Alan Anderson, Northwestern University’s liaison to the Evanston community, at “Heads Up, Evanston” RoundTable photo

The time was enforced so the pitch had to be perfect as representatives of 25 not-for-profit agencies – 24 local and Rotary International – each had about two minutes to describe the mission and a “little-known fact” about their organizations. This was the Rotary Club of Evanston’s annual “Heads Up, Evanston” networking luncheon.

“We try to get a diverse mix of not-for-profits,” so they can learn about each other’s missions and activities and have “a chance to make connections,” said Paul Larson, past club president and host of the presentations. The representatives were invited “to come and give two-minute updates of anything new and exciting they are up to.”

The organizations ranged from one of Evanston’s oldest – the Woman’s Club of Evanston, founded in 1889 by Elizabeth Boynton Harbert – to the relatively new – Evanston Lakehouse, whose mission is to restore the Harley Clarke mansion for educational and community purposes – and the recently returned – First Night Evanston, the family alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration and On Your Feet Foundation, supporting women who have given up children for adoption.

Some spoke about their origins; others about new programs; still others, about the number of people their organizations have benefited.

The genesis of the Childcare Center of Evanston was to allow mothers to work during World War II, said Executive Director Lindsay Percival.

Next summer’s free Shakespeare plays will be four of the histories – told from the point of view of Queen Margaret, said Muse of Fire Managing Director  Emily Campbell Berezowsky.

Dr. Elena Garcia Ansani, director of Latino Resources, said its mission is to promote Latino student success and civic participation. PEER Services, said Executive Director Kate Mahoney, addresses and prevents addiction. Center for Independent Futures helps adults with disabilities and their families plan for supported but independent lives, said Ann Sickon, executive director.

Mary Rosinski, chair of the Evanston Police and Fire Foundation, said that organization is the only joint police and firefighters foundation in the country, “and that is because we have two great chiefs.”

Alan Anderson, Northwestern University’s community liaison, said, “My hope is to not only strengthen but also to build new partnerships. … Northwestern has invested millions of dollars and [many] volunteer hours in not-for-profits and in the City of Evanston – and we’re going to do more.”

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...