More than $265,000 raised by Evanston community


Over 200 people attended a Friday night cocktail party thrown by the Friends of the Robert Crown Center (FRCC), raising over $265,000 toward construction of the New Robert Crown Library, Turf Park and Community Center.

“Our community is coming together like never before to give our children and people from every part of Evanston the opportunity to learn, play and grow at the New Robert Crown Library, Turf Park and Community Center,” said Amina DiMarco, Vice President of the FRCC board.

Team Evanston/Eleven United Soccer, AYSO Evanston, Evanston Youth Lacrosse, Evanston Baseball and Softball Association and Evanston Field Hockey along with ERA Lacrosse organized the event. Sponsoring donations from a 23-member event host committee raised $205,000 of the total take. On top of that, the event sold 101 individual tickets at $150 each for $15,150, with paddling and other donations raising an additional $44,900 to reach a grand total $265,050 for the evening.

“Oak Park right now has 310,000 square feet of publicly available turf, while Evanston has none. The three turf fields at the new Robert Crown are desperately needed and will serve soccer, lacrosse, tackle football, flag football, girls field hockey and ultimate Frisbee communities for years to come,” said John Berkley, a FRCC board member who also sits on the Team Evanston/Eleven United Soccer board.

Andy Tinucci of Woodhouse Tinucci Architects narrated slides of the stunning, glassed-in design of the $43.5 million project, which includes a new branch library, expanded and improved child care center, a multipurpose athletic facility on the second floor which is double the size of the current gym, 3 turf fields totaling 230,000 square feet of safe, durable playing surface and two NHL size ice rinks.

ABC7 Anchor and Evanston resident Ravi Baichwal led a spirited paddle raise that allowed FRCC to easily beat their $250,000 goal for the event.

The current Robert Crown Community Center is Evanston’s most used public facility with between 100-150,000 visits on an annual basis. The new center with its new Evanston Public Library branch, added child care space, technology center and indoor running track along with nearly double the size of gym and ice facilities will see more that 200,000 visits a year, or over 10 million visits over the 50 year plus life span of the center.

“Those 10 million potential visits make the New Robert Crown Library, Turf Park and Community Center the most impactful Evanston project built in the last twenty years,” said Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty, who gave welcoming remarks at the event.

Friends of the Robert Crown Center (FRCC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization formed in 2016 to spearhead community fundraising efforts, partnering with the City of Evanston and dozens of other athletic and community organizations on the project. The capital campaign that has already exceeded its initial $10 million goal and is stretching toward a new $15 million goal.