Three new groups get foundation grants

Three Evanston organizations have been chosen to participate for the first time in Evanston Community Foundation’s root2fruit grants initiative, funded by Omaha-based Mammel Foundation.
Evanston Festival Theatre, Infant Welfare Society of Evanston, and LIFT-Evanston are the new 2010 recipients.
Grants for 2010 were also approved to seven local organizations that became part of the root2fruit program in 2008 and 2009.
The Family Room, Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs and Seniors Action Service will receive their third and final grants. The Evanston Coalition for Latino Resources, PEER Services, and Percolator Films will be funded for a second year. The total amount of 2010 root2fruit grants awarded for 2010 is $90,000.
The new 2010 grantees differ in size, age and mission but share in the goal of improving their own capacity in order to build long-term sustainability in order to best serve the community.
Evanston Festival Theatre is a south Evanston cultural center, operating Piccolo Theatre, the Custer Street Fair, and the Evanston Arts Depot.
Infant Welfare Society of Evanston provides early care and education through childcare and family support programs.
Using engaged student volunteers from Northwestern University, LIFT-Evanston (formerly National Student Partnerships) works to combat poverty and expand opportunity for low-income Evanston residents.
The premise of root2fruit is that small nonprofit organizations need more than grant dollars, so the program also provides human and technical support. Grant recipients and advisory board members meet quarterly to focus on board development, resource development, and other key organizational issues.
Each grantee is eligible for a total of three years of funding. Since its first grants in 2003, the Evanston Community foundation’s root2fruit grants initiative has invested $684,000 in grants to 27 Evanston organizations, as well as $12,500 in capacity building training for local nonprofits.
“The Mammel Foundation’s ongoing commitment to Evanston is extraordinary,” says Sara Schastok, Evanston Community Foundation CEO and President. “root2fruit allows the Foundation to strengthen organizations that really are assets for this community.”
A 2008 survey of root2fruit graduates found they had seen an average increase of 150% in their annual budgets, developed more engaged boards, and added staff to help them better meet their missions. “Increased organizational capacity also translates into job creation and the local purchase of more goods and services,” adds Schastok.
The Evanston Community Foundation was established in 1986 as a publicly supported philanthropic organization dedicated to enriching Evanston and the lives of its people, now and in the future.
The Foundation builds community endowments, addresses Evanston’s changing needs through innovative grant-making, and provides leadership in bringing people together around issues of community concern. Through its competitive grants programs, the Foundation has made more than $2.4M in grants to 168 organizations.