The Evanston Community Foundation awarded a record $240,850 in grants Thursday to 29 organizations and programs at its annual Responsive Grant Awards event at the North Shore Retirement Hotel.
The grants have increased every year since the Foundation started making annual grants to community organizations in 1987, when it awarded $30,000.
The Foundation’s president and CEO, Sara Schastok, told the audience that the 29 grantees “were selected from a very strong pool of 79 proposals requesting $826,500.”
If the organization had the resources, she added, “we would have awarded at least an additional 15 grants, and more than twice the dollars.”
Schastok gave special recognition to a group of students at Northwestern University that conduct the annual Dance Marathon to raise money for charitable endeavors.
While the group annually designates a primary recipient for its fundraising campaign, it designates 10 percent of its net proceeds to the Foundation, and its organization participates in the award process.
This year, the student group presented the Foundation with a check for $82,377.12, which led Schastok to remark that “every grant we make has Dance Marathon funds behind it.”
The 29 recipients represented a broad range of categories from early childhood education, community development, family support and counseling, housing, workforce development, seniors, the arts, and basic human needs.
At the award reception, open to all Evanstonians, each recipient gave a one-minute reprise of the proposal that earned the grant.
In the category of Arts and Culture, grant recipients included the Center for Community Arts Partnerships ($7,000), Evanston Art Center ($5,000), Mudlark Theater Company ($3,500), and Northlight Theater ($5,100).
In Basic Human Needs, grants went to Evanston School Clothing Association ($3,000) and Family Promise Chicago North Shore ($9,500).
Recipients in the Boys category were the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy ($10,000), Literature for All of Us ($8,000), and PEER Services ($5,000).
For Community Development, grants were awarded to the Center for Economic Progress ($10,000), and the Grandmother Park Initiative ($5,000).
Early Childhood grants were awarded to the Childcare Network of Evanston ($8,500), Family Focus ($10,000), and Literacy Works ($7,000).
Grants for Education went to the Center for Independent Futures ($10,000), and Evanston Township High School’s Geometry in Construction project ($10,000).
Family Support and Counseling grants were awarded to the Children’s Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County ($6,000), and the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program of the North Shore Senior Center ($5,000).
Health grantees included the Erie Family Health Clinic ($10,500) and the McGaw YMCA ($13,000).
An award in the Housing category went to Connections for the Homeless ($12,500).
A Women & Girls grant was awarded to the YWCA Evanston/North Shore ($10,000).
Three grants for Workforce Development went to the National Able Network, Inc. ($8,500), Youth Organizations Umbrella ($11,500), and the Youth Job Center of Evanston, Inc. ($7,500).
Additional grants for Youth were awarded to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago ($12,000), Erika’s Lighthouse depression awareness program at ETHS ($5,000), and the Lighthouse 21st Century Community Learning Centers ($7,750).
A special Foundation Initiatives grant was awarded to the Midwest Child-Parent Centers Expansion ($15,000) for Pre K – 3rd Grade support to enhance achievement in low-income families.
Top: CEO Schastok addresses attendees at award ceremony in the North Shore Retirement Hotel.