Chicago HOPES for Kids – Fundraiser and Book Drive

George, Nathan, Nicole and Kate


Project Description

Main Event

This event took place at Barcocina in Lakeview where attendees paid an entrance fee that allowed them unlimited beer, wine, and appetizers for three hours. A portion of ticket prices went to the venue and the remainder went to Chicago HOPES for Kids. There was silent auction at the event in which participants had a chance to win Blackhawks/Cubs memorabilia. We also collected book donations at the event that were donated to our charity.

Book Drive

Chicago HOPES for Kids utilized collections of books to help children living in homeless shelters advance their literacy skills. We coordinated a book drive through the Elmhurst Public Library to add to these collections. This was done by raising awareness of the book drive in the community and setting up a donation bin in the library entrance.

Online Fundraising

Our team set up an online donation page through GoFundMe to diversify our revenue streams in addition to what was raised at the main event. This was an easy way for friends, family, and others interested in supporting the cause to donate even if they were unable to attend the main event.


Charity Description

Chicago HOPES for Kids provides educational support for children living in Chicago’s homeless shelters. It is their mission to provide their students with the resources and encouragement needed to succeed academically, despite the challenges of homelessness. HOPES runs an after-school program where they help children complete their homework, improve their literacy skills, and participate in enrichment activities. We reached out to HOPES to gain approval for our event and obtained support resources such as signage and marketing materials prior to the event.

  • Website:
  • Office Address: 641 W Lake St. (West Loop)
  • Main Contact:


Measures of Success

Our group put together a fundraiser/book drive for HOPES. Our initial measures of success and the final project figures were as follows:

  • Book drive collects a minimum of 100 books – 765 collected
  • Main event raises $1,000 – $2,000 – $775 raised
  • Main event has a minimum of 50 attendees – 51 attendees
  • Raise at least $200 from silent auction – $360 raised
  • Fundraising page raises minimum of $500 – $828 raised

At the conclusion of the project, we determined that our book drive, financial, and attendance goals were met. The book drive collected far more books than we had anticipated. Our initial goal of 100 books proved to be far too low in comparison to the final tally of 765 books. The only individual goal that was missed, was the goal for dollars raised at our event excluding the silent auction. This shortfall was made up for by the larger than expected funds raised during the silent auction and through the online donation page.


Lessons Learned & Advice

We faced numerous challenges during the book drive. One of these challenges was scope creep. Other libraries expressed interest in hosting book drives in other towns. Working with these libraries would have made our logistical challenges more complex and possibly taken away from our ability to complete the current project at hand. An additional challenge for the book drive was that some books were donated that were above an eighth grade reading level. These books were not able to be used in the after school program.

Additional challenges presented themselves during the Barcocina fundraising event. We initially had low levels of interest in donating and buying tickets. Luckily, interest picked up significantly during the couple of days before the event and 51 people ended up attending. We realized during the event that we did not have a good plan for transporting books that were donated. The number of books that were donated at the event itself turned out to be small enough that transportation was not a problem. Lastly, we put more effort than anticipated into encouraging silent auction bids in order to get substantial donations.

We would advise future students to spend as much time as possible going through the potential issues that may arise during their project. People tend to want to wait until the last minute to complete tasks and this can be a game changer if someone doesn’t come through as expected. We were lucky that the challenges posed to our event did not significantly alter the outcome.

In the end we finished up with a successful project and a very happy charity. Chicago HOPES for Kids made sure to give us a mention on their Facebook page, and thanked us in person when we went to deliver the books. We are thankful to have worked with an organization with such an important mission and are proud of the work we did this quarter.