ENVIRONMENTAL GRANT PROGRAM
Our commitment to protecting the environment runs deep and we’re proud to support the efforts of local organizations that share our vision.
Established in 2005, our annual Environmental Grant Program offers funding for innovative, community-based environmental projects that improve, restore or protect the watersheds, surface water and groundwater supplies in our local communities.
We are pleased to offer assistance to community partners to help make a positive impact on the environment, and we encourage you to apply.
To qualify for Environmental Grant funding, a proposed project must be:
- Located within an American Water service area
- Completed between May and November of the grant funding year
- Be a new or innovative community initiative, or serve as significant expansion to an existing program.
Applications should be emailed to Katie.Fidler@amwater.com by March 31, 2021.
Illinois American Water’s 2021 Environmental Grant Recipients
According to Justin Ladner, Illinois American Water President, including the 2021 commitment more than $276,000 in environmental grants will have been contributed to 82 projects since 2009. He said, “At Illinois American Water Earth Day is every day. We understand how important it is to protect our water resources. Our environmental grant program helps organizations improve our waterways, raise awareness about the importance of conservation and promote community participation. We are pleased to support these worthwhile endeavors.”
Projects supported by an environmental grant must be completed by November 30, 2021. Illinois American Water’s 2021 Environmental Grant recipients and projects are described below.
The City of Belleville will receive their grant request in full for $9,865 for the Belleville Heart Garden Phase II project. Funds will be used to purchase permeable paving stones, fruit trees, rain garden plants and groundcover seed. This project will demonstrate urban fruit production and stormwater management. The fresh fruit produced by the trees will be provided to the community. The City of Belleville and Belleville Heart Garden will partner on this project to improve stormwater management and healthy nutrition.
HeartLands Conservancy located in Southern Illinois will receive a $3,700 grant for the Watershed Adventures and Discovery Experiences Program (WADE). Funds will be used to purchase outdoor education materials, an outdoor enviroscape model and safety supplies. The project aims to increase awareness about watershed health issues, and engage active stewardship of water resources. The project will provide a curriculum-based, outdoor experience coupled with community service and environmental science. HeartLands Conservancy is partnering with Madison County, MTN Dew, Alpine shop and local community members.
Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful will receive a $1,500 grant to support the group’s annual medication collection event in South Beloit. This event provides residents a safe opportunity to dispose of expired, unused and unwanted medication. Funds will be used to offset disposal costs. Medication disposal efforts help prevent the flushing of medications to protect the local water supply. These efforts also help decrease misuse and abuse of unused pharmaceuticals.
Live Well Streator will receive a $4,100 grant for the Streator Parks Placemaking Project. Funds will be used to replace two water fountains in Streator. The new water fountains will be bi-level and will include a bottle filling station and pet hydration station. Educational signage explaining plastic waste will also be installed. Live Well Streator is partnering with the City of Streator Engineering Department, Streator Tourism, OSF HealthCare, and City of Streator Parks and Open Spaces Board.
Urbana Park District will receive a full grant request of $1,920 to support the King Elementary School Butterfly Supportive Tree Planting Project. Funds will be used to procure eight trees, watering bags and place cards for tree species. The Urbana Park District is partnering with King Elementary School (Urbana School District #116) and students from King Elementary School will plant the trees.
The Peoria Park District will receive their grant request in full. A $1,000 grant will support the Illinois River Sweep. Funds will help supply gloves, trash bags, dumpsters and tire recycling. Illinois American Water has supported these efforts for many years.
The Sun Foundation located in Central Illinois, will receive a $4,500 grant to support the 2021 virtual Clean Water Celebration. Funds will be used to produce 15 additional documentaries. Through the documentaries, participants can explore ecosystems, see presentations by experts in their respective fields and experience local change makers. The Sun Foundation is partnering with Illinois American Water, Ameren, IVY Club, Environmental Education Association Illinois, Central Region Groundwater Protection Committee, Regional Offices of Education, Fox Tales International and Explorepeoria.com, and Greater Peoria Development Council.
Village of Elsah will receive their grant request in full. A $3,275 grant will be used to create a public space that incorporates wetland restoration, stream preservation and native plantings. The funds will be used to purchase small trees, shrubs and protective supplies. The plantings will help stabilize streambanks to slow erosion, trap debris and soil, and filter pollutants before reaching the stream and river. The Village of Elsah is partnering with Great Rivers Land Trust, Principia College, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and local volunteers.
Illinois American Water’s 2020 Environmental Grant Recipients
According to Justin Ladner, Illinois American Water President, including the 2020 commitment more than $247,000 in environmental grants will have been contributed to 74 projects since 2009. He said, “At Illinois American Water we know how important it is to protect our water resources. Our efforts include implementing green technology in our operations as well as partnering with local environmental stewards. The environmental grant program connects us with our environmental heroes and their innovative projects to improve watersheds, parks, prairies and environmental education. We are proud to contribute to their efforts.”
Due to the impact from COVID-19, grantees will have an extended timeframe to complete their projects. Projects should be completed by March 31, 2021. Illinois American Water’s 2020 Environmental Grant recipients and projects are described below.
Bolingbrook Park District will receive a $3,500 grant for the Phase IV DuPage River and Hidden Lakes Bank Stabilization and Habitat Enhancement Project. Funds will be used to purchase native plant plugs and coconut logs which will be installed along the eroding shoreline to absorb water flow and sediment. Bolingbrook Park District will partner with The Conservation Foundation, Starbucks Corp, Illinois Smallmouth Bass Alliance and Ulta Corp. The project will help improve water quality and local ecosystems which are home to hundreds of species.
Champaign County Environmental Stewards (CCES) will receive their grant request in full. A $1,067 grant will be used to expand the limited battery collection options available to residents. The CCES will provide information about recycling rechargeable batteries and hold collection events to collect old batteries. This effort will assist in providing safe and convenient collection locations and prevent these materials from entering water sources. The group will partner with Champaign County and Call2Recycle.
Conservation Foundation in Naperville will receive a $5,000 grant to work with the DuPage and Will County Forest Preserves, local communities and park districts to strategically place signs, pet waste bags and trash cans. These additions will help prevent waste from going into local water ways. Both pet owners and park patrons will benefit for years to come from this innovate approach to water source protection. Forest Preserve District of Will County, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Lower DuPage River Watershed Coalition, and Lower Des Plaines Watershed Group are project partners.
Friends of Fox River (FOFR) will receive a $2,500 grant to support expanding a water quality education and story mapping project. Funds will be used to create and print FOFR stream guides. The guides will be used during an in-stream experience. The FOFR educator team engages more than 5,000 teachers and students each year.
Nature at the Confluence in South Beloit will receive a $3,700 grant for environmental improvement efforts in the Rock River watershed. Funds will be used to clean the river and creek banks. Signage explaining the significance of the Kelly Creek watershed will also be created and installed. A new public use trail will be constructed. Nature at the Confluence partners with City of South Beloit, Friends of the Fox River, Rock River Trail Visitor Center and Welty Environmental Center.
Peoria Park District will receive their grant request in full. An $860 grant will support the Illinois River Sweep. Funds will help supply gloves, trash bags, dumpsters and tire recycling. Illinois American Water has supported these efforts for many years.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Peoria will receive a $5,000 grant to support efforts to decrease storm water runoff. The funds will be used to build a rain garden and create a butterfly sanctuary. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church will partner with U of I Extension Master Gardeners to ensure successful planning. When social distancing measures are lifted, volunteers from the Dream Center and local Boy Scout Troops will be engaged.
Urbana Park District will receive a $4,000 grant to support the Meadowbrook Park Habitat Enhancement and Floodplain Prairie Expansion Project. Funds would be used to plant native prairie seeds and expand the established prairie. Meadowbrook Park is one of the largest parks in Champaign County. The project will support water quality, stormwater infiltration and habitat enhancement.
Illinois American Water’s 2019 Environmental Grant Recipients
Including the 2019 commitments described below, more than $222,000 will have been contributed to 66 projects dedicated to water protection since 2009 via Illinois American Water’s Environmental Grant Program.
Artists ReEnvisioning Tomorrow, Inc. in Peoria will receive a $2900 grant to support efforts at the site to decrease storm water runoff. The funds will be used to build a native garden which will also be used for educational purposes. ART, Inc. is partnering with U of I Extension Master Gardeners to ensure a successful planting. Volunteers from the Dream Center and Bradley University will also participate.
The Bolingbrook Park District will receive a $5,000 grant for phase III of the DuPage River restoration project to eradicate invasive species and restore the wetland and shoreline. These improvements will benefit native birds, reptiles and amphibians. Funds will be used to purchase native planting, pollinator houses and duck houses. Volunteers will contribute via tree clearing, planting and river cleanup events.
Friends of the Fox River (FOFR) will receive a $4,000 grant for their environmental education efforts in the Chicago Metro area. Funds will be used to purchase several enviroscapes which are 3D models of a community water system used to illustrate impact of pollution, storm water runoff and more. FOFR partners with municipalities and school districts in the Fox River watershed to educate local youth. Their educator team engages more than 5,000 teachers and students each year.
Friends of the Rock River will receive a $3,000 grant for the Rock River Visitor Information Center and Rock River Walking & Birding Trail Development in South Beloit. Funds will be used to create and install learning features such as an exterior interpretive sign and an interior display to support the new Rock River Trail Visitor Information Center at Nature At The Confluence. Visitors will learn about the watershed and the importance of water stewardship and habitat restoration. Illinois American Water has partnered on several projects at the Nature At The Confluence including restoration and education efforts.
Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful in South Beloit will receive a $1,500 grant to support the group’s annual medication collection event to provide residents a safe opportunity to dispose of expired, unused and unwanted medication. Funds would be used to offset disposal costs. Medication disposal efforts help to prevent the flushing of medications to protect the local water supply. These efforts also help to decrease misuse and abuse of unused pharmaceuticals.
Lincoln College in Lincoln will receive a $2,714 grant as well as an in-kind donation of water testing through Illinois American Water’s certified lab in Belleville, Ill. The water testing is valued at over $3,000. These donations will support the College’s efforts to quantify agricultural runoff along eroded farmland and the impact of native planting. Students will participate in the project through valuable hands-on learning, sample collection, evaluating testing results and more. This is the second environmental grant for Lincoln College. Last year, Illinois American Water provided a $3,645 grant to increase watershed awareness, specifically stream-bank erosion along Sugar Creek.
The Peoria Park District will receive their grant request in full. An $810 grant will support the Illinois River Sweep. Funds will help supply gloves, trash bags, dumpsters and tire recycling. Illinois American Water has supported these efforts for many years.
Rolling Meadows High School will receive a $2,000 grant to support the school's new Agriculture Pathway with a focus on sustainability. Students will grow plants from seedlings using the school's new greenhouse classroom and transplant them. These efforts will result in a student-developed natural biofiltration system. Water samples will be collected to measure results and students will learn to better their environment. Environmental grant funding will support related field trips, plants and tools.
The University of St. Francis at Joliet will receive their requested grant in full. The $228 grant will be used to purchase rain barrels so the campus’ community garden can be sustain with rain water and visitors are educated about wise water use. The community garden is operated via donations from students, employees and campus visitors. The produce grown in the garden is free to all.
The Urbana Park District will receive a $2,800 grant for the Crystal Lake Habitat Restoration and Bank Stabilization Project. Funds will be used to purchase native shrubs. Volunteers will install the native plants. This project is part of an overall effort to improve Crystal Lake, one of Urbana’s oldest and largest parks. This spring the park will undergo construction for a new multiuse path, providing a critical resource to visitors, but disturbing the south-eastern portion of the lake bank. Installing native shrubs will ensure bank stabilization and benefit water quality and habitat restoration.
Illinois American Water awarded the 2018 Environmental Grants as follows:
- Foundation for Ohio River Education received a $1,000 grant to fund the Ohio River Sweep. The funds supply gloves and other materials to volunteers cleaning up the Ohio River.
- Bolingbrook Park District received a $4,000 grant for the DuPage River Ecological Improvements which focuses on removing invasive species from along the DuPage River and restoring the natural landscape. The project will reduce the occurrence of invasive species to less than 10% in the area. In addition, native planting will restore the natural landscape.
- Lincoln College received a $3,645 grant to increase watershed awareness, specifically stream-bank erosion along Sugar Creek. The funding will be used to install a boardwalk to make the area handicap accessible.
- Nature at the Confluence, Inc. in South Beloit received a $3,000 grant for the Kelly Creek Clean-Up. The project will engage community volunteers to clean up Kelly Creek, a major water asset on the Nature At The Confluence, Inc. property. Stream monitoring and water quality testing before and after the clean-up with measure results to educate about the impact of watershed clean ups.
- Pekin Park District received a $2,000 grant for the continued Lick Creek Watershed Invasive Species Control and Restoration project to eliminate invasive species along the Lick Creek corridor. Funds will be used to restore native plants to improve forest quality and help to control creek-side erosion.
- Peoria Park District received two grants for two different projects. A $730 grant will support the Heal the Hill Prairie at Forest Park Nature Center. Volunteers will remove invasive species and restore the bluffs, decreasing erosion and sedimentation of the river. An $875 grant will support the Illinois River Sweep. Funds will help supply gloves, trash bags, dumpsters and tire recycling.
- Peoria Playhouse Children’s Museum received a $2,000 grant for the Journey to Sea project. The project is a collaboration between the Peoria PlayHouse, Bradley University and The Sun Foundation. Together they will create a PlayHouse art exhibit to illustrate the devastating impact of plastic pollution on water.
- Senior Services Plus, Inc. in Godfrey received a $3,500 grant to construct a detention/infiltration bioswale and rain garden. This project is an extension of their initiative to grow their own food to feed local senior citizens.
- Woodridge School District #68 received a $2,000 grant for their permeable paver parking lot at Meadowview Elementary School. The project will decrease storm water runoff.
In 2017, Illinois American Water issued seven grants totaling $20,300 as follows:
- Foundation for Ohio River Education received a $2,500 grant for Ohio River Sweep supplies.
- Gifts In The Moment Foundation in Peoria received a $7,250 grant for the Urban Agriculture Rain Water Collection and Transportation System project, which uses collected rain and a portable water trailer to water community garden and agriculture sites.
- Heartlands Conservancy received a $2,800 grant for the Signal Hills outdoor classroom to support water quality and native habitat education.
- Hickory Creek Watershed Planning Group in the Chicago Metro area received a $4,200 grant for the Hickory Creek Environmental Interpretive Signs and Story Mapping project. The project raises awareness about best management practices within the Hickory Creek watershed. Three rain gardens were installed.
- Pekin Park District received a $2,000 grant for the Lick Creek Watershed Invasive Species Control project.
- Peoria Park District received a $550 grant to supply dumpsters and tire recycling for the Illinois River Sweep.
- Peoria Playhouse Children’s Museum received a $1,000 grant to support five water camp scholarships.
In 2016, Illinois American Water issued five grants totaling $15,000 to the following organizations:
- The Alton Community School District #11’s Rock Spring Park Watershed Restoration Project will receive a $4,000 grant for a bio retention system and rain garden to be constructed in an outdoor classroom area of Rock Spring Park to remediate storm water accumulation and resulting stagnant pools. Middle School students will be involved in the project based learning on the design, construction and maintenance.
- The City of South Beloit will receive a $3,000 grant for the community’s Nature At the Confluence Stream Team Programing, which will educate and engage residents in clean water and community revitalization. Programming will include citizen science stream monitoring, rain barrel & container gardening, watershed interpretive signage and more.
- Urbana Park District Douglas Creek Restoration Project will receive a $4,000 grant for a project that will restore native plants, trees and shrubs in the wetland and creek channel. Interpretative signing will be installed to educate Meadowbrook Park’s visitors about the important and impact of local waterways.
- Peoria Park District’s Illinois River Sweep will receive their full grant request of $1,500 to fund supplies for the annual Illinois River clean-up effort. Over 100 volunteers are expected to attend the event that removes trash and debris from the river shorelines.
- The Pekin Park District will receive a $2,500 grant for the Lick Creek Watershed Invasive Species Control and Restoration project. This project focuses on invasive species control and restoration along the Lick Creek corridor of McNaughton Park. Volunteers will be trained to remove invasive species along 15 acres of the Lick Creek Corridor.