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Posted May 15, 2017

Annual Report: Evanston Community Foundation embraces change in 2016

For over thirty years, Evanston Community Foundation has invested in not-for-profit organizations that help Evanston thrive as a vibrant, just, and inclusive community. As ECF has long proclaimed, “We’re here for good.”

While ECF has no plans to change its mission, the past year offered an opportunity for leadership to consider the organization’s future. 2016 was the first full year in office for President and CEO Monique B. Jones, who led the foundation to develop a new strategic plan.

The plan, based on listening closely to members of the community, articulates four very significant principles for the next thirty years:

  • We listen first.
  • Sustainability is critical.
  • We focus on equity.
  • Our leadership is in service to the community.

The 2016 annual report not only explains why these values are so important for ECF’s evolution, but also illustrates them with powerful examples: three nonprofits which have benefitted greatly from ECF’s root2fruit sustainability initiative; the lasting gifts of founding donors like Edna and Larry TerMolen; and the rich civic engagement and attention to equity facilitated by the Leadership Evanston program (now celebrating 25 years).

The print version celebrates this pivotal moment in ECF’s history with a continuing shift toward a more colorful palette and candid photography. Most exciting is the premier of an interactive online version of the annual report, in which nearly every static image comes to life as video, giving voice to many of the passionate people we met in print.

With the enthusiastic support and collaboration of Monique and the entire ECF team, we strove to create a cross-media report that felt authentic and alive — and as much about the community as it was about the foundation.

Even so, we love to sing their praises. Since its founding in 1986, ECF has invested a total of $6.9 million to support work in areas like early childhood education, youth and education, arts and humanities, family support and counseling, community development, basic human needs, and housing. In 2016 alone, grants and distributions totaled $1,328,536.

That’s leadership in service to the community — sustainable, equitable, and with real impact. Here’s to another thirty years.