The town of North Chicago sits 45 minutes north of the city, and is home to about 30,000 people. All of the schools in the district there have been on academic watch or academic early warning (meaning the schools are in some state of failure for several years) with the state Board of Education. The district is largely minority, low-income, low-achieving, and underfunded.
Enter North Chicago Community Partners, a nonprofit formed by a local family foundation. NCCP focuses on addressing the unmet needs of the students and schools. The organization provides lunch-time mentoring, after-school tutoring, math/science/art enrichment nights, a food pantry for families, and glasses for students who need them. The organization started with just a few employees, and now has 40 employees, plus several thousand volunteers.