Evette Cardona is Vice President of Programs of Polk Bros. Foundation, a private independent foundation working to make Chicago a place where all people have the opportunity to reach their full potential. She oversees the Foundation’s day-to-day grantmaking and makes recommendations to the board of directors.
Before joining the Foundation as a program intern in 1997, Evette worked with adolescent mothers and their children at Christopher House as the program coordinator, overseeing peer support groups, training group facilitators, and developing outreach and evaluation materials. She was also a teaching-artist for Urban Gateways, grades K-12, and did freelance photography/audio-visual work.
Evette is chair of the board of directors of Forefront, and has been honored with numerous awards for her community work including the Center on Halsted’s Human First award, ACLU/Chicago’s John R. Hammel Award, Mujeres Latinas en Accion’s Maria “Maruca” Martinez award, Illinois Women’s Bar Association’s Women with Vision award, and leadership awards from Latinos Progresando, the Illinois Association of Hispanic State Employees, the Near Northwest Neighborhood Network, the Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European, Latino Immigrants of Illinois, Literacy Powerline and the Association of Latino Men For Action. She was inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in 2002. Evette is a graduate of the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, where she received the 2010 U of C’s Leadership in Diversity Alumni award, the 2008 Elizabeth Butler award for outstanding professional success and achievement in social work, and where she teaches a course in philanthropy and public policy. She also holds a BA in Art and Design from University of Illinois at Chicago.