The Evanston Community Foundation announces the availability of 2011 Imagination Grants to teachers at Evanston public schools to support new or existing garden projects that involve students in grades K through 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 supports teachers who wish to 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 students.  Imagination Grants support projects that integrate school garden and classroom experiences.  The Foundation’s goal is for projects undertaken with the help of these mini-grants to evolve into larger projects that involve and benefit more people.  

Guidelines for Imagination Grant proposals are as follows:

  • Mini-grants of $100 to $300 will be awarded each year by decision of Foundation staff.
  • There is no fixed deadline for submission of proposals; grants will be made on a rolling basis beginning in January until the year’s funds are disbursed.
  • Only one grant will be awarded to a school within an academic year.
  • Projects may be submitted by an individual teacher, by grade level, or by subject.
  • Grants can be used for new projects or for improvements to already established gardens.
  • Teachers are encouraged to involve students in assembling the final report which may comprise a narrative overview, photographs, drawings, displays or other materials conveying the experiences of the project.
  • Reporting timeframes will be established for each grant as appropriate to individual projects and may incorporate a site visit  to the project. 

To apply for a grant, please send a 1-2 page proposal including the following information:   

  • Name of teacher, school, grade level, teacher contact information including telephone and e-mail
  • Date of submission
  • Project description including start and finish dates
  • What the project will mean for the students; what they will know/be able to do if the project is a success
  • How the idea was conceived
  • The amount of funding requested and how the funds will be used
  • A signed letter of recommendation from the school principal 

Please direct questions and proposals to:  Cheryl Kaplan, Program Officer, Evanston Community Foundation 1007 Church Street, Suite 108, Evanston, IL 60201, 847 492-0990   Grant details can also be found on the Evanston Community Foundation website,