grants philosophy and process

We make investments in organizations and projects that advance the Foundation's strategic goals. Our mission: Helping Evanston thrive now and forever as a vibrant, just, and equitable community, the Evanston Community Foundation builds, connects, and distributes resources and knowledge through local organizations for the common good.

strategic goals

• An Evanston that is inclusive and equitable for all
• An empowered and engaged community that collaborates across sectors to define problems and work on solutions
• A thriving nonprofit sector
• Realizing the long-term sustainability of organizations and community efforts

who can apply for grants?

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. All proposals must address issues, concerns, or opportunities in the Evanston community. Responsive, root2fruit, and Rolling grants are open to all organizations meeting their guidelines. Communityworks, Building the Future, and Partners for the Future grants are by invitation only.

communicating with ECF staff during application process

While not a formal, or required part of an application process, we invite you to reach out to ECF program staff to answer any questions prior to submitting an application. During an open application cycle, specific office hours will be offered for application related discussions.

Upon the close of the grant cycle declined applicants are invited to speak wtih ECF program staff to discuss the grant proposal and the review process.

grants review process

Each proposal submitted to the Evanston Community Foundation is carefully screened and reviewed by a committee specific to that grant cycle. The responsive and rolling grants committees are made up primarily of ECF board members, with community representatives. The root2fruit advisory board consists of experienced nonprofit staff and board leaders, with backgrounds in management and development, along with ECF board members.

In each cycle, committee members read and review every grant proposal. Proposals are rated based on criteria specific to that cycle’s guidelines. The committee meets to discuss its assessment of proposals, selects the proposals invited to the second proposal phase as specified in some grants programs, and determines the proposals that best meet the guidelines and are the best investments of the Foundation’s resources.

Grants committees present their recommendations to the ECF Board for its approval.