A letter to the community from Lisa M. Altenbernd, ECF Board Chair

Headshot of ECF Board Chair Lisa AltenberndFriends of the Foundation,

This has not been a typical year. In fact, there is perhaps no other time in history that mirrors the events that unfolded over the course of 2020. Times like these remind us of the reasons that the Foundation was established 34 years ago. The movement for racial justice nationally tested our commitment to racial equity locally. As the community came together in a way that we never have before, ECF hit new strides, powered by generous donors and exemplary cross-sector collaboration. The Foundation was called upon to serve and to lead, and I’m proud to say the response was astounding.

In the earliest days of the pandemic, ECF mobilized to restructure our grantmaking and radically expand fundraising. With seed money from ECF’s endowment and three community partners, we established the Evanston Community Rapid Response Fund.

Donors stepped up in truly historic fashion, generously giving more than $4M to support our community.

I encourage you to read the stories here to see how the Foundation is fulfilling our mission.

Through the dedication of our Board and the tireless creativity of Staff, ECF provided Relief, enabled the community to Rally, demonstrated Resiliency, and ultimately, will help the community Rebuild.

Today the Foundation’s mission of creating a more vibrant, equitable, and inclusive Evanston continues, renewed and ready for whatever Evanston’s future holds. We are able to face this challenge because of the support of friends like you. I am truly inspired to have been part of the work of the ECF over the past year.

Even as we move forward to incorporate all we learned last year, and to bring on a new CEO to lead the Foundation, we remain steadfastly committed to listening to the community, responding to and supporting our nonprofit partners, and engaging donors in the work of the Foundation as we journey along the road to a more equitable and inclusive Evanston.

With deep gratitude for 2020 and optimism for 2021,


Lisa Altenbernd, Chair
Evanston Community Foundation

2020 Annual Report: Reimagine

“Evanston has a strong network of nonprofit leaders, including ECF, who have worked tirelessly since Evanston’s first case of COVID-19 to help the city respond and recover from this pandemic. We now have committees that are doing amazing work to meet the needs of our most vulnerable populations and advance racial justice. I’m so inspired by everyone’s commitment to racial equity, and I feel fortunate to be connected to such a talented group of transformational leaders.” 
—Dave D. Davis, Executive Director,
Neighborhood and Community Relations, Northwestern University
Leadership Evanston Alum