The Evanston Community Foundation today announced nine recipients of its root2fruit capacity-building grants for 2015.
Three new grantees were selected — Books & Breakfast, Meals at Home and Muse of Fire. Each will receive grants of $10,000 with the anticipation of renewed funding in 2016 and 2017.
Grants were renewed for second-year grantees Farmworker and Landscaper Advocacy Project, Literature for All of Us, and Piven Theatre Workshop and for third-year grantees Curt's Café, Frances Willard Historical Association and Warren G. Cherry Preschool.
Books & Breakfast is a before school program offering a nutritious breakfast and academic assistance so that every student enters the classroom prepared physically, emotionally, and academically.
Meals at Home fosters health and contributes to individual well-being and independence by delivering nutritious meals and medically prescribed diets and providing other support services to the home bound, elderly, disabled, and persons unable to care for their nutritional needs.
Muse of Fire is dedicated to bringing world-class plays to the widest possible local audience, making them broadly accessible by performing in non-traditional spaces and providing free performances.
For the third consecutive year, ECF also awarded grants to root2fruit program alumni. Five organizations will receive grants for capacity-building projects including Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse ($5,000), Infant Welfare Society of Evanston ($4,922), James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy ($1,500), Musical Offering ($3,119) and Piccolo Theater ($4,930).
This is the 13th year of a partnership between the Mammel Foundation and the Evanston Community Foundation. Since its inception in 2002, the root2fruit program has benefited 39 organizations and awarded nearly $1.1 million.
Designed to build the capacity of small to mid-size nonprofits in Evanston, the program includes a combination of grants renewable for three years and mentorship for grantees. Over the years, root2fruit grantee organizations have seen significant improvement in their budgets, fundraising and development capacity, boards, and ability to build their services.
Mudlark Theater, which graduated from the program in 2014, reports that over its three year participation revenue more than tripled, from just under $78,000 to over $240,000. Programming has grown to five productions a year and over 25 classes at 15 different schools.
Managing Director Michael Miro says the foundation "took a chance on us. And we blossomed because of it…You helped us transform ourselves from a tiny little non-profit with a loyal following to a legitimate institution with deep roots in the community."