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The Evanston Community Foundation announced $217,000 in grants to 30 organizations and programs at its 2012-13 Responsive Grant Awards event, held May 24 at the North Shore Retirement Hotel, 1611 Chicago Ave. The 29 recipients were chosen from among 63 proposals submitted. They represented a broad range of innovative work in community development, early childhood education, access to arts, family support and counseling, housing, seniors, workforce development and at-risk youth.

The awards set records for the greatest number of grants and the largest amount awarded by ECF in a single grant cycle. It is the 26th such annual cycle, dating from 1987, when grants totaled $30,000.

“We are thrilled to be announcing grants of $217,000 – more than in any spring grants cycle in our history – thanks to Northwestern Dance Marathon 2012 and other grant-making partners whose substantial contributions let us say ‘yes’ to a greater number of worthy requests. Although today’s grants are for a one-year period beginning July 1, these projects have been selected for their sustainability and their potential for long-lasting impact,” said Sara Schastok, president and CEO of Evanston Community Foundation.

Recipients are Barr-Harris Children’s Grief Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago, Center for Independent Futures, Changing Worlds, Warren W. Cherry Preschool, Childcare Network of Evanston, Children’s Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County, Connections for the Homeless, Curt’s Cafe, Edible Evanston, Evanston Art Center, ECF’s Every Child Ready for Kindergarten and Every Youth Ready for Work initiative, Evanston History Center, Evanston Mentors, Evanston School Children’s Clothing Association, Evanston/ Skokie School District 65 (two separate projects), Family Focus, Family Promise Chicago North Shore, Grandmother Park Initiative, The Harbour, Inc., Infant Welfare Society of Evanston, McGaw YMCA, James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, Theatre and Interpretation Center at Northwestern University, Rebuilding Together – North Suburban Chicago, Shorefront, Y.O.U. (Youth Organizations Umbrella),Youth Job Center of Evanston, and YWCA Evanston/North Shore.

Ms.Schastok took the occasion to honor one of ECF’s founders, Natasha Deutsch. “Tasha’s clear vision of the Evanston Community Foundation as an endowment fund without restrictions of purpose, a fund that would always be available for Evanston’s future needs, however they might evolve,” Ms. Schastok said, “continues to guide us today. When Tasha passed away in January, her own bequest and some 75 memorial gifts quickly built the Natasha S. Deutsch Fund. Created within the Fund for Evanston, our unrestricted endowment, it honors her commitment to build resources for the community she loved and did so much to shape.”