As part of a plan to donate more than $2 million to the City of Evanston and two Evanston school districts, Northwestern recently made a voluntary contribution of $350,000 to the City of Evanston.
The University also will make contributions this year of $175,000 each to Districts 65 and 202.
These donations represent the second such contribution to the city and schools that will total $2.1 million. The contributions are unrestricted, allowing the school districts and the city to use the funds for whatever purposes they wish.
The contributions are being made after Northwestern’s purchase in 2004 of an office building located at 1800 Sherman Ave. in Evanston, across the street from a portion of Northwestern’s Evanston campus. The building houses some University administrative offices, as well as commercial tenants.
The purchase of the office building is the first major land acquisition by Northwestern in Evanston in nearly a decade. Over the past 30 years, Northwestern has sold almost all of the property it once held in Evanston, other than its main campus, in an effort to return to the tax rolls properties that were not being used for University purposes.
The properties sold by the University have generated more than $50 million in local property taxes since that time.
Although Northwestern is exempt from property taxes, local taxing authorities will continue to receive tax revenues from the office building property. Commercial tenants will pay a leasehold tax that is equivalent to the amount of property taxes.
Commercial tenants currently rent approximately 60 percent of the building. Their leases are not affected by the change in ownership.
The University also will continue to fund other projects in Evanston and its schools, including Project Excite, an innovative collaboration between District 65, Evanston Township High School and Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy. Now in its sixth year, the program provides enriching science and math opportunities to academically talented students.
Since 2002, Northwestern has provided more than $800,000 in funding for the Lighthouse Project and Project Excite, along with other initiatives in District 65.