grants program guidelines

Since 1986, ECF’s responsive grants invest broadly across the community and in both long-established and new organizations and community groups that seek to improve Evanston. Reflecting ECF’s principles from its new strategic plan, the grant guidelines emphasize a commitment to equity, explicitly building on the Foundation’s long commitment to making the community better for all.

for invited organizations

Selected organizations were invited in early February to submit full proposals. The deadline to submit full proposals is Wednesday, March 1, 2017, 11:59pm. Funding decisions will be announced in May. The proposal requirements are described below.

philosophy

We make investments in organizations and projects that are poised to make a difference in the community by strengthening nonprofit organizations and their programs. Responding to a broad range of community opportunities and needs, we request proposals that show promise of strengthening the community beyond the grant period.
• We seek to make Evanston an equitable community for all residents.
• We strengthen the capacity of organizations to achieve long-term results.
• We encourage collaborative proposals that build and develop community resources and partnerships.
• We look to invest in work that will be self-sustaining after the funding period.

qualifications

• Any group or organization providing services to Evanston residents may apply for a grant. All proposals must address issues, concerns or opportunities in the Evanston community.
• Applicants must either be 501(c)(3) organizations, schools, government entities or they must have a fiscal sponsor that qualifies as a tax-exempt organization under Sec. 501(c)(3) of the IRS.
• Applicants must be able to demonstrate inclusive practices leading to diversity of their boards, staff and constituents.
• Applicants must seek diverse funding sources and have a plan to sustain their program beyond the term of the grant.

types of grants

Capacity building: organizational initiatives that focus on building infrastructure to support an organization’s long-term growth and development to better fulfill its mission (e.g. strategic plans, board development, staff development, technology upgrades, revenue-generating staff positions).

Program: continuing improvements to proven programs or projects that strengthen an organization’s ability to fulfill its mission and show long-term impact, new initiatives, pilot projects, bridge funding, and capstone funding. We encourage collaboration.

areas of interest

We request proposals addressing any aspect of the Evanston community including, but not limited to:
arts and culture, basic human needs, community development, early childhood education/early learning, education, environment, family support/counseling, health, housing, seniors, workforce development, or youth. We have particular interest in work that furthers:
• equity and access
• early learning and workforce development
Evanston Cradle to Career
• the goals of Evanston 150

full proposal requirements

Invited organizations should submit a full proposal by March 1, 2017, 11:59pm. Proposals are submitted online using http://evanstoncf.egrant.net.

Things to know about our process:
1. The text you submitted during the Letter of Inquiry (LOI) phase, as well as the answers you give in this second round, will be blended together to form a collective application that will be reviewed as a complete package by our grants committee.

2. If you wish to update your project budget or any of the other attachments submitted in the LOI phase (list of board of directors, fiscal-year budget with actuals, 990s), you may attach them at the bottom of the current application. Please email grants(at)evanstonforever.org to let us know you've updated these documents.

3.  Funding decisions will be announced in mid-May. You do NOT need to deliver hard copies of your proposal to the Foundation office this year.

4.  Applicants are asked to submit the following materials (download document):

PROPOSAL: PROGRAM GRANT REQUESTS
1. Qualifications: What resources, experience and/or expertise does your organization bring to the challenge your project seeks to address? What other groups or organizations address this need or challenge in Evanston? How does your organization complement these other efforts in Evanston? (1800 characters)

2. Focus: What is Evanston challenge or opportunity do you seek to address with this project? (2200 characters)

3. Methods: How will this project be implemented and what is the timetable (remember the funding period is July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018)? How will you reach your intended audience and/or recruit participants? (1200 characters)

4. Goals: What are the specific goals of this project? How do you plan to measure if your goals are being reached? What will indicate a successful outcome? (1200 characters)

5. Sustainability: How will this project be sustained after the grant period ends? (1200 characters)
Please also provide the following information:
   A. What percentage of board members, or governing body, has made a financial contribution to your organization in the last fiscal year? Please explain.
   B. Please attach a roster of board members (or governing body), including the city in which they live.
   C. Have you secured or are you seeking other funds for this project?  If yes, list each source and amount requested.

6. Collaboration: If you are collaborating with other organizations, please explain the collaboration. (1200 characters)
Please attach documentation that confirms support and explains the responsibilities of each partner.
   A. If this is a joint partnership, please attach a letter of agreement outlining partners’ roles.
   B. If this is a program that will be offered at a collaborating organization’s location or with their constituents, please attach a letter of support.

PROPOSAL: CAPACITY BUILDING GRANT REQUESTS
1. Qualifications: What resources, experience and/or expertise does your organization bring to Evanston? What other groups or organizations address this need or challenge? How does your organization complement these other efforts in Evanston? (1800 characters)

2. Readiness: Describe how your organization is ready to undertake this capacity building project? Why is this project important at this time? (1200 characters)

3. Methods: How will this project be implemented and what is the timetable (remember the funding period is July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018)? (800 characters)

4. Goals: What are the specific goals of this project? How do you plan to measure if your goals are being reached? What will indicate a successful outcome?  How will you measure if your organization has been strengthened? (1200 characters)

5. Sustainability: Will this capacity building project be completed by the end of the grant period? If not, how will this project be sustained after the grant period ends? (1200 characters)
Please also provide the following information:
   A. What percentage of board members, or governing body, has made a financial contribution to your organization in the last fiscal year? Please explain.
   B. Please attach a roster of board members (or governing body) including the city in which they live.
   C. Have you secured or are you seeking other funds for this project?  If yes, list each source and amount requested.

6. Vendor: If this is a project that will be undertaken by a consultant or firm, what was/will be your selection process? If already selected, please give an overview of the provider. If not yet selected, please explain how you arrived at the proposal request amount. (1200 characters)

evaluation criteria

The grants committee of the Evanston Community Foundation includes ECF board members, Northwestern University Dance Marathon co-chairs, and community representatives. The committee evaluates proposals according to criteria that consider organizational qualifications, expected outcomes and alignment with the Foundation’s mission and philosophy.

funding parameters

• Request amount may be between $5,000 -$20,000. Last year, the average grant was $10,300. Grants may be awarded for partial or full funding of proposal request.
• Grants are typically made for one year (July 1 to June 30). In some cases, a grant supporting a project that was funded in the previous year may be made in a second or third consecutive year if the applicant proposes enhancements to the project.
• Current and former grantees and/or previous applicants to any ECF grants program are eligible and encouraged to apply.
• We do not fund general operations; endowments; fundraising events or sponsorship of events; appeals for religious purposes (though faith-based organizations may apply for projects benefitting the general community); or individuals. We are unlikely to fund capital campaigns or one-time conferences, performances or events.

letter of inquiry

January 17, 2017, 11:59pm was the deadline to submit a Letter of Inquiry.

LETTER OF INQUIRY: PROGRAM AND CAPACITY BUILDING GRANT REQUESTS
1. What is your organization/group’s mission and scope of work?
2. Project Description (If existing program, include how this qualifies as a program enhancement).
3. The Evanston Community Foundation is committed to an Evanston that is equitable for all residents. We expect our grantees to share in this commitment. Please answer the following:

a. Does your organization or group have a written diversity/equal opportunity policy? If yes, please attach.
b. How does your organization’s leadership reflect the demographics of the community you serve to ensure diverse perspectives needed at decision-making levels? You may provide a rationale or action plan with steps toward diversity.
c. Do you collect demographic information of constituents? If so, how? If not, what are the barriers to doing this?

4.    Please attach:

a.    Project Budget
b.    Current Fiscal Year-to-Date Budget to Actual, and Prior Fiscal Year Budget to Actual
c.    Page 1 of two most recent 990s
d.    Optional: a brief budget narrative to address any significant variances

LETTER OF INQUIRY: CAPACITY BUILDING GRANT REQUESTS ONLY
5.    How will this grant help develop your organization?
6.    With this increase in capacity, how will your organization be positioned to better serve Evanston?

LETTER OF INQUIRY: PROGRAM GRANT REQUESTS ONLY
5.    Why are you undertaking this specific program? What impact in Evanston do you hope to realize?
6.    Who will be served by your program? How many are Evanston residents?
7.    How will you strive to ensure access and break down barriers of participation in Evanston?