we are partners for community change

ECF joins with nonprofit and other partners to build meaningful collaborations and create change. Apply for Cradle to Career grants.

Community challenges can’t be solved by one organization or individual. Meaningful change comes when organizations join together to create shared goals and shared work. ECF is often one of the early partners at the table, helping to seed ideas and ways to work together to improve Evanston and the lives of its people.

Current partnerships: Evanston Care NetworkEvanston Cradle to Career, Joining Forces for Affordable Housing

Ongoing impact partnerships: Climate Action Relience ProjectEvanston150

Evanston Care Network

EvCareN-75x75.pngWhen Covid struck our community it was clear that many of our residents needed access to free and/or low cost services immediately. ECF quickly deployed a collaborative partnership between Evanston 311, the Evanston Public Library, Amita Health, and the City of Evanston to offer the Evanston Care Network to our nonprofits and residents.

Evanston Care Network is an online social care network, powered by nationally-recognized Aunt Bertha, and created to connect people to available resources here in Evanston. The primary goal of this free service is to break down the often difficult and time-consuming task of matching residents in need with reliable, local providers.

Anyone has access to the database and can easily search by specific zip code on topics including food, housing, work, childcare, health care, financial assistance, and more in over 100 languages. The Evanston Care Network provides a powerful tool to connect people to services they need to help them during the challenges presented during COVID-19 and beyond.

The video below gives an overview of the Evanston Care Network. 

Evanston Cradle to Career (EC2C)

ec2c_partner_badge_color_165px.pngStarting in the fall of 2012, ECF and Evanston Township High School (ETHS) convened a wide array of nonprofit, education, and government organizations to discuss establishing a collective impact effort to move the needle on a specific but complex community problem — mobilizing our community’s assets to ensure that all Evanston children will be ready to have productive, healthy lives by the age of 23. This effort became Evanston Cradle to Career (EC2C), a coalition of over 40 nonprofits and other organizations, as well as community residents.

ECF has remained deeply involved in this effort. Beginning in 2017, ECF serves as the fiscal sponsor for the work. ECF staff serve on the leadership team and the operations team, as well as working on action teams. Additionally, ECF manages the grants process distributing funds from the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago to EC2C partners.

Since 2019, Community Building Grants are available twice annually to Evanston residents and small volunteer-based neighborhood and community groups through EC2C’s Advocates for Action. Grants can range from $250 to $1000. Advocates For Action is a community leadership council formed by Evanston Cradle to Career. Advocates For Action advocate for systemic equity, take action on issues impacting our community, and pursue life-enhancing opportunities for Evanston families. Learn more or apply.

Joining Forces for Affordable Housing

Joining_Force_logo.pngConnections for the Homeless is leading an advocacy coalition focused on working to improve access to housing that is safe, stable, and affordable. ECF is one of over 30 member organizations in Joining Forces for Affordable Housing. The coalition works to increase the number of affordable housing units and ensure that community members have sufficient income to support available housing, access to education and training necessary to have that income, and access to affordable health care.

mayor’s Climate Action Resilience Plan working group (CARP)

CityOfEvanston_logo.pngIn November 2018, the final draft of the Climate Action and Resilience Plan (CARP) was made public. The Climate Action and Resilience Plan (CARP) Working Group was formed in late 2017, and part of the planning process is for City Sustainability Coordinator Kumar Jensen to share information on climate change and its likely impact on Evanston with the community and solicit feedback, concerns, and ideas to be used in the planning process. ECF hosted a community session for Leadership Evanston alumni, as well as inviting Jensen to a Leadership Evanston session, and also convened a meeting for nonprofits to think about how climate change is likely to impact their constituents.


Evanston150-190x95.pngAs Evanston approached its 150th birthday in 2013, Evanston History Center staffer Lori Osborne came to the Foundation with the idea of creating something more than a party to celebrate. Together, the idea of using the anniversary to have residents develop visions for Evanston’s future was launched. A creative team of Evanston community and organizational leaders was brought together in 2010. ECF served as fiscal sponsor and staff participated in the leadership team.

In 2011, a six-month community-wide effort generated over 2000 great ideas for Evanston’s next stage. A jury narrowed these down to the 10 best, many of which continue to have impact in Evanston. Learn more

video overview of Evanston Care Network