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

the impact of grantmaking built on mutual trust

ECF is committed to supporting creative, community-centered nonprofits and helping them to grow as strong, sustainable organizations. Our grantmaking evolves to support this mission.

Books & Breakfast has long been committed to advancing equity in District 65 by ensuring that students were physically, emotionally, and academically prepared each morning to enter their classrooms. They did this by providing a healthy breakfast alongside tutoring and support.

From the beginning, Books & Breakfast has been supported by partnerships with ECF. Our root2fruit program provided funds and training when the organization was established. Later, ECF supported Books & Breakfast’s ability to raise major gifts through the Building the Future and Partners for the Future matching gift challenges.

ECF was also there when schools shut their doors in March 2020 and the Books & Breakfast onsite model was turned upside down.

“ECF has given us the bandwidth to rebuild and expand,” says Kim Hammock, Executive Director. “This has been a hard year, but having ECF there to walk through the crisis with us has made such a difference in rebuilding our work.”

Books & Breakfast had to quickly shift to providing remote tutoring and support for eleven schools.

They were able to do so with the help of a $50,000 grant from ECF and a partnership with Y.O.U.

In 2020, ECF also offered unrestricted operating grants to nonprofits for the first time, trusting its partners to use funds as they knew how to best. Books & Breakfast received one of these operating grants as well.

ECF’s grantmaking during 2020 and early 2021 led to creating a permanent grantmaking program to support Nonprofit Growth and Sustainability.

Part of the program provides unrestricted operating grants to provide flexible support for the vital work of nonprofits.


“I’ve always appreciated ECF, but I don’t think I had ever seen ECF take such a powerful leadership role in the city: responding quickly; bringing nonprofit leaders together to strategize and to connect and share needs; and then changing their own grantmaking process around how people apply for funding. It was incredibly responsive and fast.”
—Kim Hammock
Executive Director, Books & Breakfast


Nimrah Tariq


Nimrah-Tariq.jpg“Each morning the kids come in around eight o’clock, have breakfast. After they eat, I usually ask them if they have homework, and we get them some homework support. If they don’t have homework, we have a book cart with tons of amazing books on there. I have an amazing group of students who love to read, so they run towards the book cart, and they grab a book. Every morning we’re giving some nutrition, some reading time to work our brains, and then having a ton of fun.

I think the biggest part is making sure the students know that they’re loved and supported. I always remind them that seeing them is the best part of my day and starting my mornings with them is amazing—all their energy, all their sweetness is amazing to absorb every morning.

We have community volunteers—people who live in the neighborhood, retired teachers, parents in the community—who want to be a part of Books and Breakfast. 

This wouldn’t be possible without the community’s support and everybody coming together. It is quite amazing to see how much support we get, but also how much we are able to give back to the community.”

 Kim Hammock


Kim-Hammock.jpg“The pandemic for us was a very destabilizing, very overwhelming moment that has turned into a lot of moments continued over time.

Seeing schools, students, and families so disrupted was really difficult, and we had to adjust to figure out how to meet that moment and stay in support of students.

ECF adjusting their own processes around grant funding was huge for us. With the number of challenges and the nature of things changing rapidly because of the pandemic, we needed to be able to respond quickly and creatively in trying to solve problems.

ECF was able to say, ‘Hey, we trust you. We’re going to come alongside you, and we’re going to give you the ability to shift quickly, because we’re going to let go of processes that aren’t necessary at this moment to make sure that we’re able to meet the needs of families and students.’ 

ECF opened the door for us to think creatively and to build a partnership with the district that allowed us to double the amount of students, double the amount of schools, in the online space.”