The Evanston Community Foundation has received an offer of matching funds from an anonymous donor for its “Every Child” Communityworks program.

This donation adds to the Grand Victoria Foundation matching gift challenge for “Every Child Ready for Kindergarten, Every Youth Ready for Work” which ends Sept. 30.

ECF will now receive two dollars for every dollar donated between Sept. 15 and Sept. 29. These funds will build a permanent endowment to $6 million for its Communityworks initiative.

This threshold will both sustain ECF’s innovative “Every Child” pilot program and expand its model to a broader range of services that support early learning and kindergarten readiness.

Launched in 2007, ECF’s “Every Child” initiative focuses on providing crucial services and support to at-risk families with babies 0 to 36 months.  This successful initiative is built upon cutting-edge academic research that links early learning experiences to kindergarten readiness  — and to future success in school and life.

Currently, the pilot project supports home visits with 50 families a year, developmental screening for over 160 children and educational drop-in sessions attended by over 150 families. The program has had a 67 percent retention rate despite the recession’s effects on those most vulnerable to loss of jobs, housing, and subsidized services.

ECF’s opportunity to build its Communityworks endowment through a 1:1 match is provided by the Grand Victoria Foundation. Grand Victoria launched the development, implementation and endowment-building phases of the program in Evanston.

In this final phase, Grand Victoria extended a $2 million dollar matching gift grant to help ECF secure a stronger platform for its far-reaching change initiative. ECF needs to raise an additional $63,000 before Sept. 30, 2011.

Evanston Community Foundation helps Evanston thrive now and forever as a vibrant, inclusive, and just community. It builds, connects, and distributes resources and knowledge through local organizations for the common good.

The foundation builds endowments for current and future opportunities, fosters private philanthropy, focuses the impact of collective giving, finds solutions to community challenges, allocates grants, and provides leadership training.

Grand Victoria Foundation forms partnerships with organizations that strive to strengthen educational opportunities for children and adults, boost the economic vitality of neighborhoods, cities and regions and restore and preserve the health of our environment.

The mission of Grand Victoria Foundation is to assist communities in their efforts to pursue systemic solutions to problems in specific areas of education, economic development and the environment.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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