Thank you to the awesome students of Northwestern University Dance Marathon!

on Monique's mind

Empowered Evanston
Such a time as this.

Moniques_blog  NAACPaward.jpgThe new year brings with it a time for reflection and goal setting. Over the years, we here at the Evanston Community Foundation have held true to our mission of creating a more vibrant, just and inclusive community. Each year we ask ourselves, “Are we doing the work right? Are we accomplishing the impact we desire?” And each year we assert that we can always do more. 

Still, as I reflect on the past year, there is much to be proud of. With the revision of our grants application, we sought to understand how our nonprofit community conducted their work in an equitable manner and what needs remain to become a fully equitable organization. We’ve taken a deeper look internally at the work happening in our long standing Leadership Evanston program and how the issues presented within each cohort are both unique but with the same lens of creating a more just world. We spent time at the end of 2018 reviewing what our work means to the larger Evanston community and realized one certainty: We only know as much as we know. To that end, the Foundation set out to learn what the community knows about us, thinks about us and would like to see from us in the coming years. We were especially focused on hearing from those in our community whose voice is not often heard the loudest.  

In years past we have rewritten our methods of engagement to assure unheard voices have a place at our table to speak and be considered in our decision making processes. We now know that is not enough. We also know that the table should not be “ours” to maintain. We know this because the decisions that we want to support aren’t necessarily happening in the office. They are happening on the street, at grassroots levels. Literally through marches, protests, revelations of misconduct and misuse of power and discord over longstanding policies that no longer serve the majority population for better or with good intention. We know this because we keep asking ourselves how we can make a bigger, deeper impact and move the needle on the critical issues our community is facing; affordable housing, homelessness, employment, education, healthcare, racism and implicit bias to name a few. 

As a partner in the work to move our community along a path of equity we have to make a resounding stand and be visible where it matters most. Our commitment to the community, at the institutional and individual level, remains strong. As a part of our grantmaking, workshop facilitation, nonprofit capacity building and philanthropic advisement services, we commit to working alongside groups coordinating the work of systems change in support of a more equitable Evanston.  We want to sit and engage at YOUR tables.

To be certain, we recognize and are proud of the work already happening in the community. We remain hopeful and energized by initiatives like YWCA of Evanston NorthShore’s Equity Institute, the work of the City of Evanston Equity Commission, JRC’s Racial Equity Book Fair and many others. To this end, we’ve refined our mission to more clearly define who we are with a commitment to equity. We at ECF look forward to the year ahead with this mission written on our hearts. 

We believe in building a more vibrant, equitable, and inclusive Evanston, where every member of our community can thrive.

Through grants, training, and making connections, we enable Evanston nonprofits and community organizations to deliver their mission more effectively. We leverage the generosity of our donors, so their charitable giving can have the greatest impact on our community.

We are invested in Evanston now, forever, and for everyone.

We appreciate your partnership and look forward to what 2019 brings to Evanston!

With Purpose,
Monique
January 30, 2019