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updated: 1/16/2014 11:17 AM

ComEd and Openlands Offer Municipalities Cash Grants for Green Projects

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  • Example of a Green Region grant project from 2013. McHenry County Conservation District, Trail of History Woodland Restoration. "The project was so popular with the public that the District is planning a second large planting in 2014 to expand the Go Green Forest into additional areas cleared of oaks for agricultural in the last century," said Ed Collins of the McHenry County Conservation District, which received a 2013 Green Region grant. "Individuals and families planted trees on a wonderful sunny autumn weekend and were able to give back to the land in a physical way. Many participants were unaware that ComEd gave such grants and asked if it could be a regular District program each fall."

      Example of a Green Region grant project from 2013. McHenry County Conservation District, Trail of History Woodland Restoration. "The project was so popular with the public that the District is planning a second large planting in 2014 to expand the Go Green Forest into additional areas cleared of oaks for agricultural in the last century," said Ed Collins of the McHenry County Conservation District, which received a 2013 Green Region grant. "Individuals and families planted trees on a wonderful sunny autumn weekend and were able to give back to the land in a physical way. Many participants were unaware that ComEd gave such grants and asked if it could be a regular District program each fall."
    photo courtesy of Openlands

 
Tony Marusic

Green spaces in northern Illinois will be even greener later this year thanks to cash grants distributed by ComEd and Openlands. The organizations are partnering for a second year to issue a total of $150,000 in Green Region grants to municipalities located in ComEd's service territory.

Green Region is an environmental program offering cash grants to eligible municipalities for their efforts to conserve open spaces. The grants subsidize existing open land projects focusing on conservation, preservation, protecting endangered species, and improvements to local parks and recreation resources.

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Openlands, a Chicago-based nonprofit dedicated to land conservation, will again administer the Green Region program and distribute a maximum of $10,000 per project for each approved application.

Local municipalities interested in applying for a Green Region grant can do so by completing an application on Openlands' website, www.openlands.org. The submission window opens today and expires on Saturday, March 15. All applications will be reviewed by an advisory committee of local environmental leaders. Interested municipalities can apply for multiple projects, but must complete one application per project.

"Openlands is thrilled to offer municipalities another opportunity to participate in protecting and enhancing open space throughout our region," said Jerry Adelmann, president and CEO, Openlands. "We are already seeing positive results from the projects awarded grants in 2013, and we anticipate having more communities take advantage of and benefit from this program. Once again, this would not be possible without ComEd and their continued commitment to protecting our natural resources."

"We realize many municipalities throughout the region have to deal with budget limits that unfortunately undercut programs focused on the environment," said Fidel Marquez, senior vice president of Governmental and External Affairs, ComEd. "Service in the community has always been a part of ComEd's DNA. ComEd's partnership with Openlands is another example of our ongoing commitment to community service by protecting the environment, conserving resources and creating a more sustainable future. ComEd's investment in the Green Region program strengthens and enriches the communities we serve."

Successful applicants will be notified by June 15, and their grants will be distributed by ComEd over a two-year period. During that time, Openlands will monitor the projects by developing application, guidelines and a scorecard to track the impact of each funded project.

The Green Region program debuted last year as ComEd and Openlands awarded $125,000 in grants to 17 municipalities and nonprofits located throughout northern Illinois.

Additional information on the Green Region grant program and more images of projects that received funding in 2013 can be found at www.openlands.org/greenregion.

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