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root2fruit boot camp 

root2fruit boot camp is continuing the legacy of the root2fruit program to build organizational capacity toward long-term sustainability in small emerging organizations.

The first cohort will be selected in late 2022.

background and overview

From 2002 through 2021, Evanston Community Foundation offered the root2fruit capacity-building grants and training program. The three-year program provided annual $10,000 grants along with four sessions of networking and training for the grantee cohort each year. During the 20 years root2fruit was offered, 58 small to midsize organizations participated.


The program focuses on small emerging organizations that envision becoming established in Evanston.

Eligible organizations must:

  • Be Evanston-based or have a significant focus on Evanston
  • Be less than five years old or have had paid staff less than five years
  • Have a budget of under $250,000
  • Either have established or be committed to developing the following:
          • Having paid staff               
          • Having a board that represents the diversity of the community
          • A commitment to building long-term sustainability ,for the organization to continue its work beyond its founder’s involvement
          • A 501(c)3 status or the intention of applying for that status

Selected organizations must commit to participation in training sessions by both the executive director and the board president, as well as two additional representatives of the organization. Additionally, the executive director and board president must commit to working with a coach assigned by the program.

program structure

Selected organizations will be part of a learning cohort for 18 months. The program includes:

  • A grant of $7,500 to $15,000 in support of organization infrastructure
  • One year of monthly learning sessions 
  • Individual organizational coaching for 12 months for a total of 12 hours
  • A mid-year retreat in year 2 to share successes and challenges and identify emerging challenges and potential solutions

application process

  • Applications are available on our online grants system (GLM).
  • Tell us briefly and directly about your idea and organization for all narrative questions. Do not worry about phrasing everything exactly right
  • Grant decisions are made by a committee of community members with nonprofit experience. The committee will invite a subset of initial applicants to participate in an interview as a second stage of the grant selection process.
  • Four to five organizations will be selected to participate in the 2023 cohort.

Please contact Jenny Valdes Del Valle, ECF Program Associate, if you have questions about the application process. 



Application available on GLM September 6, 2022
Information Session on Zoom September 14, 5-6pm
Application Due October 10, 2022
Interview Invitation October 21, 2022
Interviews week of October 31, 2022
Grantees Selected week of November 14, 2022



Introductory Meeting December 2022 (date TBD)
Monthly Training Sessions January 2023 through November 2023
Monthly Coaching Sessions June 2023 through June 2024
Cohort Retreat May 2024

application questions

  • Please write two sentences summarizing your organization’s motivation for applying to root2fruit. If your organization is selected, this may be used in ECF publications.
  • What have you done so far to get your idea and organization off the ground?

               • What staff and board resources does your organization have? What need to be developed?
               • What services or programs have you offered?
How have you generated financial resources for your organization’s work so far?
If this nonprofit developed out of a for profit business, tell us about the history of that business, who it has served, and the motivation for creating a nonprofit.

  • What needs, challenges, or goals is your organization meant to meet?
  • Why is this need, challenge, or goal important to Evanston and its people?
  • Are there other organizations or groups in Evanston already working on this need, challenge, or goal? How does your organization’s work differ? Do you think there are ways to work together with other organizations?
  • What are the estimated racial and ethnic demographics of the people you serve?
  • What do you think are the top two things your organization needs to work on to become sustainable?
  • What are your organization’s two greatest strategic challenges, questions, or issues?

Applicants are required to upload to the online grants system (GLM):

  • Roster of Board, including names, address, affiliations, and demographics
  • Organization’s current budget, including revenue sources
  • If this nonprofit organization has developed out of or in conjunction with a for profit business, the last year of that business’s financial statements