Celebrate!Evanston will be held on September 22, 2022.  Please save the date!

2021 in review

The last two years have been a time of challenge, opportunity, and assessment. In 2020, ECF created the Evanston Community Rapid Response Fund (ECRRF) in response to COVID in our community and to address the need for relief, recovery, and rebuilding. Our Rapid Response experience taught us new ways to think about investing in our community, and informed our work in 2021.

ECF has deepened its commitment to  be an equitable, just, and vibrant community. We’ve taken a hard look at our work and impact, and we’ve evolved our processes to build deeper partnerships with established nonprofits and start-ups, businesses, and government, joining together to really hear community voice. 

In 2021, we wound down ECRRF grantmaking and created new grant programs focused on equitable innovation, nonprofit growth and sustainability, cohort learning, and collective and enduring initiatives. Here’s how we invested in Evanston in 2021.


Community-Centered Grants

Recipients of Collective & Enduring, E-Town Innovation, Immediate Needs, and Nonprofit Growth & Sustainability Grants

  • The Actors Gymnasium
  • Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County
  • Art Encounter
  • Books & Breakfast
  • Center for Neighborhood Technology
  • Chicago Methodist Senior Services
  • Childcare Network of Evanston
  • City of Evanston, Parks and Recreation
  • City of Evanston, Public Art
  • Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI)
  • Connections for the Homeless
  • Curt’s Café
  • C&W Market and Ice Cream Parlor
  • Erie Family Health Centers
  • Evanston Cradle to Career
  • Evanston Latinos
  • Evanston Public Library
  • Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse
  • Evanston Roundtable Media
  • Evanston Scholars
  • Housing Opportunity Development Corporation
  • Infant Welfare Society of Evanston
  • Institute for Therapy through the Arts
  • Interfaith Action of Evanston
  • James B. Moran Center for 
  • Youth Advocacy
  • Jennifer’s Edibles, Feeding the Community
  • Literacy Works
  • McGaw YMCA
  • Next Steps for Transformation
  • PEER Services, Inc.
  • Reparations Stakeholder Authority 
  • of Evanston 
  • STEM School Evanston
  • YWCA Evanston/North Shore

Cohort-Based Learning and Grants

Building the Future & Partners for the Future

  • Books & Breakfast
  • Childcare Network of Evanston
  • Family Promise Chicago North Shore
  • Meals on Wheels Northeastern Illinois
  • PEER Services, Inc.


  • Actors Gymnasium
  • Evanston Wilmette Golf Course Association
  • Puerta Abierta Preschool
  • Reba Place Development Corporation
  • Young Black & Lit

Becoming Equitable Institutions, in partnership with the YWCA Evanston/North Shore

  • Covenant Nursery School
  • Evanston Early Childhood Council
  • Learning Bridge
  • Reba Early Learning Center
  • School for Little Children