longtime President and CEO Sara Schastok plans retirement by late 2015

January 2, 2015 | ECF Press Release

ECF plans for transition as it honors and celebrates Schastok's achievements.

The ECF Board will soon establish a transition team and a search committee to seek a new CEO and lay the groundwork for a smooth transition.  Throughout 2015, we will be honoring Sara and celebrating her outstanding work in leading the Foundation.Sara.SchastokMED.jpg

ECF's growth under Sara's leadership

In Sara’s 14 years, the Foundation has grown from a project of Evanston United Way with less than $3 million in assets to a significant force for improvement and social change in Evanston, with assets approaching $20 million and annual grants of nearly $900,000. In 2014, the total distributions from all of our funds will exceed $1.9 million.

Because of Sara’s deep knowledge of the community and extensive relationships with our donors, the Foundation is fortunate to have her commitment to continue serving ECF in 2016, as Senior Philanthropic Advisor. 

In 2011, the Evanston Chamber of Commerce presented Schastok its annual Community Leadership Award stating: “We believe you best represent the qualities of creative entrepreneurship and professionalism, and you have given tremendous energy and leadership to the city of Evanston.”  The Chamber noted that under Schastok’s leadership, the ECF had become “a national model for bringing citizens and businesses together, generating the necessary resources, and advancing innovative solutions for critical urban challenges.”

in Sara's words

“I’ll be leaving at a time when the Foundation has never been in a better position to serve Evanston. In just fourteen years, ECF has grown well beyond what our founders imagined, and in true Evanston spirit, thanks to generous giving to unrestricted funds that benefit the entire Evanston community, Our strong annual rate of investment returns has also led numerous organizations and donors to select ECF to manage their funds as well.  All told, ECF is now home to more than 80 funds for a wide variety of purposes. ECF will be able to address Evanston's future needs. We’re pleased to have the resources now to do much more for Evanston than the original grantmaking launched in 1987. I’m particularly proud of our staff — whoever succeeds me will have the benefit of some of the best people in their field with unsurpassed community knowledge."

transition plans

Discussions about Sara's transition began in the fall and led to the present transition plan. Joan Gunzberg, Chair of ECF’s Board of Directors, said “we sincerely thank Sara for all she has done for ECF and for Evanston, and we look forward to her continued contributions when she assumes her new role.”

ECF is poised to continue its growth because of the many donors and partners who support our vision of being an ever-growing reservoir of resources for this community as it strives to become more vibrant, inclusive, and just.

about the foundation

The EVANSTON COMMUNITY FOUNDATION, founded in 1986 with current assets of more than $19 million in 80-plus funds, 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.