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Savings for Success Logo

They grow up fast. Let’s get ready for their future.

Savings for Success is a program of YWCA Evanston/North Shore and the Evanston Community Foundation that provides families with a way to work together to save for their children’s futures. It’s a rewards and savings program designed to make post-high school education more accessible and achievable for all District 65 students – starting in kindergarten.

By providing upfront funding for every eligible student, tools and information for families to develop their own post high school savings plans, and a way for the entire community to invest in their children, the Savings for Success Program enables all of us to work together to build assets and support expectations of educational and economic success for every child.

Who can sign up? 

Starting in Fall 2023, parents with a child in kindergarten at any District 65 school can sign up.

Why start saving now? 

Almost all jobs require education after high school. Job training or college can cost a lot! No matter what your child wants to be when they grow up, you can help them reach their goal…starting now. 

Why is YWCA Evanston/North Shore (ENS) offering this program?

Research shows any amount invested into a children’s savings account can dramatically increase students’ expectations for higher education and training because of the knowledge that their family and community have invested money in their future.*(According to the Institute for Higher Education Policy and Prosperity Now, children with college savings of just $1-$499 are 3x more likely to attend college, and 4x more likely to graduate.)

Program Elements

Rewards for every participating student

Every eligible District 65 Kindergartener with a Savings for Success account automatically receives a $50 deposit in your Savings for Success account.

Comprehensive support to start a savings plan

After opening and linking your IL Bright Start account to your Savings for Success account, a caregiver can work with a member of our Financial Wellness team to develop a plan to start saving money in ways and amounts that make sense.

Encouragement for the community to work together

Funds for Savings for Success accounts are raised by the community through the Evanston Community Foundation.

Discovery of post-high school education

Participating families will be encouraged to participate in our Walk Into Your Future Event where students can participate in career exploration opportunities and caregivers can learn about community resources. 

How it works… 

Sign up for the program and open an Illinois Bright Start account for your child. We’ll put in $50. If your child is in the Free/Reduce Lunch program, we will add additional $50.  

You can stop there. Or you can… 

  • Save money in your child’s account during the 2023/2024 school year and we’ll match you dollar for dollar up to $50.
  • Participate in our Financial Wellness Programming (like Basic Money Management, Financial Coaching, or the Financial Empowerment Center) during the 2023/24 school year. We’ll put $25 in your account.
  • Participate in our Walk Into Your Future event at YWCA in May 2024 and we’ll put $25 in your account.  

That’s up to $200 you earn for your child’s education! 

I'd like to participate in Savings for Success. How do I enroll?

Here’s what you need to open an Illinois Bright Start 529 Plan: 

  • Account Owner Information (Usually the parent): Name and mailing address, Date of Birth, Social Security number or taxpayer identification number
  • Successor Account Owner Information (Optional: a trusted friend or family member): Name, Date of Birth, City, and State
  • Beneficiary Information (The Child): Name and mailing address, Date of Birth, Social Security number or *taxpayer identification number. US citizen/ Resident alien
  • Bank Account Information – Optional – Bank Account Name, Owners of the bank account, Bank account number, bank routing number

* If you don’t have a taxpayer Identification number (ITIN) we can help you getting one. Contact the YWCA Financial Empowerment Center 

  1. Attend an Information Session at your child’s school to learn about Savings for Success and open an Illinois Bright Start account.  
  2. Go to https://www.brightstart.com/open-an-account/ and fill in the requested information. 
  3. You will be given a chance to verify your information. After you have verified your information, your will be given a 9-digit account number. Write it down or store it in your phone. 
  4. Complete our program enrollment document which includes a letter of consent. The letter of consent gives YWCA Evanston/North Shore and the Evanston Community Foundation (ECF) permission to get reports of your account balance and transaction history. Be sure to include the new account number for your child’s 529 account. YWCA must receive this form to inform ECF to make contributions to your account. 
  5. Return the signed letter to Kristin Drake at YWCA Evanston North Shore 1215 Church Street, Evanston 60201 or take a photo of it and email to kdrake@ywca-ens.org. 

Frequently Asked Questions

I appreciated the help and guidance through the process. I now have a 529 account set up and was able to put $100 in it by the end of the program. In addition, my financial coach was very helpful.
Savings for Success Participant

This project is a partnership of YWCA Evanston/North Shore, Evanston Community Foundation (ECF) and District 65. Participants will get communication quarterly from YWCA Evanston/North Shore with incentive updates. 


If you have any questions about Savings for Success, please contact Fabiola Alfonso Zdrubecky, Financial Wellness Coordinator, at