Evanston Community Foundation announced the 29th cohort of Leadership Evanston graduates. A recognition ceremony was held last week at Koi Fine Asian Cuisine. The group came together to recognize the conclusion of this year’s program, and they were, for the first time in over a year, able to celebrate the accomplishment in person.
Jennifer G. Moran, Director of Leadership and Training, said, “I am supremely proud of this class. This program centers around the ability to convene and work as teams. The pandemic forced us to meet exclusively online and the teams had to find the courage to pivot and adapt. Not without challenges. LE XXIX pulled it off, and did so remarkably well. I’m so proud of all of them.”
The theme of Reimagine Evanston helped frame the projects for the year. “After 29 years, Leadership Evanston continues to respond to the ever-changing landscape of our community and this year added an entirely new dynamic to the ability to flex,” said Ms. Moran.
Class members developed four Team Projects covering a range of topics. Among them were the Evanston Local Marketplace, an online procurement portal for resident and group purchasing; Imagining Housing Justice in the Time of COVID; The Evanston Financial Health Survey and COVID Myth Busting; and Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy. Additionally, this year’s cohort created a group project. The project, AT HOME, is an art installment displayed at Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse. It allowed members of the cohort to display various interpretations of living most of last year in quarantine.
“I am relatively new to Evanston. I learned so much about our community through this program,” said Katarina Topalov, Professor of Environmental Biology, City Colleges of Chicago. The surprising thing was that I also learned so much about myself! The entire experience was unexpected and remarkable. I would encourage anyone, new to Evanston or lifelong Evanstonian, to consider participating.”
Leadership Evanston XXIX graduates included Kevin Augusta, Linda Brennan, Kenneth D. Carter, Cindy Solorzano Castro, Kurt Hansen, Chris Heisinger, Michael Jacobson, Linnea Latimer, Steve Lemieux-Jordan, Amanda Long, Kassandre McGovern, Stephanie Mendoza, Hibo Mohamed, Adam Newman, Trina Ntamare, Rachel Posnak, Chloe Reyes, Marcel Sallis, Laketa Simpson, Alexa Tessaris Sullivan, Kelly Terrell, and Katrina Topalov.
In 1992, Evanston Community Foundation started its Leadership Evanston program to provide Evanston with skilled and knowledgeable individuals who take responsibility for the community and its future. LE has trained more than 800 leaders, 80% of whom still live or work in Evanston. Today’s participants gain a deep and broad knowledge of Evanston’s diverse perspectives, institutions, and communities; examine and practice key community leadership skills; and build a network to work together toward a vibrant, equitable, and inclusive community.
Applications for the 30th 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. Payment plans and scholarships are available. For information or an application, visit www.evanstonforever.org or contact Ms. Moran at email@example.com or 847-492-0990.