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our strategic direction

Headshot of ECF Board Chair Lisa AltenberndThe Foundation is looking ahead to the next year with cautious optimism as we recover and rebuild from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Monique and I look back on the first three months of 2020, and see our community’s overwhelmingly generous response, we are filled with gratitude at how we have banded together to increase our impact in this crisis.

The Evanston Community Rapid Response Fund truly exemplifies the Foundation’s ability to respond to the communities’ greatest needs quickly. It is at a time like now that truly solidifies our strategic direction, and my utmost confidence in that direction.

Helping Evanston thrive as a vibrant, inclusive, and equitable community is at the core of our strategy and manifests itself in the work we do. The Evanston Community Foundation builds, connects, and distributes resources and knowledge through local organizations for the common good.

As we enter 2020, the Foundation will continue its focus on the four principles that guide our work. We listen first. Through our extensive connections in the community, we listen to identify opportunities for participation and collaboration on creative solutions to evolving needs in Evanston that are both inclusive and responsive.

Our second guiding principle is that sustainability is critical. The entire nonprofit community in Evanston, including ECF, must be financially and programmatically sustainable to address challenges and opportunities for growth now and in the future. The willingness of donors—both long-term and more recent—to invest in ECF plays an integral role in making us sustainable.

Third, we focus on equity. Recognizing that equity is both a process and an outcome, we apply an equity framework to our work to help get to the root of our community’s systemic barriers. We demonstrate the commitment to equity through a process of generating ideas, leading, and decision-making that values a diverse set of community voices.

Our final guiding principle is that on which all others rest: Our leadership is in service to the community. We seek to engage with all of Evanston—residents, nonprofits, businesses, and civic institutions—on how to best serve our community, together.

Over the course of 2020 and beyond, we will remain committed to our mission and principles, but we will also call upon ourselves to be bold, bolder than we have ever been, because the times demand our leadership and call on us to be a changemaker. Moving into the new decade, the Foundation will focus on our long-term vision and sustainability. I am confident our vision of a vibrant, equitable, and inclusive community is attainable. Evanston, are you with us?

“Evanston can only be its best self if we invest in nonprofits that work toward building a vibrant, equitable, and inclusive Evanston.”

~Lisa Altenbernd, ECF Board Chair, Leadership Evanston Graduate