NBN sat down with the President and CEO of the Evanston Community Foundation, Monique Jones, right before NUDM 2018 officially kicked off. Jones has been in her position since 2015, but EFC has been the secondary beneficiary of NUDM for decades. Here's what she had to say about this year's event.
NBN: How would you describe what Evanston Community Foundation does for the community?
Monique Jones: We are largely a grant-making entity, but we also help our non-profit organizations sustain and grow – it's capacity-building work. We function as an investment vehicle for people who really want to make investments inside of Evanston, so we keep their endowment, we help it grow and we help them decide where to invest inside of Evanston.
NBN: How many years has your organization been working with Dance Marathon?
Jones: We are in our 22nd year. Very exciting – our 22nd year as their secondary beneficiary.
NBN: What are you looking forward to the most being in the 22nd year?
Jones: The growth opportunities to help Northwestern students connect more with Evanston, which has happened this year, but we're seeing it in a place where they want to express their philanthropy and get hands-on volunteer opportunities. The more students we can get to realize how fabulous Evanston is will probably stay here, come back here and volunteer on a long-term basis.
NBN: How does the money you receive from DM help the community and your organization?
Jones: We have received $1.14 million in our 22 years from Dance Marathon. The majority of that does go back right out into grants for non-profit organizations and a little bit of it stays at the foundation to help fund some of my staff positions. My vice president of programs, which works directly with the students at Northwestern – it helps fund her position. So it does a lot of different things and we would not be able to do so much that we have without it.
NBN: What are you most excited about for the upcoming 30 hours?
Jones: Oh, my Lord. So I get the opportunity to help kick off the dance. But I'm excited, actually, at the end of it all, to see the faces, and sometimes the tears, of the students when they realize how much they've accomplished.
NBN: If you were in college, do you think you would be able to dance for 30 hours?
Jones: Not at all. I would try, but I would probably have to buy some naps and get some massages. One year, though, maybe my daughter will be here and you guys will still be doing it and I'll encourage her to do it.