Early bird Celebrate!Evanston tickets now on sale here!                            

gala Bounty of Evanston
sets records

October 20, 2014 | ECF Press Release

At last night's festive event the Evanston Community Foundation raised over $246,000 to support its mission and programming.

The proceeds from this annual event surpassed recent records in sponsorship support and attendance by over 300 guests. The fall bounty-themed evening featured a dessert contest, a stage parody highlighting the Foundation’s many contributions to Evanston, and a live auction.

generous outpouring of support

"Not only have we reached our largest attendance to date, but this year we have our largest sponsorship support ever,” said benefit co-chair Mary Finnegan. “The contributions of our community partners and supporters tonight is truly inspiring. From the generosity of our donors and corporate sponsors, to the service of the Dance Marathon volunteers, to the talent displayed by tonight’s performers and hometown pastry chefs, this is a true reflection of the qualities that make Evanston unique.”

“Evanston is our home, our mission and our cause,” Evanston Community Foundation CEO Sara Schastok told patrons. “Because of your support we are able to invest in our community to make the good work of nonprofits better. We can support initiatives that make systemic changes to this community we love. We can train individuals to make a difference through their leadership. And we can connect private philanthropy to funding opportunities in Evanston. It all adds up to creating a more bountiful Evanston.”

Evanston's talents celebrated

A highlight of the evening was a humorous theatrical twist on the film classic The Wizard of Oz. Cast in “Wizard of EvanstOz” cameo roles were Jenny Avery of Next Theatre Company, State Representative Robyn Gabel (as Glinda), local music teacher and Evanston Township High School graduate Matthew Hunter (as Dorothy’s brother Evan Stone), Patrick Keenan-Devlin of James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, former ECF board chair Judy Kemp, local businessman Bob Reece, and actress Nancy Voigts Godinez.

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, a tasting party at the Spice House, an empanada cooking lesson at Lupita’s Restaurant, a beer and cheese party at Temperance Beer Company, and an East Meets West tour of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Elaborate and whimsical cake confections by several of Evanston’s top pastry chefs were on display during the cocktail hour. Guests voted for their favorite designs by dropping candy pumpkins into glass bowls. The tasty creations were sliced up for dessert, serving as the “icing on the cake” of a truly celebratory evening. Participating bakeries and restaurants presenting desserts for the competition included Bennison's Bakery, Feast & Imbibe, Hewn, Whole Foods and Quince.

Julie Chernoff, editor-in-chief at Make It Better, created a signature cocktail called “Vibrant Community” for the event. The delicious mango martini was a nod to the Foundation’s mission to help Evanston thrive as a vibrant, inclusive and just community.

NBC-5 Reporter and Fill-in Anchor Christian Farr (Skokie) and ECF Board Member Kevin Mott (Skokie) co-emceed the evening and led a live auction for a San Francisco getaway and a suite for 12 at a Chicago Blackhawks game. Guests also competed in an entertaining and enlightening Evanston “Heads or Tails” trivia contest.

gala made possible by sponsors and benefit committee

This year's Celebrate!Evanston gala, the Bounty of Evanston, was made possible with support from corporate benefactor Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, platinum sponsors Hagerty Consulting, IRMCO, Latham & Watkins LLP, and gold sponsors BMO Harris Bank, EcoTekk, Jenner & Block LLP, Make It Better, Nature's Perspective Landscaping, Inc., NorthShore University HealthSystem, Northwestern University, Pircher, Nichols & Meeks, and Presence Saint Francis Hospital. Silver and bronze sponsors include Edward Jones Investments, Evanston Now, Evanston Roundtable, First Bank & Trust, John J. Cahill Inc., Mather Lifeways, The Merion, North Shore Community Bank & Trust - A Wintrust Community Bank, Reed Smith LLP, Romano Wealth Management, Vinic Wine Company, Whole Foods Market Evanston, EvanstonHost.com, Farnsworth-Hill Inc., Mills Custom Audio/Video, Scott Byron & Co., Stuart Cohen & Julie Hacker Architects and Three Crowns Park.

The benefit committee, co-chaired by Lisa Altenbernd and Mary Finnegan, included Julie Chernoff, Diana Gourguechon, Joan Gunzberg, Kevin Mott, Patty Reece, Penelope Sachs, Gene Servillo and Keith Terry.

about the foundation

The EVANSTON COMMUNITY FOUNDATION, founded in 1986 with current assets of more than $19 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.