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meet the current root2fruit organizations

Building the capacity of Evanston's local organizations.

Since its beginning in 2002, the Foundation's root2fruit program has benefited fifty-one organizations, most of whom received capacity building grants for three years. These organizations are stronger. They have stronger boards. They've built their services. They've improved fundraising and development capacity. root2fruit made this possible.

building capacity and changing organizations

The Foundation staff works with all the root2fruit grantee organizations on an on-going basis. As organizations build capacity specific goals evolve. Designed to build the capacity of small to mid-size nonprofits in Evanston, root2fruit is more than the grant money, building a learning network of grantees and work with an advisory committee made up of experienced nonprofit staff and board leaders over a three year period. Over the years, root2fruit grantee organizations have seen significant improvement in their budgets, fundraising and development capacity, boards, and ability to build their services.

the current root2fruit cohort

In January 2020, the Evanston Community Foundation announced the recipients of the 2020 root2fruit capacity building grants. In this final round of the root2fruit program, two new organizations were selected for grants of up to $15,000 each, and each organization is eligible to receive grants for the following year, up to a maximum of $30,000.

This year’s new grantees continue ECF’s commitment to supporting the breadth and depth of Evanston’s nonprofit community. Actors Gymnasium works to expand human potential through the vital forms of circus arts. Puerta Abierta is a Spanish immersion early childhood program designed to help children enrich their language and experience cross-cultural development. Reba Place Development Corporation seeks to develop decent, safe, and affordable housing that demonstrates the strength of diversity.

Six organizations are continuing in the root2fruit program, with grants of $10,000: Actors Gymnasium, Puerta Abierta, and Reba Place Development Corporation for their second year, and Art Encounter, Hip Circle Empowerment Center, and Childcare Network of Evanston for their third year. All eight organizations participate in a learning cohort designed to help them build their long-term sustainability and impact.

One-year capacity building grants were also awarded to six root2fruit alumni organizations — Books & Breakfast, Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse, FAAM, FLAP, Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, and Reba Early Learning Center.

Class XVII (2019-2021):
Actors Gymnasium
Puerta Abierta
Reba Place Development Corporation

Class XVI (2018-2020):
Art Encounter
Childcare Network of Evanston
Hip Circle Empowerment Center


meet the prior root2fruit recipients

Over the years, root2fruit grantee organizations report significant improvement in their budgets, fundraising and development capacity, boards, and ability to build their services. For example, Meals at Home, which just completed its three year root2fruit experience, reports that their budget increased 38% and their meals served 65% during that time. Another recent graduate, Books &Breakfast, grew their budget by 150% and the number of elementary students served by 166%. “Because of this support, we have greater capacity to reach even more children in Evanston who serve equitable resources and outcomes in our schools,” says Kim Hammock, Books & Breakfast Executive Director.

For a complete list of the root2fruit organizations since 2003, explore our grantmaking history.