The Evanston Community Foundation (ECF) named Connections for the Homeless the recipient of its current $100,000 Partners for the Future Challenge Grant. Partners for the Future is a donor-advised grant initiative that invests in the capacity of high-performing Evanston organizations ready to develop greater support. Each recipient receives 1:1 matching funds in the range of $50,000 to $100,000 to double donors’ new and increased giving. 

The Partners for the Future initiative is made possible by an extraordinary $500,000 gift to the Foundation in 2010. An anonymous donor family, having observed that matching gift challenges had been a powerful factor in the growth of ECF in the past decade, wished to establish a similar incentive program for other organizations special to them. Evanston Community Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Sara Schastok said “These matching challenge grants provide powerful opportunities for organizations to make their case to their donors. Our donors hope that recipients will use the challenge to strengthen their capacity to fulfill their missions and increase their impact on the community by attracting higher levels of support. Our donors have seen the Foundation’s work and knew we could help them accomplish what they had in mind.” 

Connections for the Homeless Development Director Sue Loellbach said, “This grant is so significant for Connections in several ways-not just monetarily. The fact that only new or increased gifts of $5,000 or more qualify for the match is motivating our staff, board, and fundraising volunteers to step up and tell our powerful story. We have already raised $50,000 for the matching funds and are halfway to our goal.” Loellbach added, “Connections’ program goals for this year are to house 100 people and to find jobs for 100 people. In the current economy, these are very ambitious goals-but the need to achieve them is greater than ever. This grant will help us to meet these goals and position us for next year, when we will need to replicate these results, while providing ongoing follow-up support for the people we help this year.” 

In 2011, the YWCA Evanston / North Shore was the first organization to receive ECF’s Partners for the Future challenge. YWCA Evanston / North Shore President and CEO Karen Singer said, “The grant came at a perfect time in the YW’s history; during a time of shrinking government funding, it has been instrumental in challenging us to build our major gift capacity by strengthening and expanding our community of donors over $5,000. As a result of this grant, we brought in an additional $100,000 to fund our programs, and fulfill our purpose. The YW’s mission is to eliminate racism and empower women, which we accomplish through our programs to end violence against women and children, provide resources and support that empower women and girls, combat racism in our community and empower youth through sport. The Partners for the Future grant catalyzed our Leadership Circle, our community of donors who will help us grow and sustain the important work we do in the community over the coming years. The impact of this grant will be with us for a very long time.” 

For more information about Evanston Community Foundation or the Partners for the Future Fund, visit www.evanstonforever.org or call 847-492-0990.