Chi-Cal Rivers Fund Announces $1.3 Million in Grants

CHICAGO, Illinois (December 16, 2016) – Today Chi-Cal Rivers Fund partners announced seven projects selected to receive $1.3 million in grant funding that will improve and enhance waterways in the Chicago-Calumet region. With a focus on reducing stormwater runoff, enhancing fish and wildlife habitat, and improving public-use opportunities, this investment will support community-driven projects that benefit the people and wildlife in the region. Grant recipients will match the new grant funding with an additional $2.9 million, for a total on-the-ground impact of $4.2 million.

Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the fund is supported in 2016 with contributions from ArcelorMittal, Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, The Crown Family, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service. The grants announced today mark the fund’s fourth annual slate of grants, bringing the total cumulative impact of the fund over four years to $16 million.

“ArcelorMittal has a significant presence in the Chicago-Calumet region and understands the importance of water quality and corresponding habitat throughout the region,” said Bill Steers, general manager, corporate responsibility and communications, for ArcelorMittal Americas. “We recognize that our waterways are inextricably linked and reach beyond our state and political boundaries. Therefore, we are proud to partner with the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund to leverage collective investment in community-driven projects that will have a meaningful impact on the region’s water quality, diverse natural environment and communities.”

“We are pleased to be among the founding members of this innovative partnership,” said David Farren, executive director of the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation. “Bringing together private funders allows us to pool funds and leverage additional public support to improve the health of our river systems — all of us getting more done by working together.”

The seven grants announced today will improve stormwater management in the greater Chicago area and northwest Indiana; enhance public park space and improve access to the area’s waterways; and enhance and restore savanna, instream and riparian habitat along the East Branch of the Little Calumet and North Branch of the Chicago River. Collectively, the funded projects will:

  • Remove more than 26,500 square feet of impervious surface and install more than 21,600 square feet of green infrastructure
  • Add more than 234,000 gallons of stormwater storage capacity
  • Restore and enhance 195 acres of savanna, riparian and upland habitat
  • Create and improve 49 acres of neighborhood green space
  • Plant more than 10,000 trees to restore urban canopy

“The Chi-Cal Rivers Fund’s public–private partnership model harnesses the unique power of coordinated, regional grant-making to move the conservation needle,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The awards announced today demonstrate how the shared commitment of the Chicago and Calumet region can help restore and revitalize both communities and wildlife.”

The grants announced today are:

Little Calumet and Deep River Public Use and Habitat Enhancement (Indiana)
Grantee: Save the Dunes Conservation Fund, Inc.
NFWF Award Amount: $281,918
Matching Funds: $340,258
Total Project: $622,175

Improving the Cal-Sag Trail in Blue Island (Illinois)
Grantee: City of Blue Island
NFWF Award Amount: $300,000
Matching Funds: $1,824,122
Total Project: $2,124,122

Landscape-Scale Restoration at Middlefork Savanna (Illinois)
Grantee: Lake County Forest Preserve District
NFWF Award Amount: $79,542
Matching Funds: $100,050
Total Project: $179,592

Improving Green Stormwater Infrastructure in Midlothian Village (Illinois)
Grantee: Village of Midlothian
NFWF Award Amount: $150,440
Matching Funds: $171,200
Total Project: $321,640

Green Stormwater Infrastructure at University of Illinois at Chicago (Illinois)
Grantee: University of Illinois at Chicago
NFWF Award Amount: $251,848
Matching Funds: $251,997
Total Project: $503,845

Grand Calumet Watershed Tree Conservation (Indiana)
Grantee: The Student Conservation Association, Inc.
NFWF Award Amount: $127,418
Matching Funds: $142,565
Total Project: $269,983

Enhancing Migratory Bird Habitat along the North Shore Channel (Illinois)
Grantee: City of Evanston
NFWF Award Amount: $100,000
Matching Funds: $104,516
Total Project: $204,516

More information on the seven projects announced today can be found by clicking here.

Chi-Cal Rivers Fund partners plan to announce the next Request for Proposals in June 2017. For more information, please visit

About Chi-Cal Rivers Fund Partner Organizations

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores our nation’s wildlife and habitats. Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF directs public conservation dollars to the most pressing environmental needs and matches those investments with private contributions. NFWF works with government, nonprofit and corporate partners to find solutions for the most intractable conservation challenges. Over the last three decades, NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and committed more than $3.5 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at


ArcelorMittal is the world's leading steel and mining company, with a presence in 60 countries and an industrial footprint in 19 countries. Guided by a philosophy to produce safe, sustainable steel, we are the leading supplier of quality steel in the major global steel markets including automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging, with world-class research and development and outstanding distribution networks.

Through our core values of sustainability, quality and leadership, we operate responsibly with respect to the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, contractors and the communities in which we operate. For more information about ArcelorMittal, visit: or

The Chicago Community Trust

The Chicago Community Trust, our region’s community foundation, partners with donors to leverage their philanthropy in ways that transform lives and communities. Since our founding in 1915, the Trust has awarded approximately $2.3 billion in grants to thousands of local and national nonprofits, including $164.5 million in 2014. Throughout our Centennial year, the Trust will celebrate how philanthropy in all its forms – time, treasure and talent – strengthens our region and impacts the lives of others in countless ways.

The Crown Family

After more than 60 years of family grantmaking under the name Arie and Ida Crown Memorial, in 2009 Crown Family Philanthropies (CFP) was developed as a vehicle for a variety of family grantmaking. Crown Family Philanthropies environmental grantmaking supports efforts to value, preserve and restore natural ecosystems through innovative science-based approaches, emphasizing collaborative efforts which deliver measurable results.

The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation

Established in 1952, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation supports land conservation and artistic vitality efforts in the Chicago Region and Lowcountry of South Carolina. The Foundation seeks to foster land conservation through preservation, restoration, and protection of landscape-scale lands. Particular focus areas include the Calumet Region and the Cook County Forest Preserves. See more about the Foundation at

The Joyce Foundation

The Joyce Foundation works with grantee partners to improve quality of life, promote community vitality, and achieve a fair society. We focus grant making primarily on the Great Lakes region, and also have national impact through our program areas – Education, Employment, Environment, Gun Violence Prevention, Democracy and Culture. Joyce was established in 1948 in Chicago, and over the years its focus areas have evolved in response to changing social needs. The foundation has assets of $950 million and distributes approximately $48 million annually. For more information, please visit our website or follow us on Twitter @JoyceFdn.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) leads the nation’s environmental science, research, education, and assessment efforts. The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people. For more information, visit

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to work with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

U.S. Forest Service

Established in 1905, the U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Forest Service’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands managed by the Forest Service contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those lands also provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, valued at approximately $7.2 billion per year. The agency has a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres in the U.S. including 100 million acres in urban areas where most Americans live. For more information, visit