
In his first holiday season at the helm of CPS, CEO Pedro Martinez joined in on the gift-giving Thursday at Benjamin E. Mays Elementary in Englewood.
“This is what the season is all about, and it’s overwhelming to see the tremendous response to our CPS families’ needs,” said CEO Martinez. “We are grateful to all the generous companies and partners who rallied to support our students and their families this holiday season. I know how much it means to them.”
More than 20 organizations and individuals contributed to make this holiday season our most generous ever. Amazon, Walmart, and the Foles Believe Foundation each made significant donations to CFF’s holiday Compassion Fund, which supports students and families when they need it most –– for things like winter essentials, holidays, and beyond. Partners for gifts, coats, food, and other contributions included Accelerated Growth, Aldi, Aramark, Cooney and Conway, IMC Foundation, the International We Love You Foundation, Latham & Watkins, Lorelei Partners, Mars, Morgan Stanley, Morningstar, Northwestern Medicine, Showpad, and the Social Conscience Project. In addition, many generous individuals supported the holiday efforts.
Partners supported CPS by working with Children First Fund, the Chicago Public Schools foundation, to give and deliver these gifts, holiday treats, and winter essentials. CFF’s Compassion Fund provided additional resources to further extend our partners’ generosity and reach more school communities.
The events, organized by teacher or classroom to comply with COVID-19 protocols, with spirited celebrations including Mays Elementary’s “Shimmer and Sparkle” day. For select images from these events and others, see here.
The holiday festivities started nearly a month ago, with coats, winter gear, and Thanksgiving turkeys going to students at Nash Elementary, then moved into high gear the week of December 13th, and will continue through early January, when the students of Spry Elementary will celebrate Three Kings’ Day with the help of more of our partners.
“After two tumultuous, challenging years, we wanted this holiday season to bring joyful memories and experiences to CPS students and school communities,” said Sadie Stockdale Jefferson, Executive Director of Children First Fund, “and, thanks to our partners’ generosity, we’ve gotten to see thousands of smiling eyes above carefully-masked faces.”
About Children First Fund: The Chicago Public Schools Foundation
The Children First Fund is the philanthropic and partnership arm of Chicago Public School (CPS). It serves as a knowledge hub and liaison between CPS and its community of partners, securing and organizing resources that advance CPS’ mission to provide a high-quality public education that prepares every child in every neighborhood for success in college, career, and civic life. For more information, please visit https://www.childrenfirstfund.org or find us on social @ChiFirstFund.