The Woman’s Club of Evanston awards $175,000 to 17 local non-profit organizations


Julia Esparza/Daily Senior Staffer

The Woman’s Club of Evanston gave $175,000 in grants to non-profit organizations focused on mental wellness in the area. Recipients included The Harbour, Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute for Mental Health Education and The Warming House Youth Center.

Natalie Chun, Reporter

The Woman’s Club of Evanston announced the recipients of its 2019 Community Grants at the annual Contributions to the Community Breakfast on May 22.

This year, The Woman’s Club of Evanston chose 17 local non-profit organizations to receive funding from the $175,000 it raised this past year, according to a news release. The focus for this year’s grants was mental wellness for youth, adults and families through empowerment and education. At the breakfast, the beneficiaries for the organization’s major fundraisers, including its spring benefit, for 2020 were also announced.

The Harbour, one of the 2019 Community Grants recipients, is located in Park Ridge and provides emergency housing to homeless youth with a focus on safety, stability and personal growth, according to development associate Mary Burke-Peterson.

“We have been a past recipient of The Woman’s Club, though not for the last two years,” Burke-Peterson said. “We actually were the benefit grantee in 2015 … we’re thrilled to be welcome back, to be perfectly honest … we’re delighted to be in partnership with them again.”

The beneficiary for The Woman’s Club of Evanston’s 2020 Spring Benefit will be the Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute for Mental Health Education, which focuses on reducing the stigma connected to mental illness through effective community education programming, according to Executive Director Kate Mahoney.

The Institute, located in Chicago, plans on using the grant money to fund a new program called Teen Mental Health Academy. The academy would train teens to build more positive attitudes in order to be more effective in supporting peers who might be affected by mental health challenges, Mahoney said.

“They do really high quality fundraisers so they really spend the whole year planning their benefit,” Mahoney said. “So we’ll be working with them all year to plan a fundraising event that will happen in either probably late April early May of 2020 to raise the funds to help us launch this new project, and to really have an impact on adolescence.”

The Warming House Youth Center, another grant recipient for 2019, is a drop-in center for middle school and high school teens located in Wilmette. The center also provides structured programs like volunteering opportunities in the community, creative arts, drug and alcohol discussions, and counseling services.

Though the organization last received the grant from The Woman’s Club of Evanston in 2013, it has applied on numerous occasions to try and help fund its counseling services and structured programs, according to Executive Director Cynthia Doucette.

“We apply pretty regularly but it depends on what their funding focus is for the year, so some years we match better with their focus than others,” Doucette said. “But this one was on mental health and wellness and that’s kind of at the core of our mission.”

The Warming House Youth Center was very excited and grateful to be working with The Woman’s Club of Evanston again, Doucette noted, and hopes to continue collaborating in “both directions where possible.”

Mahoney added that the connection with The Woman’s Club of Evanston is one that the Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute for Mental Health Education also cherishes.

“It’s really forward thinking of The Woman’s Club to select mental health as their giving focus,” Mahoney said. “It speaks to how responsive The Woman’s Club of Evanston is to local community needs.”

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