we are partners for community change

ECF joins with nonprofit and other partners to build meaningful collaborations and create change. APPLY

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 Cradle to Career, Joining Forces for Affordable Housing

Ongoing impact partnerships: Evanston150, EvanstARTs

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.


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.


evanstARTs_small.jpgIn 2013, the City of Evanston asked ECF to collaborate on evanstARTs, an initiative to explore community perspectives on arts offerings and facilities, as well as on how to support the arts. Together, the City, the Evanston Arts Council, and ECF put together a working group, chaired by former ECF board chair and local arts leader Judy Kemp. They worked with consultant Amina Dickerson, who facilitated the process. Over 750 individuals shared their perspectives on how Evanston can retain its arts organizations, attract new talent to exhibit and perform here, and strengthen the arts in our community.

The Working Group developed a vision and roadmap to achieve it and presented to the City Council on March 18, 2013 (Executive Summary). The City of Evanston kicked off its work to achieve that vision by hiring Jennifer Lasik to serve as Cultural Arts Coordinator.

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.