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The 27th cohort of engaged citizens graduated from the Evanston Community Foundation (ECF) Signature Leadership Program on June 5. A recognition ceremony and celebration was held at Evanston’s First United Methodist Church.

Leadership Evanston Director Jennifer G. Moran said, “As a cohort, Leadership Evanston XXVII found a collective voice for advocacy. Our work in Leadership Evanston encouraged active listening by the participants and resulted in five project teams highlighting the challenges for Evanston’s youth. After 27 years, Leadership Evanston continues to respond to the ever-changing landscape of our community.”

Leadership Evanston XXVII graduates include: Xochitl Ayala, Rotary International; Laura Brown, Downtown Evanston; Alexandria Buckley, McGaw YMCA; Shayla Butler, Northwestern University; Edgar Cano, City of Evanston; Sarah Cort, McGaw YMCA; Kelly Diaz, ETHS; Len Felton, Youth Job Center; Sarah Gordon, Center for Financial Services Innovation; Lauren Grossman, Across the Table; Cesca Henderson, EPD; Rev. Grace Imathiu, First United Methodist Church; Tanya Jenkins, EPD; Martha Klitzkie, Reef Environmental Education Foundation; Linda Larkin, community volunteer; Claudia Larrea, MetroSquash; Rick Marsh, Curt’s Café; Shiva Mohsenzadeh, Legislative Aide for Laura Fine; Jennifer Montojo, Evanston Art Center; Jessi Moon, Evanston Community Foundation; Allie Payne, Dreamtown Realty; Jeremy Round, Gather; Rachel Ruttenberg, The Family Defense Center; Joyce Sia, Northshore University Healthcare; Maria Slawinski, General Reinsurance; Jace Smith, McGaw YMCA; Erin Tegge, PEER Services; Maria Tolpin, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation; Vanessa Vegas, Rotary International; Lisa Winn, Evanston Community Bank; Nancy Zwick, Evanston artist.

Class members developed five team projects covering a range of topics including Arts Across Evanston Wards, Belonging, Community Network, Financial Literacy and Peer Advocacy.  Allie Payne, Dreamtown Realty, said of the program, “Prepare to be vulnerable, prepare to connect, and prepare to come in with a purpose of building your network. Leave becoming a connector of people, thoughts, and ideas.”

Applications for the 28th class of Leadership Evanston are welcome now through mid-August. Individuals who live or work in Evanston are encouraged to participate. The program seeks to include people from all neighborhoods, interests and sectors.

Information and applications are available by visiting or contacting Ms. Moran at or 847-492-0990.