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.

For more information, please see our 2019 Program Brochure and Grant Application Form.

Applications should be emailed to karen.cotton@amwater.com by March 29, 2019.

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.