Our 2018 Annual Report is online!

growing stronger together gala raises record $335,000

October 9, 2015 | ECF Press Release

Funds raised at Celebrate!Evanston will support the Evanston Community Foundation’s mission to help Evanston thrive now and forever as a vibrant, inclusive and just community.

L to R: Diana Cohen, Joan Gunzberg, Sara Schastok, Monique Brunson Jones, Michael BrodyAn anonymous donor made a $100,000 gift in honor of retiring CEO Sara Schastok. Incoming President and CEO Monique Brunson Jones greeted guests during the program.





words from the co-chairs

Co-chairs.jpgBenefit co-chair Judy Kemp said, “Celebrate!Evanston is the most important party of the year where friends, neighbors and colleagues gather to celebrate the community’s growth.” Co-chair Gene Servillo added, “We’re thrilled to announce that thanks to the efforts of our benefit committee and our supporters, we’ve realized our strongest sponsorship and ticket sales to date. This is truly more evidence that we are Growing Stronger Together.” Benefit committee members were Judith Aiello-Fantus, Lun Ye Crim Barefield, Diana Cohen, John Cunningham, Diana Gourguechon, Joan Gunzberg, Pete Henderson, Kevin Mott, Patty Reece, and Keith Terry.

celebrating the community's growth

Evanston Community Foundation founding President and CEO Sara Schastok told patrons, “Tonight is a celebration of Growth and looking back on my 15-year tenure, I want to recognize and thank everyone on the ECF staff for being such great gardeners. I am also in awe and appreciation of you, tonight’s guests and sponsors, for your commitment to what our community can become, and of your generous support of ECF in our efforts to act on this shared vision. Together, we have grown resources that will live and grow well beyond our lifetimes. I know the Foundation will be in good hands as it grows under new leadership. ECF is surely poised for a great future — and tonight’s events are the first steps onto that new field.”

During the live appeal, a surprise anonymous $100,000 match was offered in honor of Schastok’s service to the foundation, propelling the live appeal total to over $226,000.

words from our new president and ceo

Incoming President and CEO Monique Brunson Jones greeted guests during the program, saying “On the eve of the Foundation’s 30th anniversary I’m humbled to share this space with you and look forward to digging in deep and nurturing the work to another level of growth and promise. It's been great to meet new faces and reunite with familiar ones, I’m looking forward to the opportunities that await and am appreciative of the warm welcome and vote of confidence I’ve received thus far.”

gala highlights

Nearly 300 supporters attended Evanston Community Foundation’s (ECF) annual Celebrate!Evanston benefit on Thursday, Oct. 8 at the Evanston Golf Club, 4401 Dempster Street. Spouses and news broadcasters Karen Jordan of ABC 7 and Christian Farr of NBC 5 Chicago emceed the evening.

Celebrate!Evanston “Growing Stronger Together” was celebrated in a musical revue performed by Evanstonians Julie Chernoff (ECF Board of Directors and Dining Editor of Make It Better), Grayson Heyl (of Light Opera Works) Matthew Hunter (Evanston/Skokie School District 65 music educator), and Patrick Keenan-Devlin (Deputy Director of James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy.

NUDM.jpgDuring the cocktail hour Northwestern University Dance Marathon’s Executive Board greeted guests and invited them to sign up for the events of their choice. Popular items included a Mexican fiesta dinner party hosted by Julie and Josh Chernoff and Anne Murdoch and Michael Walker; an Italian and southern fusion culinary adventure with Gene Servillo and Kevin Mott; and a beer and cheese tasting at Evanston's Temperance Beer Company. Select future parties and experiences with space are still available for sign-up.


Celebrate!Evanston was made possible by support from corporate benefactor Madison Dearborn Partners, platinum sponsor Hagerty Consulting, and gold sponsors Aptinyx, Beacon Academy, Nature’s Perspective Landscaping, Inc., NorthShore University HealthSystem, Northwestern University, Presence Saint Francis Hospital, and Segall Bryant and Hamil. Silver and bronze sponsors included Edward Jones Investments, EvanstonHost, Inc., Evanston Now, Evanston Roundtable, First Bank & Trust, John J. Cahill, Inc., Mather LifeWays, Martin Investment Management LLC, The Merion, North Shore Community Bank & Trust, Port Brown LLC, Reed Smith LLP, Scott Bryan and Co., Inc., The Thomas Team - Mike & Lene Thomas @properties, US Bank, Vinic Wine Company, and Whole Foods Markets, and Roberts Construction.

about the foundation

The EVANSTON COMMUNITY FOUNDATION, founded in 1986 with current assets of more than $20 million, helps Evanston thrive now and forever as a vibrant, inclusive, and just community. It builds, connects, and distributes resources and knowledge through local organizations for the common good. The Foundation builds endowments for current and future opportunities, fosters private philanthropy, focuses the impact of collective giving, finds solutions to community challenges, allocates grants, and provides leadership training.