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The Evanston Community Foundation held its annual Celebrate!Evanston event last month, featuring several of its grantees on the program: Evanston Dance Ensemble, The Mime Company, the Music Institute of Chicago and the Ridgeville Park District Neighborhood Video Project.
“This event was a wonderful opportunity for those who love and value this community to come together to celebrate the benefits of locally generated and locally directed funding resources that focus squarely on Evanston residents and organizations,” said ECF board chair Judy Kemp.
During the program, Paul Finnegan, Communityworks Advisory Committee chair, and Susan Munro, project coordinator, spoke on the importance of the Foundation’s Communityworks initiative as they described the damage of toxic stress on the cognitive development of children. Through ECF’s “Every child ready for kindergarten, Every youth ready for work” initiative, vulnerable families have weekly or biweekly visits from home visitors who help parents reduce stress and support early learning.
“Babies feel their parents’ high stress levels, and that stress affects their brain development and later ability to pay attention and learn,” said Ms. Munro.
Eleanor Revelle was honored with this year’s Jim Kogen Foundation Spirit Award. She served on the Foundation board of directors 1996–2005 and as board chair 2003 –2005. During her tenure, she focused the Foundation’s efforts on bringing the community together around issues of concern. She was instrumental in implementing the Communityworks initiative as well as helping to shape the Leadership Evanston program. She also championed the creation of essential committees that have allowed the Foundation to engage even more with the community. She continues to provide her insights as a committee member and donor.