Members of Northwestern University's Dance Marathon committee with Sara Schastok.

ECF is NUDM's secondary beneficiary

Through its 17 year partnership, the Evanston Community Foundation and Dance Marathon have awarded 298 grants to 128 organizations.

NUDM has given ECF $1,031,263 since 1998, making NUDM one of the foundation’s top four contributors.


Each year, ECF and Dance Marathon actively partner to unite ECF's dedication to helping Evanston thrive with Dance Marathon's successes in philanthropic fundraising and education. From the participation of the Dance Marathon's executive co-chairs on ECF's responsive grants committee, where they share their insights and experiences and select the year's grantees, to helping out at ECF's annual gala event, the Foundation benefits from the numerous hours provided by the DM committee and volunteers.


A few examples from the past year's grants made by possible through the partnership with DM include Evanston Scholars that mentors students in choosing colleges, and the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy where keeping young people out of the legal system is the mission.

timeline and successes

ECF first became a recipient of DM funds in 1998, receiving 5% of the net for a total of $17,000. Over the seventeen year partnership, ECF has expanded its capacity to provide grants, hired its first full-time executive director and launched the Every Child, Every Youth initiative. Also during this time ECF established new staff positions to direct community programs, expand fundraising capacity, manage finances, program officer to manage the responsive grants program.

Together, Dance Marathon and the Evanston Community Foundation’s grantmaking reaches many corners of Evanston. We support organizations poised for healthy growth—helping them transform to serve more people, more effectively and we look for projects that will support people on paths to better futures.

Most recently the Foundation leveraged Dance Marathon's original gift to attract additional donations and award its inaugural Community Catalyst grants — small, discretionary grants to not only respond to needs in the community as they arise, but advance strategic initiatives throughout the year.