meet our staff
Monique Brunson Jones
President and CEO
Monique joined the Foundation on November 2, 2015. Most recently she was the director of programs at the Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) where she managed its grant program, which awards annual grants of $2.5 million, worked collaboratively with CFW staff to raise funds and develop major gifts, and provided leadership to a staff of 14, managing a budget of $3.8 million. Prior to her tenure at CFW, she was the director of the Office of Violence Prevention in the Cook County Department of Health and served in clinical and management positions with the Jane Addams Hull House Association.
Jones holds a B.A. in Social Work from The University of Arkansas, an M.S in Social Work from The University of Texas at Austin with a concentration in nonprofit administration and planning, and a nonprofit finance certificate from The Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. She is a proven leader, collaborator, grantmaker, and strategic thinker.
She enjoys family time with her husband and daughter, gardening, football and jogging. She has been involved in the Evanston community as a member of the Woman’s Club of Evanston and is active in the Evanston Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
As Program Officer, Becca oversees the Foundation's grants programs and provides ongoing learning opportunities for Evanston's nonprofit community. She also works to ensure that the Foundation has up-to-date knowledge of the nonprofit community and issues to guide board-led policy making, guide donors and the Foundation's own grantmaking.
Becca rejoins the staff after serving first as ECF's Assistant Director and then as Director of Development and Communications from 2005 to 2009. During this time she represented the ECF in the launch of the Evanston's Women's History project, a collaborative project involving 12 local organizations. From 2009 to February 2013, she served as Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) Director of Major and Planned Gifts, and was a steering committee member of the Collaborative Fundraising Initiative. During her tenure at PPIL, she also served as Interim Vice President of Development and as a member of PPIL's Senior Management Team. Becca earned her Bachelors at the University of Illinois in Urbana/Champaign, with a major in Sociology and a minor in Gerontology.
Joan joined the ECF staff in the spring of 2014. As a program administrator, she provides support to Leadership Evanston, the Foundation’s grant programs, event planning, and gift processing.
With a background in secondary and adult education, Joan has served as a forensics coach and speech consultant. Here in Evanston, Joan has served as parade director, celebration manager, and president of the board of the Evanston Fourth of July Association. Joan earned her B.A. in English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago and her M.A. in Teaching Secondary English at the Teachers College, Columbia University. Residents of Evanston for twenty years, Joan and her husband have raised two sons who attended District 65 schools and ETHS. They are active with Have Dreams and Centers for Independent Futures.
Chief Financial Officer
Jan joined the Evanston Community Foundation in October 2005. During her tenure, the growth in ECF's funds, from roughly thirty in 2005 to more than 80 today, has expanded the scope of Jan's responsibilities beyond accounting and finance. She assists donors in establishing funds, facilitates grant requests, and calculates annual fund distributions. Jan takes on other projects as they arise, such as administering our fiscal sponsorships. She staffs our investment, audit and executive committees.
After receiving a BS in Accounting with high honors from the University of Illinois and passing the CPA exam, Jan began her career at Price Waterhouse. After four years in audit, she joined Boyden Global Executive Search, assuming increasing responsibilities as a search consultant and office director over the next twenty-five years.
Jan served on the Evanston United Way board, 1984–1987, during the exciting period when ECF was created, and was a member of the executive committee; she also served on the board of Chicago Commons. She has been active in School District 65 issues, serving on the D65 citizen’s budget review/recommendations committee and Council for Excellence in Learning, as well as on numerous school board campaign committees.
Vice President for Philanthropy
Gwen assumed her new role at the Evanston Community Foundation in October 2013 and is responsible for all asset development activities to advance ECF'S strategic initiatives. She looks forward to developing relationships with our donors and expanding our fundraising programs in support of ECF's mission to help Evanston thrive as a vibrant, inclusive, and just community.
Gwen has over 25 years of professional experience in fundraising, having spent her career at the University of Chicago. In her last role there, she launched the first major gifts program for The College, which she directed for 15 years. During this time Gwen managed the University’s capital campaign for the College, which exceeded its goal of $250,000,000 to support financial aid for undergraduates and student programs. Volunteers played a significant role in the College’s successful campaign through their work on the College Campaign Committee and the College Visiting Committee. Gwen and her husband live in Evanston.
Amy Monday joined the Evanston Community Foundation in 2008. In the newly-created position of development officer, she manages the Foundation’s direct mail fundraising appeals and publications, and is increasingly involved in working with donors. Amy also serves as the Foundation’s special events coordinator. Amy’s focus and dedication in support of our Celebrate!Evanston committee was key to the event’s record breaking revenues and attendance in 2013.
Before her time at ECF, Amy was executive assistant to the director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, and major gifts assistant at Lincoln Park Zoo during their My Kind of Zoo campaign. For 12 years, Amy served as the volunteer development director of BackStage Theatre Company, an off-Loop theatre company she co-founded in Chicago in 2000. Amy has a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a major in Mass Communication and a minor in French as well as a certificate in Philanthropy and Non-Profit Fundraising from Northwestern University’s School of Continuing Studies. She lives in Chicago with her husband and their two young children.
Director, Leadership Evanston
Jennifer joined the Community Foundation in early 2014 to direct the Leadership Evanston programs and to provide support in other program initiatives. She is currently involved in the community literacy solution design team of Evanston Cradle to Career.
A native Evanstonian, she's spent her professional life as an educator. Most recently, she worked for nine years as a classroom teacher in Evanston/Skokie School District 65, focusing on early childhood and early grades. Bilingual in Spanish, Moran helped to start the District's Two Way Immersion program (TWI). Earlier in her career, she worked with Latino families in Little Village, developing language and parenting skills workshops, and taught in other adult education environments. Jennifer is a 'connector' who believes in listening to good ideas, maintaining a sense of humor and emphasizing the positive.
Vice President for Programs
Marybeth Schroeder serves as vice president of programs of the Evanston Community Foundation, with key responsibility for the Foundation’s grants and programs. She joined Evanston Community Foundation as Director of Leadership Evanston program in 1999, adding additional community programs responsibilities in 2002 as the Foundation gained momentum. She has been active in the creation of Evanston Cradle to Career, currently serving on the Operations Team as well as working on the community literacy solution design team. Marybeth served on the Evanston150 Steering Committee and the Evanston Women’s History Project.
Marybeth has a background in nonprofit management, community development and adult education. Prior to her work at ECF, she served as Project Director for Urban Libraries Council, reference librarian at Evanston Public Library and Chicago Municipal Reference Library, aldermanic chief of staff in the City of Chicago, and Curriculum Coordinator at DePaul University’s School for New Learning. She holds a B.A. in history from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago.
Marybeth has been involved in a wide variety of community activities, including serving as President of the Evanston Public Library Board during the development of the renovated children’s and youth spaces. She and her husband raised three sons in Evanston schools and have two grandchildren who attend King Arts School. She loves reading literary fiction, theater, singing, and just about anything British.
Sara L. Schastok, PhD
Senior Philanthropic Adviser
Sara transitioned to serve as the Foundation's Senior Philanthropic Adviser following her retirement as the Foundation's President and CEO on October 31, 2015. She joined the Foundation as its first full-time employee and first executive director in February 2001, charged with separating ECF from the Evanston United Way, building assets to sustain independent operations, and expanding the Foundation’s visibility. Having grown ECF assets from $2.4 million to over $9 million, she was named President and CEO in 2008. ECF’s assets today total more than $20 million.
Sara brought her knowledge of major gifts, foundation relations and publications to the Foundation from positions at the University of Chicago and The Rotary Foundation. She served as assistant to the dean and assistant dean in Northwestern University’s College of Arts and Sciences from 1987-1993, where her work ranged from curricular policy matters to liaison to the offices of development, admissions, and alumni relations. Between 1977 and 1986, she pursued her first career via visiting assistant professor positions at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Amherst College, and University of California-Berkeley. Sara earned a BA at Cornell, and her MA and PhD in South Asian Art History at the University of Michigan.
Sara was on the leadership team for the Grand Victoria Foundation’s Communityworks Initiative and served on the Evanston150 steering committee. She served on the recent Evanston Cradle to Career planning committee, and serves on the community advisory committees of St. Francis Hospital and the Center for Civic Engagement at Northwestern, and on the steering committees of the Illinois Early Childhood Fellowship, and the Pioneering Healthy Communities Initiative. She was named Community Leader of the Year by the Evanston Chamber of Commerce in 2011.
Julie's primary responsibilities include gift processing and donor correspondence, and assisting the president and CEO. Julie has a long background in administrative support services.
Prior to joining ECF this past summer, she spent seven years at the Pritzker Group and New World Ventures in a wide range of administrative roles, including reception and executive administrative assistance, database management and maintenance, accounting and office services. Julie is bilingual in English and Spanish. She lives in Evanston with her son who attends Evanston Township High School.