Read our digital 2017 annual report — Working Together for a Stronger Evanston

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 —2018 grants

In January, 2018 the Evanston Community Foundation announced the recipients of the 2018 root2fruit capacity building grants. Three new organizations were selected for grants of up to $10,000 each, and each organization that receives a grant is eligible to receive grants for the following two years, 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 — in its 40th year, Art Encounter’s mission is to educate, empower, and connect people of all ages and backgrounds through interactive explorations of visual art. Hip Circle Empowerment Center uses dance, fitness, and community activity to empower all women to believe they are strong, beautiful, and worthy of attention. Childcare Network of Evanston works to empower children and families through access to quality early childhood education, family supports, and a coordinated system of care.

Girls Play Sports, root2fruit granteeSix organizations are continuing in the root2fruit program: Evanston Work Ethic (WE) Program, the Institute for Therapy through the Arts (ITA), and Reba Early Learning Center for their second year; and Chessmen Club of the NorthShore, Girls Play Sports, and National Alliance on Mental Illness Cook County North Suburban (NAMI CCNS) for their final year. All nine 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 five root2fruit alumni organizations — Books and Breakfast, Cherry Preschool, Frances Willard Historical Association, The Lilac Tree, and The Recyclery Collective.

After receiving root2fruit grants for up to three years, these current grantee organizations will become members of the root2fruit alumni cohort.

Class XIV: 2016-2018
Chessmen Club of the NorthShore
Girls Play Sports
National Alliance on Mental Illness, Cook County North Suburban (NAMI CCNS)

Class XV: 2017-2019
Evanston Work Ethic (WE) Program
Institute for Therapy through the Arts (ITA)
Reba Early Learning Center

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.