Evanston Community Foundation (ECF) announced the launch of its Operating Grants Program, offering up to $25K in funding for organizations anticipating difficulty in paying rent, mortgage, other occupancy costs, or making payroll in April and May 2020. ECF is offering operating grants for the first time in order to help nonprofits weather the challenges of lost earned and fundraising revenue during the crisis.


“Part of our mission is to sustain a thriving nonprofit community. These operating grants are providing Evanston organizations with the support they need now to withstand the significant financial burdens of this pandemic,” said Monique Jones, President and CEO. 


The Operating Grants will support nonprofit organizations endangered due to the pandemic. They will focus on organizations that are at a high risk of closure due to the inability to meet financial obligations, or of widespread staff reductions likely to impair the organization’s ability to carry out its mission, either during the pandemic or after it subsides. The first deadline for the first round application is today, with a second round planned for May. Grants will be awarded by April 27.


“Our strategy is to address the myriad of challenges through relief, recovery, and rebuilding,” said Rebecca Cacayuran, Vice President for Community Investment. “We’ve been able to help a good number of our community members through Evanston organizations while we’ve been in this relief phase. However, our current grants only provide financial support through the month of April. This virus has exposed even further the gap here in Evanston. We are going to need more resources for the foreseeable future, so meeting the $1 million challenge to build the ECRR Fund is vital for us to continue to provide relief and be able to take the long view to get to the recovery and eventually rebuilding phases.”

ECF has also announced the fourth round of strategic ECRR grants. They will support the Farmworkers Landscapers Advocacy Project (FLAP) and Evanston Cradle to Career in providing support to undocumented families, and to Planet Gyros addressing food insecurity in the Latinx community. Another grant being distributed is a collaborative effort to provide Chromebooks to students whose homes either do not have a device or where there are three or more sharing a single device.

“On behalf of the students and families of District 65, I’m thankful for ECF’s support and extensive collaboration,” said Alecia Wartowski, Executive Director, Foundation 65. “The 200 laptops, tech support and training is a true collaboration among ECF, District 65, Foundation 65, and the PTA Equity Project. These efforts will greatly benefit our students to further their remote learning.”