The Evanston Community Foundation announced competitive and strategic grants totaling over $800,000 Tuesday at its 2017 Grant  Awards Celebration and Annual Meeting.

ECF President and CEO Monique B. Jones said, “Across the board, the Evanston Community Foundation is in a very successful space and is ready to move forward. Thanks to our grantmaking partners, including Northwestern University Dance Marathon, for working alongside us to provide grants and important capacity building opportunities for Evanston nonprofits.”

A record of $333,435 in responsive grants was awarded to 26 organizations that serve Evanston residents. This marks a nearly 15 percent increase in responsive grantmaking over 2016. Vice President for Programs Marybeth Schroeder said, “In our 30th year, the amount nonprofits are receiving is the highest ever, and we are also kicking off a rolling grants process that will invest an additional $45,000 over the next year, allowing us to be even more responsive to the needs and opportunities in Evanston.” 

Before the grantees were recognized, Board Chair Diana Cohen presented the Jim Kogen Foundation Spirit Award which recognizes exemplary board leadership. The 2017 award was presented to retiring former Board Chair Joan Gunzberg.

Cohen said, “Joan took the experience of a lifetime in the nonprofit sector, and has applied that knowledge and insights to ECF’s work.” ECF also announced the appointment of five new members to the board of directors to three-year terms. The new members are Jabbar Bennett, Matthew Feldman, Michael Walker, Kelley Williams, and Simon Yohanan.

Leaders of the groups receiving grants.

2017 Responsive Grant Award recipients include Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County, Center for Independent Futures, Community Partners for Affordable Housing (CPAH), Connections for the Homeless, Erie Family Health Center, Evanston Public Library, Evanston Scholars, Evanston/Skokie School District 65, Farmworkers and Landscaper Advocacy Project (FLAP), Housing Options for the Mentally Ill in Evanston, Interfaith Action of Evanston (IAE).

Also, the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, Learning Bridge Early Education Center (formerly Child Care Center of Evanston), Metropolitan Family Services, Mudlark Theater, North Shore Senior Center, Northlight Theatre, Open Communities, Our House (a program of Connections for the Homeless), Piven Theatre Workshop, Services for Adults Staying in Their Homes (SASI)/Senior Connections, She Is Code, Trilogy Inc., Warren W. Cherry Preschool, Y.O.U. (Youth & Opportunity United), and the YWCA Evanston/North Shore.

The root2fruit grant program, a partnership with the Mammel Foundation, focuses on building capacity in small and mid-sized organizations, benefiting 48 organizations with over $1.5 million since its inception in 2003. The 2017 root2fruit participants recognized at the Grant Awards Celebration include Books & Breakfast, Chessmen Club of the North Shore, Evanston Work Ethic (WE) Program, Girls Play Sports, Institute for Therapy through the Arts, Meals at Home, Muse of Fire Theatre Company, National Alliance on Mental Illness Cook County North Suburban (NAMI CCNS), and Reba Early Learning Center (RELC).

The Foundation’s Communityworks initiative has a strategic focus on ensuring that every child is ready for kindergarten and every youth ready for work. Grants support family and home visiting for young families, literacy enhancements and expanded access to early education, and developmental screenings, as well as summer learning initiatives. The 2017 Communityworks grantees include Evanston Public Library, Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Family Center, Infant Welfare Society of Evanston, Literacy Works, McGaw YMCA, Warren W. Cherry Preschool, and Youth Job Center (YJC).

The Foundation also honored the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, the recipient of a Partners for the Future (PFF) matching challenge of $100,000. This program, funded by an anonymous donor, enables one Evanston-based nonprofit per year to build its base of financial support, and to increase its overall fundraising and organizational capacity.

At this event, ECF informed the community on the state of the foundation as well as celebrated the missions and accomplishments of Evanston’s nonprofits. It was held at The Merion, 529 Davis Street, in the Crystal Ballroom.

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