The nonprofit also celebrates its one million children served milestone and unveils Bank of America and Swap.com as corporate partners in Chicago

(Chicago, IL – October 13, 2016)– Cradles to Crayons®, a nonprofit organization that equips children from birth through age 12 living in homeless or low-income situations with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school, and at play, is proud to announce the opening of its Giving Factory warehouse. The Giving Factory® will house the organization’s local business and volunteer operations as well as serve as its primary receiving, inventory and distribution facility in Chicagoland. This week, the nonprofit also marks the milestone of serving one million children from infants to pre-teens across its three locations—Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago—since its inception in 2002.

With the opening of the Chicago Giving Factory, Cradles to Crayons is now well-positioned to help the 200,000 children living in poverty in Chicago. The new Giving Factory, a 22,000 square foot warehouse formerly the Marshall Field’s distribution center, is located at 4141 W. George St. in Chicago’s Logan Square. In its first year of operation, with the help of more than 6,000 volunteers and many service partners including W.I.N.G.S, AUSL, Northwestern University Settlement House, and Heartland Alliance, Cradles to Crayons will provide 16,000 Chicago children with the essential items they need and deserve to thrive.

Major corporations, including Bank of America and Swap.com, are supporting the expansion of Cradles to Crayons into Chicagoland to provide the basic essentials that children need to thrive at home, at school, and at play. Bank of America, a new local supporter of Cradles to Crayons, is donating $250,000 to the cause. Swap.com, an online consignment and thrift store based in Bolingbrook, IL, will deliver thousands of pieces of clothing to support Cradles to Crayons’ mission.

“Bank of America believes in connecting with the communities we serve, beginning with the most disadvantaged among us — the children who do not have the basic essentials to survive and thrive,” said Paul Lambert, Chicago market president, Bank of America. “Through our donation, which will go directly to providing clothing, school supplies, books and toys to the children of Chicago, it is our hope that we can help play a role in the success of our future generation.”

“At Swap.com, we consistently emphasize the importance of giving back to the broader community throughout our daily work,” said Juha Koponen, CEO of Swap.com. “We are proud to be able to provide clothing that will help Cradles to Crayons serve thousands of children in need, but know that the need in Chicago can only be met if other members of our community join us in the effort to serve Chicago’s most vulnerable children.”

Individuals, families and corporations alike are pitching in to make Cradles to Crayons a success in Chicago. Many companies have stepped up to donate supplies and financial resources, and teams of corporate volunteers have assisted at local events to help Cradles to Crayons get started in Chicago, including Allstate, Ropes & Gray LLC, Heitman LLC, Northern Trust, InnerWorkings Inc., Mesirow Financial Services, and Polished Nickel Capital.

“Cradles to Crayons is a critical resource for Chicagoans struggling to put food on the table or clothing on the backs of kids. We have planted our flag in Chicago and are here to support the children and families most in need of our services,” said Bernard Cherkasov, executive director of the nonprofit in Chicago. “We are so incredibly proud to have served 1,000,000 children across the Cradles to Crayons network, but we know our work in Chicago has only just begun. Chicago is a city known for its big shoulders, however, and I am confident that the Chicago community will play a big role in our ability to serve the next 1,000,000 children.”

For 14 years in Boston, nine in Philadelphia and now in Chicago, Cradles to Crayons has been providing children and families in need with clothing, books, school supplies, and toys to help children feel safe, valued and ready to learn. Over 300,000 volunteers and several hundred service partners have committed to the organization over the years and have assisted in delivering the everyday essentials children need to succeed at home and in the classroom. Under the leadership of CEO and Founder, Lynn Margherio, Cradles to Crayons plans to extend its reach and influence with the development of two new locations in the United States within the next few years.

About Cradles to Crayons

Cradles to Crayons launched in 2002 and has operations in Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago. The nonprofit provides children from birth through age 12 living in homeless or low-income situations with the essential items they need to thrive—at home, at school, and at play. They supply these items free of charge by engaging and connecting communities that have with communities that need. Cradles to Crayons mobilizes communities of plenty on behalf of communities of need, recycling and reusing high-quality children’s goods and engaging thousands of youth and adults in tangible service activities each year that benefit local children. Individuals and companies wishing to know more about volunteering or donating to the Chicago Cradles to Crayons programs can learn more at https://cradlestocrayons.org/chicago.