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Article updated: 3/27/2013 11:33 AM

ComEd and Openlands Offer Municipalities and Nonprofits "Green" to Conserve Green Space

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By Brandon Hayes

Together with the Chicago-based Openlands, ComEd today launched Illinois' first annual Green Region program, a new open space and environmental grant program that offers a total of $125,000 in grants to Chicago nonprofits and municipalities throughout Northern Illinois to conserve open spaces.

ComEd will operate the Green Region in partnership with Openlands, a Chicago-based nonprofit focused on land conservation. Openlands will administer the Green Region program and distribute up to $10,000 per project to the successful applicants throughout Northern Illinois. The grants will subsidize existing open space projects at the municipal level that focus on conservation, preservation, protecting endangered species, and improvements to local parks and recreation resources.

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Chicago nonprofits and municipalities outside of Chicago that are interested in applying are encouraged to complete one application per project. Applications for ComEd Green Region grants are available on Openlands' website, openlands.org, and applications will be accepted until May 15, 2013. Applications will then be reviewed by a committee of environmental leaders.

"Openlands is proud to partner with ComEd and bring much-needed attention and resources to organizations working tirelessly to conserve open spaces throughout Northern Illinois," said Jerry Adelmann, president and CEO, Openlands. "Green Region grants offer municipalities and nonprofits essential funds to use in combination with other funding sources to cover expenses associated with developing and supporting their open space programs."

"This innovative program is a natural extension of ComEd's commitment to protect and conserve natural resources, and serve the communities where our customers and employees live and work," said Fidel Marquez, senior vice president of Governmental and External Affairs, ComEd. "Whether it's helping our customers save more than $400 million on their electric bills since introducing ComEd's Smart Ideas energy efficiency programs in 2008, to recycling 100 percent of our tree trimmings each year and sharing a portion with the Brookfield Zoo for animal nutrition and enrichment, we're always looking for new ways to save energy and save resources and we're pleased to offer the Green Region grant program."

ComEd Green Region is a multi-year initiative and a total of $125,000 in grants will be distributed over the next two years. During that time, Openlands will develop applications, guidelines and a scorecard to manage selected projects throughout Northern Illinois. ComEd and Openlands each selected individuals for a Green Region advisory committee and Openlands will define their roles and responsibilities.

ComEd Green Region grant recipients will be notified in September and will receive their grants during Openlands' 50th Anniversary Luncheon on October 25. ComEd is the presenting sponsor and will recognize the Green Region grant winners at the luncheon, which is the largest annual gathering of the conservation community in the greater Chicago region. Additional information on the 2013 Annual Luncheon can be found at www.openlands.org/2013luncheon.

Green Region was first established by ComEd's sister company, Philadelphia-based PECO, in 2004.

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