ecf-30-button-150x150.jpgLOOKING FORWARD — ECF's 2017 Strategic Plan

grants philosophy and process

The Evanston Community Foundation’s grants are selected to support our mission of ensuring that Evanston is a vibrant, inclusive, and just community.

seeking grants

Our grantmaking philosophy guides us to:

  • Seek investments most likely to have a long term impact.
  • Respond to a broad range of community needs and opportunities.
  • Fund projects that show promise of strengthening the community beyond the grant period. 
  • Strengthen the capacity of organizations to deliver results over the long term.
  • Encourage collaborative proposals to develop community resources and partnerships. 
  • Invest in Evanston’s future through strategic initiatives offering maximum impact.

what organizations can apply for grants?

Any group or organization providing services to Evanston residents may apply for a grant. Responsive and root2fruit grant are open to all organizations meeting their guidelines. Communityworks, Community Catalyst, and Partners for the Future grants are by invitation only. Applicants must either be 501(c)(3) organizations, schools, or government entities or must 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.

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 grants committee is made up primarily of ECF board members, with some community representatives. The root2fruit advisory board consists of experienced nonprofit staff and board leaders, with backgrounds in management and development, along with some ECF board members. 

In each cycle, committee members read and review each grant proposal. Proposals are rated based on criteria specific to that cycle’s guidelines. The committee then meets to discuss their assessment of proposals and determine the proposals that best meet those guidelines and are the best investments of the Foundation’s resources. In the root2fruit cycle, a group of finalists is selected to be interviewed by the root2fruit advisory board before a final selection of grantees is made.

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