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Community foundation increases grants

The Evanston Community Foundation has responded to the difficult economic times by making its largest spring grant awards ever to local nonprofit groups.


The Evanston Community Foundation has responded to the difficult economic times by making its largest spring grant awards ever to local nonprofit groups.

Despite losses of its general endowment funds due to the economic recession, the foundation is maintaining its grant-making levels this year to address the broad range of issues facing Evanston. The foundation anticipates total grant-making in 2009 to exceed $735,000.

On May 28 the foundation awarded spring grants of $181,030 to twenty-three organizations and programs.

The recipients were: campusCATALYST, Cherry Preschool, ChildCare Network, City of Evanston Disability Services, Connections for the Homeless, Evanston School Children’s Clothing Association, Evanston Township High School, Evanston Art Center, Evanston Day Nursery, Evanston Defender, Evanston/Skokie District 65, Evanston Symphony Orchestra, Housing Options for the Mentally Ill, Infant Welfare Society, Interfaith Action of Evanston, Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, Music Institute of Chicago Institute of Therapy Arts, North Shore Senior Center, Open Studio Project, Ridgeville Park District, Youth Organization Umbrella (Y.O.U.), Youth Job Center and YWCA Evanston/North Shore.

The foundation’s spring grants also include its Communityworks initiative as well as an Open Studio Project and Evanston Public Library summer project that was developed through the Foundation’s ongoing All Our Sons (AOS) collaborative group.

“Thank you to the Evanston Community Foundation for seeing the need and helping to meet it,” Nora Rucker said as she accepted a grant award for Evanston Day Nursery. “The Foundation is outstanding in helping members of Evanston’s nonprofit community work together.”

“They don’t just hand out checks,” Naria Santa Lucia said during her acceptance of a grant award for the Evanston Defender. “I love this event,” exclaimed Alison Witt-Jansen of the Ridgeville Park District. “I end up learning so much about other organizations in Evanston!”

For the 12th consecutive year, Dance Marathon at Northwestern University added significantly to the foundation’s grant budget. This year, Dance Marathon’s contributed $49,000. Dance Marathon 2009 is also supporting operations of foundation workshops and organizational development programs, and the total given to the foundation this year is more than $64,000.

Grant-making Partners, many of whom do their giving through private foundations and donor-advised funds, added more than $57,000 to the grant awards total.

Partners include: Lisa Altenbernd and Steve Hagerty, Elizabeth and James Roghair Fund of the Evanston Community Foundation, Rubens Family Foundation, ABS Fund of the Evanston Community Foundation, Jennie Berkson and David Edelstein, F2 Foundation, Mary Laflin Rockwell Fund of the Evanston Community Foundation, B&J Fund of the Evanston Community Foundation, Jon Kimmel Memorial Fund of the Evanston Community Foundation, Northwestern University, and an anonymous donor.

The foundation’s board has also approved a special allocation of $100,000 to United Way of the North Shore. This amount will be awarded as grants to Evanston organizations, supplementing funds raised by United Way for Evanston.

“With more than a seven percent increase in these spring grants over last year’s figure, this is a happy day for Evanston,” said Sara Schastok, the foundation’s president.

Dance Marathon has given more than $400,000 since 1997 to support the full range of the Foundation’s grant-making to local organizations. Dance Marathon 2009 executive board co-chairs, Liz Banks and Phillip Reich, participated on the Foundation’s grants committee along with other community representatives and foundation board members.

The foundation’s general endowment is the permanent source of its grant funds. The foundation was established in 1986 as a publicly-supported philanthropic organization dedicated to enriching Evanston and the lives of its people.

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 program, the foundation has made more than $2.7 million in grants to nearly 200 organizations.

More information about the foundation is available online.

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