ECF President and CEO Monique B. Jones, center, with Northwestern Dance Marathon 2017 Executive Co-Chairs Jenny Halpern and Ian Pappas.  Ms. Jones thanked NUDM for naming ECF their secondary beneficiary for the 20th consecutive year.  Photo by Jill Brazel

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At its 2016 Grant Awards Celebration, the Evanston Community Foundation (ECF) announced competitive and strategic grants totaling more than $800,000.

President and CEO Monique Jones said in her State of the Foundation remarks, “Today ECF has assets near $20 million, and is financially healthy and poised for continued growth to support the community and make decisions that make sense to stakeholders. This remains the center of what we do: build and manage our own and other community endowments to address changing needs and provide leadership on important issues.”

A record of nearly $312,000 in responsive grants was awarded to 29 organizations that serve Evanston residents.  Vice-President of Programming Marybeth Schroeder said, “This year’s grantees were chosen from a very strong pool of 64 proposals and are made possible in large part due to our generous grant-making partners. We could not say yes as widely and deeply to organizations without Northwestern University Dance Marathon and the 20 other grant-making partners whose commitment and thoughtfulness greatly increases the pool of grant dollars available to Evanston nonprofits.”

Board Chair Michael Brody presented the Jim Kogen Foundation Spirit Award to Lisa Altenbernd, ECF Second Vice Chair, and chair of the Foundation’s responsive grant committee.  ECF also announced the appointment of four new members to the board of directors to serve three-year terms: Michele Berg, Bart Rocca, Tim Russell, and Todd Wiener.  

2016 Responsive Grant Award recipients included Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County, Center for Economic Progress, Center for Independent Futures, Children’s Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County, Connections for the Homeless, Edible Evanston, Enrich Evanston, Erie Family Health Center, Evanston Public Library, Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse, Evanston Swims!, Evanston Symphony Orchestra, Family Focus, Family Promise Chicago North Shore, Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, Infant Welfare Society of Evanston, Interfaith Action of Evanston, James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, Literature for All of Us, McGaw YMCA, Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, Northlight Theatre, Our House- a program of Connections for the Homeless, PEER Services, Second Baptist Church, Services for Adults Staying in Their Homes, Y.O.U. (Youth & Opportunity United), Youth Job Center of Evanston, Inc., YWCA Evanston/North Shore, plus a special grant to the Midwest Child-Parent Center expansion.

The root2fruit grants program, funded through a partnership with the Mammel Foundation, builds capacity and long-term sustainability in small and mid-sized organizations. Nine organizations are currently part of the three-year program, and four alumni of the grants and mentorship program also have 2016 one-year-grants for specific capacity-building projects: Books & Breakfast, Chessmen Club of the NorthShore, Farmworker and Landscaper Advocacy Project (FLAP), Girls Play Sports, Literature for All of Us, Meals at Home, Muse of Fire, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Cook County North Suburban, and Piven Theatre Workshop. The 2016 alumni grantees include Center for Independent Futures, Evanston Scholars, Mudlark Theatre, and PEER Services.

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

The Foundation also honored Evanston Scholars with a Partners for the Future Grant. This program enables one Evanston-based nonprofit per year to raise between $50,000 and $100,000 in matching funds to build its base of financial support and to increase its overall fundraising and organizational capacity.  

The Fundraising Service Grants, funded by the Partners for the Future Fund, helps Evanston nonprofits improve their capacity to fundraise. Recipients of the Fundraising Service Grantees included: Actors Gymnasium, Civic Legal Corps, Evanston Scholars, Girls Play Sports Inc., Infant Welfare Society of Evanston, Interfaith Action of Evanston, Mental Health America North Shore, Mudlark Theater Company, Northlight Theatre, PEER Services, PrismPathways, and Senior Connections.