ICECF Thinks 'Inside the Box' Supporting Education in Illinois

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Kickoff release for the largest Back 2 School program in Chicago and Illinois, providing a record 25,000 free school supply kits (750,000 school supplies) to students in need from the Illinois Currency Exchange Charitable Foundation (ICECF).

It’s what’s inside 25,000 boxes of school supplies that motivates Illinois Currency Exchange Charitable Foundation’s thinking about the growing education needs in Chicago and across Illinois. ICECF is rolling out the largest free school supply program in the State, celebrating its ninth annual Back 2 School initiative.

“Thinking ‘inside the box’ is no small endeavor,” according to ICECF Executive Director Matthew Kurtzman. “Funding, assembling and delivering 750,000 supplies to 25,000 students in need is a record for us and worth every ounce of heavy lifting, in all respects,” says Kurtzman. “A ‘village’ of volunteers, partners and sponsors have helped our box grow.”

The ICECF Back 2 School program expanded in 2013 to include homeless families in Chicago and military families throughout Illinois, partnering respectively with DFSS and Operation Homefront.

“Over one million Illinois families need our help, we‘ve only just begun,” says Kurtzman.

One Illinois Currency owner/operator in the western suburbs raised over $35,000 for the cause, according to Kurtzman. Consumers can still donate $11 at any of the 400 Illinois Currency locations to help fund a Back 2 School supply kit donation.

ICECF was built from a belief that students from low-income families deserve the opportunity to succeed in the classroom. The campaign continues to grow to meet needs.

According to a survey, 49.5 percent of families who receive supplies have household incomes of less than $10,500 (below the nation’s poverty line).

School supply distribution events for 1,200 military kids/families have taken place over the last 10 days in Springfield, Belleville, Rock Island, Bartonville, N. Riverside, Mt. Vernon and Gurnee, Illinois.

School supplies for homeless and low-income families take place August 13 through the first day of school. The first distribution on Tuesday is hosted by ICECF at Broadway Armory Park at 5917 N. Broadway in Chicago. Volunteers will help unload 500 kits to be distributed at a special three-hour educational event. On that day, crews will also help load up trucks with over 21,000 school supply kits to be distributed at local YMCAs to designated students in need.

On the first day of school in Chicago, Monday, August 23, two needy schools on Chicago’s far south side and in the lower west side Pilsen/N. Lawndale area will be surprised with a combined total of 2,000 free school supply kits for students in the schools. “Over 25,000 students will start school this year on a level playing field and we know that can mean success,” says Kurtzman. “Without corporate support, we could never fulfill these needs.”

Community Currency Exchange Association of Illinois, MB Financial Bank, Western Union, Kits for Kidz, Republic Bank, Comcast, Chicago Park District, Electronic License Service, Community Financial Service Centers, Pawlan Blumenfeld Misciniski & Assoc., Checkfreepay, Highland Solutions, Dunbar Armored, Netspend, and Talro Auto Insurance are key sponsors of ICECF’s Back 2 School program.

For further information about ICECF’s Back 2 School program, visit

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