Relationship with NUDM
Northwestern University Dance Marathon has partnered with its long-time secondary beneficiary, the Evanston Community Foundation (ECF), since 1997. In line with NUDM’s goals of uniting Northwestern’s campus, the Evanston Community and the greater Chicagoland area in philanthropic fundraising, the Evanston Community Foundation is dedicated to helping Evanston thrive as a vibrant, inclusive and just community.
Since the beginning of NUDM’s partnership with ECF, the foundation has awarded 298 grants to 127 organizations, summing upwards of $836,000. Another $301,000 from NUDM is maintained by ECF as an endowment that provides tuition support for students in the Midtown Education Foundation’s programs. Northwestern University Dance Marathon’s two executive co-chairs serve on ECF’s responsive grants committee to share their insights and experiences and to select the year’s grantees.
The ECF Philosophy
The Evanston Community Foundation sees Evanston as its home, its mission and its cause, believing “everything we do begins with our community.” Community-wide challenges require community-wide solutions that can be created through investing more than just money but by making good work even better. ECF amplifies the good work already being done by going beyond grants: building connections, sharing what they have learned over the years and encouraging new thinking. The Evanston Community Foundation believes that the power of philanthropy is to shine a light on promising solutions.
“The right help at the right time strengthens programs, protects their future, and broadens their vision and reach.” – Sara Schastok, PhD, President and CEO of the Evanston Community Foundation
The Evanston Community Foundation looks for projects that will support people on paths to better futures. Some grant recipients include:
- A local coffee shop that offers young people who have been incarcerated a chance at a new future by teaching responsibility and life skills in a training program
- College process navigation and college readiness programs for local high school students who demonstrate a high potential for future success and might otherwise find roadblocks in pursuing post-high school opportunities
- Putting at-risk youth in contact with policemen, not in the courtroom, but in bowling alleys and on basketball courts to open dialogue and to provide an “in my shoes” experience