4th Annual Ready for School Backpack-A-Thon®


Support Cradles to Crayons’ Ready for School initiative and help more than 50,000 local children succeed in school this year!

The Initiative

As one school year comes to a close, Cradles to Crayons is already focused on getting children ready for the next. The Ready for School initiative distributes backpacks filled with new, age-appropriate school supplies and KidPacks filled with shoes, clothing, and more, to ensure that children arrive at school on the first day prepared and excited to learn!

The Need

Starting school without the tools needed to succeed can put big obstacles in a developing child’s way. 1 in 3 children in need in Chicago right now and your help is essential to supplying children with the tools they need to translate their knowledge and creativity into confidence and good grades.

Items like backpacks, art supplies, writing tools, and back-to-school clothing are imperative to help get children mentally, emotionally, and physically prepared for school. New backpacks and supplies give children a sense of pride and excitement to go back to school. With these tools, they are more likely to attend school and complete homework — knowing they have the same chance at school success as their peers. Parents can focus on rent and groceries instead of facing the stress of school-related expenses.

“The beginning of the school year is very exciting for children returning to school, but it can also be very financially trying for families with limited resources. When we distributed the backpacks last year, we noted two key things: the excitement on the faces of the children and the relief on the faces of parents who knew — at that moment — that their child would attend the first day of school, like all the other kids, with a backpack full of supplies that can be very costly for a family with limited resources.”

Help Cradles to Crayons help local children get prepared and dressed for success!

Support Our 4th Annual Backpack-A-Thon

4th Annual Backpack-A-Thon
Wednesday, August 21st, 2019
Daley Plaza

This high-energy and high-impact event on Wednesday, August 21st brings together more than 750+ volunteers to fill 50,000 backpacks in under three hours. Backpacks are filled assembly-line style with all the new school supplies a child needs to be ready to learn — many of which will be distributed to our Nonprofit Social Service Partners directly from the site and distributed within days. Corporate partners are critical to the success of this program and we welcome the opportunity to work together on customizing a Ready for School partnership to meet your company’s goals.

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, contact Dave Cotguno at dcotugno@cradlestocrayons.org or 312.767.1036

Agenda for the Event

9:30-10:00am: Registration, coffee, snacks

10:00 am: Kickoff from Cradles to Crayons leadership and guest speaker

10:15am-12:30pm: Backpack stuffing! Refreshments provided

12:30-12: 45 pm: Golden Pencil Awards

12:45-1:00pm: Closing remarks, lunch

1:00 pm: Event concludes

Golden Pencil Awards

Ready for a little friendly competition? Does your team have what it takes to win a Golden Pencil Award?

Throughout the day, we’ll be keeping an eye out for excellence! Can your team pack a backpack while they bust a move? Or maybe you’re so organized that you have all your pencils in a row.

Our prestigious Golden Pencil Awards will be given out at the end of the day to the teams who showed nothing lacking in their backpack packing!

Rookie of the Year

Show off your first-time skill set — newness doesn’t faze your team!

Dressed for Success

Fashion Week-worthy shirts and grace under fire — this team’s style sets trends.

Backpack Boogie Award

Dance moves only enhance this team’s productivity — the conga line anyone?

MVP (Most Valuable Pencil)

You gave 110% percent all day with your commitment, skill, and passion for the cause — we couldn’t have done it without you!

Current Sponsors

Cradles to Crayons looks forward to engaging your company in this high-impact opportunity to give back. Contact Dave Cotugno, Associate Director of Individual Philanthropy & Foundations at  dcotugno@cradlestocrayons.org or 312-767-1036 for more information, or to discuss how your organization can get involved in our Ready for School initiative.