Read ECF’s 2020 Annual Report!

grants cycles

Evanston Community Foundation is excited to announce two new open application grantmaking programs for 2021 and beyond: Nonprofit Growth and Sustainability Grants and E-Town Innovation Grants. Both build on ECF’s 35-year history of investing in Evanston and on lessons learned from ECF’s extraordinary grantmaking over the course of the first year of the pandemic.

resources for all grants programs

Grant system: ECF manages all aspects of our grants programs through GLM, an online grants management system, from applications to evaluation plans, grant agreements, and reporting. Create an account and see all open applications (learn how to create an account).

Eligibility requirements: All proposals must address issues, concerns, or opportunities in the Evanston community. Any group or organization providing services to Evanston residents may apply for a grant. Applicants are either 501(c)(3) organizations, schools, or government entities or groups who have a fiscal sponsor that qualifies as a tax-exempt organization under Sec. 501(3)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. 

Community Innovation Grant eligibility also includes for-profit organizations, 501(c)(6) organizations, or faith-based organizations doing charitable work benefitting the general Evanston community.

Building the Future and Partners for the Future are by invitation only.

Review the Philosophy and Process, and download the Communication Guidelines

grant cycles

Our grants programs are organized by OPEN APPLICATION and by INVITATION ONLY. Learn about all of the grants opportunities here. 

open applications

Nonprofit Growth and Sustainability Grants support of an effective nonprofit community. Organizations can apply for these annual grants for either specific capacity building projects or for up to $25,000 in operating funds. One of ECF’s strategic goals is a vibrant and effective nonprofit infrastructure for the community, and we have supported capacity building for nearly twenty years through the root2fruit program, responsive and rolling grants, and Building the Future. In 2020, for the first time, ECF provided operating grants aimed at protecting the nonprofit community from the impact of lost revenue and the need for accommodations due to the pandemic.

E-Town Innovation Grants are grants of up to $20,000 for new initiatives, for collaborative initiatives, or for improvements to or expansions of current programs. This program builds on ECF’s long history of responsive and rolling grants supporting programs, often as seed money. Community Innovation Grants prioritize equitable opportunities and outcomes for BIPOC in Evanston. They work toward addressing community needs more effectively, equitably, or sustainably.

by invitation only

Collective and Enduring Initiatives continue from their beginning in 2020. These efforts bring together nonprofit organizations and other stakeholders to address challenge and change systems over the long term. Rather than an open application process, these grants develop out of collaborations and discussions among community stakeholders and ECF staff and leadership.