Connections for the Homeless has completed the “Partners for the Future” challenge posed by the Evanston Community Foundation, receiving the final portion of a $100,000 matching grant.

The Partners for the Future program is a donor-advised ECF grant initiative that invests in the capacity of high-performing Evanston organizations ready to develop greater support.

The challenge to Connections this year was to raise $100,000 in new or increased gifts from individual donors; each qualified gift was matched by the Foundation. The initiative is made possible by a $500,000 gift to the foundation in 2010 from an anonymous donor family.

“We were very gratified to see how well a structured challenge like this motivated our staff and board to take their fundraising skills to the next level. It also motivated 15 of our current donors to bring their giving to the next level, and brought in five new donors,” said Paul Selden, executive director of Connections, in a news release..

Connections board member Gabriel Rodriguez of Evanston added, “It is a very powerful thing to offer someone the chance to double their impact.”

The more than $200,000 that Connections received through the Partners for the Future challenge and matching grant will go directly towards its objectives this year — to house 100 people and to help 100 people find jobs.

Connections has placed over 100 program participants into housing and made 90 job placements since Jan. 1.

“During the first part of the economic downturn, Connections streamlined operations and pared down some programs,” said Selden. “With this grant, we have been able to build our programs back up, while taking advantages of some of the efficiencies we gained as we re-structured to serve more clients with less. It’s made for a very productive year—which is fortunate, because the need for our services continues to grow.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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