Doing more than just keeping the lights on
Supporting the environment, safety and accessibility of arts and cultural offerings for underserved audiences is essential for a thriving community. Through a trio of grant programs – Green Region, Powering Safe Communities and Powering the Arts – ComEd recently awarded a total of $470,000 to more than 60 public agencies and nonprofits to support communities throughout northern Illinois.
Green Region Program: Supports habitats and other open space projects
ComEd and Openlands, a conservation organization that protects the environment, partnered to create the Green Region Program. Grants from the program will help communities plan, acquire and improve local parks, natural areas and recreation resources. Due to recent decline in pollinators throughout northern Illinois, several grants focus on enhancing pollinator habitats and protecting pollinator species, such as butterflies and bees.
Among the 26 projects awarded grants:
• The city of Genoa will improve access to and around Citizens Park by paving access roads and nature trails leading to native prairies, wetlands and the DeKalb County Forest Preserve.
• The village of Round Lake will remove invasive plant species and repopulate areas with native plants to create educational opportunities, enhance public spaces and increase pollinator habitats.
Powering Safe Communities Program: Enhances public safety in communities
ComEd and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, a council of governments that fosters collaboration to improve the quality of life for communities, partnered to create the Powering Safe Communities Program. From digital messaging and speed notification signage to cameras that help locate victims in danger, the grants support the projects that address critical safety needs.
Among the 25 projects awarded grants:
• The Amboy fire protection district will purchase two thermal imaging cameras to help locate victims and firefighters trapped in fires.
• The village of Hazel Crest will help replace the police department’s outdated radios through the purchase of four public-safety, all-weather radios. The purchase will assist the department in reaching its goal of outfitting its first responders with 40 radios.
Powering the Arts Program: Supports local arts and cultural institutions
Recognizing that access to the arts enhances local communities, ComEd and the League of Chicago Theatres, an organization that supports and advocates for Chicago theatre, partnered to create the Powering the Arts Program.
From local performing arts troupes to galleries and theatres, each grantee has proposed at least one unique project to support the expansion of arts and cultural offerings for under served audiences.
Among the 13 projects awarded grants:
• Citadel Theatre in Lake Forest will fund the Citadel Cares program, which makes live theatre and theatre education more accessible to minorities, the military and low-income families.
• Warehouse Project & Gallery in Summit will support the traveling performance group Living Out Loud, comprised primarily of youth of color from underserved and under-resourced communities.