The Evanston Community Foundation (ECF) awarded responsive grants totaling nearly $290,000 earlier this year, in response to community needs and opportunities.

“We are thrilled to be able to donate a record amount in responsive grants to worthy Evanston organizations this year,” said ECF Vice President for Programs Marybeth Schroeder. “Thanks to our partnership with Northwestern University’s Dance Marathon, and the largest group of grantmaking partners we have ever had, we were able to make responsive grants to 29 organizations. With this support, we are able to say ‘yes’ to innovative approaches and partnerships addressing Evanston’s challenges.”

Ms. Schroeder added that a total of 77 organizations submitted proposals through the responsive grants program, requesting a total of $964,543, underlining the ongoing opportunity for the community to continue to build the ECF endowment so more good work can be funded.

Lisa Altenbernd, chair of the Foundation’s responsive grants committee, said, “The grants committee, comprised of Board members, community representatives and the Northwestern University Dance Marathon executive co-chairs, believes that this slate of grantee recipients demonstrates the broad range of creative and productive thinking on how we can all make Evanston a more vibrant, just and inclusive community.”

Recpients of this year’s responsive grants include the Center for Economic Progress, Center for Independent Futures, Warren W. Cherry Preschool, CJE Senior Life, Community Partners for Affordable Housing, Connections for the Homeless, Inc., Curt’s Café, Edible Evanston, Erie Family Health Center, Evanston Art Center, Evanston Police Department Youth Services, Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse, Evanston Scholars, Evanston Swims!, Evanston Township High School Community Service Department, Family Focus, Farmworker and Landscaper Advocacy Project (FLAP), The Harbour, Inc., Interfaith Action of Evanston, James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, McGaw YMCA, Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, Northlight Theatre, Over the Rainbow Association, PEER Services, Piven Theatre Workshop, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Youth Technology Corps NFP, Inc., and the YWCA Evanston/North Shore. A special grant went to the Midwest Child-Parent Center expansion. Nearly $800,000 is being awarded in competitive and strategic grants in 2015.

The root2fruit grants program, funded through a partnership with the Mammel Foundation, builds capacity and long-term sustainability in small and mid-size organizations. Nine organizations are currently part of the three-year program, and five “alumni” of the grants and mentorship program also have 2015 one- year grants for specific capacity building projects: Books and Breakfast, Cherry Preschool, Curt’s Café, Farmworker and Landscaper Advocacy Project, Frances Willard Historical Association, Literature for All of Us, Meals at Home, Muse of Fire and Piven Theatre Workshop.

The Foundation’s Community works initiative has a strategic focus on ensuring that every child is ready for kindergarten and every youth ready for work. Grants support family support and home visiting for young families, literacy enhancements and expanded access to early education, and developmental screenings. Grantees include Beyond the Baby Blues, Cherry Preschool, Childcare Network of Evanston, Evanston Public Library, Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Family Center, Infant Welfare Society of Evanston, Literacy Works and Youth Job Center.

The Foundation also honored Center for Independent Futures with a Partners for the Future grant. This program enables one Evanston-based nonprofit per year to raise matching funds to help increase its overall fundraising and organizational capacity.