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The Evanston Community Foundation announces the availability of the first “imagination grants” to teachers at Evanston public schools that have, or plan to start, garden projects that involve students in grades K-5. 

“Imagination grants” are supported by the Acorn Fund, a gift to the Evanston Community Foundation from a long-time Evanston resident. The Acorn Fund encourages teachers and others to undertake small projects that will make a big difference and that help young people develop their skills and imaginations as they “work with their hands and their heads.”  Underlying the Acorn Fund is the desire to support teachers in going beyond standard classroom work, to provide more hands-on opportunities for working with their students. 

The first initiative is to support teachers in working with young people on school gardens, projects in which teachers introduce children to “real world” work – with plants, gardens and classroom experiences. The Evanston Community Foundation hopes that projects undertaken with the help of these mini-grants might someday evolve into larger projects that involve and benefit more people.

“We’re pleased that the launch of this grant program coincides with the convening of SAGE, a vibrant group of parents, educators, volunteers, and other community leaders promoting school gardens in Evanston,” said Sara Schastok, president and CEO of the Evanston Community Foundation.

There is no fixed deadline for submission of proposals; grants will be approved by Foundation staff on a rolling basis until funds are allocated.   

Guidelines and application procedures can be found on the ECF website, For more information, contact Cheryl Bondy Kaplan, Program Officer, 847-492-0990, or