RFP: 15 grants available for community-led revitalization of Chicago’s riverfronts

The Chicago Community Trust is now accepting proposals for community-led projects with a direct impact on Chicago’s river system, incorporating elements of two or more of the Trust’s funding arenas—sustainable development, economic development, public health, arts & culture—in an integrated, innovative, powerful way.

The Trust will fund up to 15 grants, with each ranging from $25,000-100,000.

In August 2016, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Trust and other civic, government, and community leaders, publicly launched the Great Rivers Chicago, marking the beginning of an era of bold thinking for Chicago’s river system and the 150+ miles of property that lines its banks.

After that public launch, the Trust issued its first call for proposals from communities with ideas for their stretch of the system. In September 2017, 10 ideas were awarded grants totaling $800,000.

Now, in its second year, Trust is again calling for community-led proposals that align with the Our Great Rivers Vision. In order to qualify for funding, projects must incorporate elements of two or more of these funding arenas in an integrated, innovative, powerful way:

  • Sustainable development: Catalytic activities in the built and natural environments that improve the lives of people and habitats while contributing positively to the economy.
  • Economic development: High-impact economic initiatives that support local asset development, economic retention and repurposing, and sustainable business growth that is inclusive, particularly for low-wealth communities experiencing disinvestment.
  • Public health: Collaborative efforts that address environmental, physical and mental health, and build a culture of health through organized community efforts.
  • Arts and culture: Creative endeavors that improve the quality of life of people by diversifying cultural options and expanding access in under-resourced communities.

Proposals must also align with one or more themes of the Our Great Rivers Vision:

  • Inviting Rivers: Enhancements to infrastructure, information and programming will make our rivers more intuitive, meaningful and exciting places to be, drawing more people for recreation, work and relaxation.
  • Productive Rivers: They have historically been and will continue to be working rivers that are transportation arteries, commercial corridors and tourism generators.
  • Living Rivers: From riverbeds to shorelines, plants, animals and people will co-exist in vibrant, healthy ecosystems.

Proposals are due no later than midnight on June 3, 2018. Late or incomplete proposals will not be considered.

Photo of Chicago’s DuSable bridge at twilight via Adobe Stock.

See full RFP here.

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