meet our staff
ECF staff (L to R): Jennifer Moran ♦ Gwen Jessen ♦ Amy Monday ♦ Julie Villagomez ♦ Marybeth Schroeder ♦ Monique B. Jones ♦ Joan Ducayet ♦ Rebecca Cacayuran ♦ Jan Fischer
Monique Brunson Jones
President and CEO
Monique was appointed President & CEO of Evanston Community Foundation in 2015, making her the second president since its founding in 1986. Monique B. Jones is a visionary leader with an extensive background in mental health, youth violence prevention, philanthropy and systems change. She leads the Foundation in supporting local organizations in pursuing their missions through grant making, leadership development and capacity building as well as building permanent endowments to serve the community in perpetuity.
With 20 years of experience her career and civic interests span the intersections where the lives of those most vulnerable fall victim to structural oppression and inequity. She holds a B.A. in Social Work from The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and a M.S in Social Work from The University of Texas at Austin with a concentration in nonprofit administration and planning. In her spare time Monique serves on the Board for the Evanston Chamber of Commerce and the Local School Council for Suder Montessori Magnet.
Monique lives in Chicago with her husband and daughter and enjoys jogging, golf and traveling.
Missing the opportunity to work with Evanstonians who share her passion for bettering the community at large, Becca rejoined ECF in spring 2013. Broad-thinking by nature, she delights in overseeing community grants while providing ongoing learning opportunities for Evanston's nonprofit community. Becca often describes herself as a “recovering development officer,” having previously held the post as Director of Major and Planned Gifts, and Interim VP of Development at Planned Parenthood of Illinois’ (PPIL). Prior to her work at PPIL, she was Director of Development and Communications at ECF, and enjoyed previous development work at NorthShore University Health System (then, ENH) during its 2001 capital campaign.
Becca earned her Bachelors at the University of Illinois in Urbana/Champaign, with a Sociology major and Gerontology minor. She currently serves on the City of Evanston’s Creative Commerce Committee, and is a 2015 graduate of Leadership Evanston. Becca has lived and/or worked in Evanston since 2001, and is now a proud “Skevanston” resident along with her husband, two sons and rescue dog.
Joan serves as ECF’s communications coordinator. She is responsible for growing the public profile of the Foundation through community and media outreach, marketing, on-line communications and public relations.
Before joining ECF, Joan worked in secondary and adult education as a high-school teacher and speech coach. As an active Evanstonian for many years, Joan directed the 4th of July parade and served as the president of the board of the Evanston 4th of July Association.
Born in Gibsonia, PA, Joan came to this area to study English at the University of Chicago and then spent several years in New York City getting a masters degree in teaching from Columbia University. A resident of Evanston for more than 20 years, Joan and her husband have raised two sons who attended District 65 and ETHS.
Chief Financial Officer
Jan joined the Evanston Community Foundation in October 2005. During her tenure, the growth in ECF's funds, from roughly thirty in 2005 to more than 80 today, has expanded the scope of Jan's responsibilities beyond accounting and finance. She assists donors in establishing funds, facilitates grant requests, and calculates annual fund distributions. Jan takes on other projects as they arise, such as administering our fiscal sponsorships. She staffs our investment, audit and executive committees.
After receiving a BS in Accounting with high honors from the University of Illinois and passing the CPA exam, Jan began her career at Price Waterhouse. After four years in audit, she joined Boyden Global Executive Search, assuming increasing responsibilities as a search consultant and office director over the next twenty-five years.
Jan served on the Evanston United Way board, 1984–1987, during the exciting period when ECF was created, and was a member of the executive committee; she also served on the board of Chicago Commons. She has been active in School District 65 issues, serving on the D65 citizen’s budget review/recommendations committee and Council for Excellence in Learning, as well as on numerous school board campaign committees.
Vice President for Philanthropy
Gwen joined the Evanston Community Foundation as Vice President for Philanthropy in 2013 to lead its fundraising program. Her primary focus is building a major gifts program to secure commitments for ECF’s endowment through outright and future estate gifts from members of the Daniel Burnham Society. This work is based on building longtime relationships with donors and ECF leadership, e.g. current and former board members, local ECF boosters, and staff to bring more resources to the Foundation in service of ECF's mission to help Evanston thrive as a vibrant, inclusive, and just community.
Gwen has over 25 years of professional experience in fundraising, having spent most of her career at the University of Chicago. In her last role there, she launched the first major gifts program for The College, which she directed for 15 years. During this time Gwen managed the University’s capital campaign for the College, which exceeded its goal of $250,000,000 to support financial aid for undergraduates and student programs. Gwen and her husband live in Evanston.
Amy has been involved in many different capacities since she joined the Evanston Community Foundation in 2008, including communications, administration, special event planning, and fundraising. Now, her primary focus is attaining ECF’s yearly fundraising goals for the Annual Fund through direct mail appeals, donor communication and cultivation, and managing ECF’s signature annual benefit, Celebrate!Evanston.
Before her time at ECF, Amy was Major Gifts Assistant at Lincoln Park Zoo and Executive Assistant to the Director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. In her spare time, Amy co-founded and managed an off-Loop theater company for 12 years while becoming a first-time mother…twice! She earned her Bachelors at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, majoring in Mass Communication, and completed the certification program of Philanthropy and Non-Profit Fundraising at Northwestern University’s School of Continuing Studies. Amy enjoys graphic design, writing, reading, and playing Candy Crush. She lives in Chicago with her husband and their two children who attend Walt Disney Magnet School.
Director, Leadership Evanston
Since 2014, Jennifer Moran has been the director of Leadership Evanston, the Evanston Community Foundation’s signature program. Jennifer is currently involved in the community literacy solution design team of Evanston Cradle to Career.
A native Evanstonian, Jennifer grew up and raised a family in south Evanston. She spent her professional life as an early childhood educator. Working as a classroom teacher in both Chicago Public and in Evanston/Skokie School District 65, Jennifer has focused on connecting communities through active listening and relationship building. Jennifer is bilingual in Spanish. She helped to start the District's Two Way Immersion program (TWI), now in its sixteenth year. Jennifer is a 'connector' who believes in listening to good ideas, maintaining a sense of humor and emphasizing the positive.
Vice President for Programs
Currently Vice President of Programs, Marybeth Schroeder joined ECF in July 1999 as Director of Leadership Evanston. ECF then had little infrastructure, less than 18% of the assets it now holds, and distributed under $75,000 in grants annually. Marybeth has been lucky to be part of the Foundation’s tremendous growth of assets, programming, and impact. She served as Leadership Evanston director for 12 years, has managed the root2fruit grants program since its inception in 2002, and has been deeply involved in Communityworks from its development stage to the present. A leader in Evanston Cradle to Career since it was first discussed in November 2012, Marybeth is devoted to non-profit effectiveness. She brought a history of work in adult education, libraries, government, and nonprofits, along with a BA from University of Illinois and an MA from University of Chicago.
A devoted Evanstonian of 26 years, she with her husband raised three sons in Evanston schools and now enjoys seeing two granddaughters benefit from Evanston as well. A member of two book clubs, Marybeth loves to read (particularly literary fiction), enjoys theater, and is always happiest on a beach.
Julie has a broad range of responsibilities in support of our mission, including donor services, administrative support for the President and board of directors, and assisting the CFO with office management. Julie has a long background in administrative support services.
Prior to joining ECF, she spent seven years at the Pritzker Group and New World Ventures in a wide range of administrative roles, including reception and executive administrative assistance, database management and maintenance, accounting and office services. Julie is bilingual in English and Spanish. She lives in Evanston with her son. She enjoys jogging by the lake, cooking y le gusta bailar.