Just like “The Millionaire”  television show of the 1950s, the Evanston Community Foundation came knocking on the doors of 25 non-profits in town earlier this year and surprised them with checks for $1,000 each. The organization announced the names of the recipients in a news release Friday.

The occasion was the 25th anniversary of the foundation, which was established in 1987 by the United Way of Evanston with proceeds from the sale of that organization’s headquarters building on Davis Street.

“As we celebrate our 25th anniversary of working with non-profits to make Evanston a vibrant, just, and inclusive community, we wanted to include our partners in the celebration,” says ECF President & CEO Sara Schastok.

“The Foundation’s impact on Evanston always builds on the assets in our community, especially these excellent organizations.”

The awards were given in surprise visits to 25 board meetings between February and June of this year. ECF representatives announced the awards and distributed the award checks and certificates.

“Getting to present one of these awards was terrific,” says ECF board member Judy Kemp. “The board and staff members were really surprised and very excited. It was a great opportunity to say the foundation appreciates the solid work being done in this community.”

Organizations honored range from enduring institutions like the 100-year-old Infant Welfare Society of Evanston, to start -ups like the year-old Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse. Recipients in the fields of art and culture, disability, youth, early childhood education, workforce development, and basic human needs showcase the broad range of program areas of the foundation.

The 25 organizations honored with the 25th Anniversary Awards are:

Center for Independent Futures

Warren W. Cherry Preschool

Child Care Center of Evanston

Childcare Network of Evanston

Connections for the Homeless

Evanston Coalition for Latino Resources

Evanston Public Library

Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse


Family Focus – Our Place

The Family Room

Grandmother Park Initiative

Housing Options for the Mentally Ill

Interfaith Action of Evanston

Infant Welfare Society of Evanston

The James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy

The Musical Offering

Open Studio Project

PEER Services

Piccolo Theater

SASI – Services for Adults Staying in Their Homes


Youth Job Center of Evanston

Youth Organizations Umbrella (Y.O.U.)

YWCA Evanston/North Shore

The foundation selected these 25 organizations from 170 that have received grants from ECF since it was started.

Including the foundation’s most recent grants announced in May and the 25th Anniversary Awards, these 25 organizations have received $1,846,745 from ECF since it began making grants in 1987.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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