why did you join the ECF board?
May 8, 2021 | ECF Newsletter
ECF Board members Tania Margonza and Bryant Wallace were interviewed for the ECF May, 2021 newsletter. Meet these two of our newest board members
Read the entire May 2021 newsletter including the full interview with these two board members, as well as the sections HIghlights & Community Investments, and Leaving a Lasting Legacy.
Why did you want to join the ECF Board?
Tania: Well first, I’d like to thank Bryant Wallace for nominating me and encouraging me to participate. He is a good friend of mine and of my husband. Ultimately, my decision came down to ECF being a leader. ECF leads the way in fundraising, grantmaking, community investments, supporting the community, and equity work—work that has brought our community closer together. ECF has acknowledged inequities and discrimination that our neighbors face. It’s partnered in so many ways with so many people and organizations. I believe if you see a gap, you fill it. That is how I live my life and it’s aligned with ECF’s values. The staff and board step into these spaces, helping smaller organizations and businesses survive. I am so proud to talk about this work.
Bryant: I moved to Evanston to be part of a community. Participating in Leadership Evanston, root2fruit, Celebrate Evanston, I was able to see ECF as a true hub of the community. I enjoy meeting people, making connections, and building collaborations to extend the impact of our advocacy and action in the community. We go farther when we work together.
I admire the Foundation’s work and I care about the community. The opportunity to work alongside experienced, similarly passionate board members and staff to foster community partnerships and to get to know our donors is the most rewarding investment of my time, talent and creativity in my professional life. It’s invigorating. I invite everyone to join us and challenge us with new and helpful perspectives. We are always learning.
What are your hopes for Evanston?
Tania: True, authentic, genuine inclusion of all community members. My main focus has been on students. How can we empower our kids to become allies for one another? Images and news stories of children being mistreated are heartbreaking. I wouldn’t want anyone to harm my children. I want my kids to be the good that we need. I want all of our kids to be the good that we need. We have young people who are working toward building inclusion and acceptance—Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ—I do believe that we will get there one day. Acceptance is a beautiful thing.
Bryant: At ECF, I see first-hand how we build an inclusive community for thriving non-profits, for-profits, institutions, and citizens. I see the impact through our grantmaking to quickly address the basic needs of the vulnerable and adapt to a more diverse and connected world through our advocacy for equitable access to resources, through our community conversations, and through our collaborations with community partners. We are a group of passionate people working tirelessly on behalf of our mission to make Evanston a good place for all. We can go farther and accomplish more with your help.
What should community members know about you?
Tania: As an Evanstonian and Latina, I know that there are gaps that need to be filled. I am in a position to help fill that gap. I want to connect families of color to all the resources and opportunities that exist in our community. This is one of my favorite things to do. I love meeting other parents, business professionals, and learning about how we can support each other and how we can strengthen our community bonds. If someone wants to brainstorm on how to be involved with families, with people of color, to build community, and be allies to each other, no matter what our socioeconomic status is, we need to talk. I am here.
Bryant: I am an advocate for small business, which is the driving force in the local economic ecosystem. The Evanston Local Marketplace is an inclusive economic ecosystem of institutions interconnected with local small businesses to keep dollars in the local economy. The concept was sparked while I was in Leadership Evanston, where I talked to local business owners with an interest in identifying new ways to collaborate and connect. They wanted to participate more fully in the local economy, while continuing to contribute to the community in concrete and quantifiable ways. The Evanston Local Marketplace is here to increase community economic health, create strong community bonds, and keep our money in Evanston.
I grew up working in my cousin’s health food store. I had firsthand experience understanding the impact of small businesses on the local community. They hire local, support the local baseball team, help schools – things that large conglomerates may not do. Because of what I learned growing up, I enjoy encouraging people to go after their dreams, no matter how big or unattainable they think they are.
I grew up in a community that looked out for everyone. I had mentors in my neighbors, at the corner grocery stores, my teachers, the barber; the community was invested in everyone. Now I live in Evanston, I truly care about the people, the community, and the businesses. I’m glad to be a part of a board that feels the same way.
For additional information about the Evanston Local Marketplace, email Bryant Wallace.