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saluting Sara Schastok's
15 amazing years

July 10, 2015 | ECF Press Release

At the Salute to Sara celebration to honor Sara Schastok's legacy as Evanston Community Foundation's (ECF) first President and CEO, ECF supporters enthusiastically thanked Schastok for her 15 years of service and accomplishments on behalf of the community of Evanston.

Approximately 250 guests attended the Thursday, July 9 event at the new Evanston Art Center, 1717 Central Street, Evanston. During the event guests enjoyed appetizers from Curt's Cafe and wine from Vinic Wine Company.

event highlights

Judy Kemp, Judy Aiello-Fantus and Eleanor Revelle co-chaired the event. Former ECF board chair Judy Kemp said, "Sara has been a passionate advocate for the Evanston community and a remarkable first leader for the Foundation. She has provided a listening ear and wise counsel to nonprofits and community leaders seeking to increase capacity and develop partnerships for the common good. It's impossible to do justice to someone who has given so much to ECF and the community — but we hope by bringing together people who have worked closely with Sara over the years, she might glimpse the depth and breadth of her legacy."

L to R: Julianne Buck (President, Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations), ECF Vice Chair Diana Cohen, former ECF Board Chair Kendal Gladish, Sara Schastok, and ECF Board Chair Mike Brody.In true surprise-party fashion, Schastok was kept in the dark about the event details. The program was emceed by former board chair Kendal Gladish (Austin, TX). A video tribute compiled by Schastok's close associates and friends saluted her achievements and wished her well in her new ventures. Special guest Julianne Buck, president of the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations presented Schastok with six gifts representing community foundation regions around the state. Current board chair Mike Brody presented Schastok with a gift from the board of directors acknowledging Schastok's early career as a professor of Asian art — an original artwork by Evanston-based artist Indira Johnson.

endowed fund established

A highlight of the evening was the announcement of the newly established Sara Schastok Fund, an endowed fund created to build permanent assets to address Evanston's ever-changing needs. Board vice chair Diana Cohen said ECF supporters have pledged over $1 million to date in cash gifts and valuation of will provisions for legacy gifts to the fund in Schastok's honor.

be it resolved

Cook County Proclamation 7-9-15.jpgIn tribute to Sara, the Honorable Larry Suffredin, County Commissioner, sponsored the Resolution of the Board of Commissioners Cook County, Illinois. Said document closes "Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the Board of Commissioners of Cook County on behalf of the 5.2 million residents of Cook County takes great pleasure in honoring and celebrating the hard work, accomplishments and career of Sara Schastok and herewith expresses its sincere gratitute for the invaluable contributions she has made to the citizens of Cook County, Illinois."

about Sara Schastok

Schastok joined the Foundation as its first full-time employee and first executive director in February 2001, and was charged with separating ECF from Evanston United Way, building assets to sustain independent operations, and building the Foundation's visibility. Having grown ECF assets from $2.4 million in early 2001 to over $9 million, she was named President and CEO in 2008. ECF's assets today exceed $20 million.

Sara served on the leadership team for the Grand Victoria Foundation's Communityworks Initiative and the Evanston Cradle to Career planning committee as well as the steering committees for Evanston150, Illinois Early Childhood Fellowship, and the Pioneering Healthy Communities Intiative. She now serves on the community advisory committees of St. Francis Hospital and the Center for Civic Engagement at Northwestern. She was named Community Leader of the Year by the Evanston Chamber of Commerce in 2011.

The ECF board's search for Schastok's replacement is underway. Schastok advised of her intent to retire by the end of 2015, and intends to work with the board and staff to provide for a smooth transition. Upon her retirement, Schastok will serve ECF in the new role of Senior Philanthropic Advisor.

about the foundation

The EVANSTON COMMUNITY FOUNDATION, founded in 1986 with current assets of approximately $20 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.