A version of this article appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of Erikson on Children under the headline “Double your support.” More from this issue »

Erikson received a $200,000 challenge grant doubling gifts to a new initiative that will create a community-wide system of support for young children in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood.

Image: Girl with crayon
“Schools can’t do it alone. The entire community must join together to help children succeed,” says Chris Maxwell, director of the New Schools Project. “Our partnership with the Austin community is one piece of Erikson’s larger commitment to supporting all aspects of young children’s development and growth.”

About the initiative

At the invitation of Austin community leaders, Erikson is working with schools, community groups, and families to help create a collaborative early childhood network in the neighborhood.

Austin has one of the lowest per capita income levels in Chicago, and an ever-widening achievement gap for young children entering school. Through the collaborative network, Erikson will help the community ensure that children are ready for school, support families, improve child care, and advance teacher quality.

The New Schools Project will work with three Austin neighborhood schools to establish effective learning environments for young children. Additionally, the Herr Research Center for Children and Social Policy is conducting a needs assessment to determine what services exist and what’s necessary to bring about positive change for Austin’s families.

Double your gift

All new gifts and increased gifts to the Austin Community Early Learning Partnership or Erikson’s Annual Fund made before April 5, 2014, will be matched by the generous donor, up to $200,000.
Make a gift now to the Austin Initiative or Annual Fund »

President Samuel J. Meisels announced the challenge grant in May at Erikson’s play ball.