New nonprofit, Enchanted Backpack, provides school supplies to underprivileged kids

The Lavin and Bernick Families hosted more than 300 guests at The Montgomery Club on April 18 in River North to announce the launch of their new nonprofit Enchanted Backpack.  This organization addresses the need among thousands of Chicagoland students who do not have the supplies or resources fundamental to learning and excelling by delivering brand-new school supplies, books, coats and other essentials to schools and child-focused organizations in under-served communities. Each supply delivery carries a retail value of $48,000!

“Each year, Enchanted Backpack will touch the hearts and minds of at least 20,000 students,” says Bernick, “Each donation delivery includes brand new school supplies, books, soft goods -- winter coats and socks – athletic equipment, art supplies and other fun classroom materials.”

The by-invite-only event, hosted by nonprofit founder Carol Lavin Bernick and her family, featured school-themed food and drinks like gourmet mac & cheese, filet mignon sliders and fries, milkshakes with gourmet cookies to dunk, and an ‘Adult’ juice box with lemonade, elderflower and vodka.

The Lavin Family Foundation is matching donor contributions up to $1,000,000 a year and will also cover all administrative costs for the nonprofit so that 100% of donations go directly to support schools. “The goal is to empower teachers and administrators who have a truly powerful role in children’s lives” says Hillary Fash, Enchanted Backpack director.

In June, Bernick will publish her first book Gather As You Go, Sharing Lessons Learned Along The Way with all net proceeds going to the nonprofit. For nearly 40 years, Bernick served in executive roles at the $3B Alberto-Culver Company, an international beauty and consumer products firm.

Notable Chicagoans attending the event included Linda Johnson Rice, Helene Gayle (Chicago Community Trust), Shirley Ryan, Marsha Serlin (United Scrap Metal CEO) and Kate Bensen (Chicago Network CEO). (To learn more about this worthy nonprofit, click here)

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