ECF awarded four $5,000 grants in 2018!


Epstein Community Foundation awarded El Paseo Community Garden with a $5,000 charitable grant. El Paseo Community Garden is a community space and organization located in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. In 2018, construction of the permaculture food forest and pollinator habitat was started, and garden leaders collaborated with Horizon Science Academy, winners of last year’s ECF grant, to build five solar panel systems to power five different community gardens. In 2019, El Paseo leaders would like to design and construct a children’s play area and outdoor classroom in collaboration with a group of architecture students from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Congratulations! We can’t wait to see the new children’s play area and outdoor classroom.

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Epstein Community Foundation awarded The Kusanya Cafe with a $5,000 charitable grant. The Kusanya Cafe is a non-profit community cafe run by and for the greater Englewood community. They seek to provide a gathering place for neighbors, host a diverse array of resident-led community events, and provide a place for local artists and entrepreneurs to collaborate and showcase their work. Their next project is an Outdoor Concert Park and Garden which will accommodate larger events featuring local artists, makers, and community organizations. The lot will house a large stage (to be used for concerts, community yoga, and storytelling events), a shipping container pop-up store (that can be utilized by residents to share their goods with a larger audience, or to kick start local entrepreneurship), rentable garden plots for residents to grow their own produce, and a fire pit for neighbors to gather for stories and celebrations. Congratulations to The Kusanya Cafe!

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Epstein Community Foundation awarded Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.) with a $5,000 charitable grant. Y.O.U. offers free, high quality out-of-school time (OST) programs and integrated mental health services at eleven school-based sites in Evanston and Niles Townships. Their programs are trauma-informed, relationship-based, and offer innovative and accessible socio-emotional supports for underserved, low-income, and minority youth. The grant will go to purchase equipment for their state-of-the-art Makerspace in their youth center/headquarters. The lab serves 250 students annually through both daily programming and special events such as Code-a-Thons and LEGO Robotics workshops. Makerspace programming is designed to meet the specific needs of these youth by teaching practical, engaging skills and promoting aspiration-setting and academic motivation. Congratulations to Y.O.U.!

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Epstein Community Foundation awarded Chicago Mobile Makers with a $5,000 charitable grant. Chicago Mobile Makers is a nonprofit organization in Chicago that offers free and low-cost youth workshops encompassing design, architecture, digital fabrication, basic construction and place-making in Chicago communities. The Chicago Mobile Makerspace will be retrofitting a 12’ step van that will become a classroom, tool shop, design studio, gallery, community gathering space and provide plenty of storage for tools, writing and drawing utensils, laptops and larger machinery like laser cutters and 3D printers. Mobility and accessibility are integral to the success of their mission. Congratulations! We look forward to seeing the van in action.