Greener Chicago

Climate change is real and we must act.

Greener Chicago

The Challenge

In the past, the Chicago River was used as a sewage canal, a shipping canal and, perhaps most famously, a dumping ground for the Union Stockyards. The Great Lakes near the city suffers from elevated pollution levels. Proper conservation and protection are required to protect the natural ecosystems across our region.

The Solution

The organizations in this fund have a long history of protecting the environments surrounding Chicago. The once-polluted Chicago River is thriving, with nearly 70 species of fish, countless species of birds, and wildlife such as beavers, muskrats, turtles and now even river otters, calling the river home.

These organizations have a vision for the region that includes a vast network of land and water trails, tree-lined streets, and intimate public gardens within easy reach of every city dweller.


1. Water ecosystems

The Chicago River runs through the heart of our city and the broader Great Lakes ecosystem defines the region.

2. Urban greening

We want to protect and develop the amazing biodiversity in the city, from planting trees to protecting wildlife in the Chicago region.

3. Education and access

Everyone in Chicago, young and old, should engage and appreciate natural surroundings and be informed about how they can help.

Our partners

The 3 Nonprofits

Together, these nonprofits implement a range of strategies - from urban gardens to protecting local biodiversity - focused on making our city more sustainable.


Friends of the Chicago River

Making the Chicago River one of the world's greatest metropolitan rivers.



Gardeneers is the only Chicago-based nonprofit providing full-service, customized school garden programs with on-going support. Each week, we provide schools with dedicated educators and garden resources to facilitate experiential learning, encourage connections with healthy foods, and ensure each garden’s unique success.



Founded in 1963, Openlands has helped protect more than 55,000 acres of land for public parks and forest preserves, wildlife refuges, land and water greenway corridors, urban farms, and community gardens.

Latest from Instagram

2 days ago - @gardeneerschicago

Tomorrow’s the day we will be heading out with @patagoniachicago for our New Belgium Fat Tire & Patagonia Outdoor Adventures. ☀️🌱🌻

Starting our day at their Mag Mile store our guests will receive a special 15% off their purchases. Then, with new gear in hand, we’ll head down to our TEAM Englewood garden to do a bit of work and see first hand the hard work our students have put in to that site. Finally we’ll head back north and end our day at Woodie’s Flat for some well deserved beers and apps courtesy of @newbelgium_chicago - We still have a few tickets left, $15 and all proceeds benefit our students and programs! See you soon! 🍻 . . . . #garden #schoolgarden #urbangarden #gardening #organic #eatlocal #growyourown #healthykids #chicago #chicagoyouth #local #organicgardening #urbangardenersrepublic #patagonia #patagoniachicago

2 days ago - @friendsofthechicagoriver

Great day mulching trees at Canalport with Henry Crown. These amazing volunteers moved 2 huge piles of mulch to over 60 trees in just 2 hours! 👀😲💪 ✨🙏🙌🏼@chicagoparks #volunteer #chicagoriver #teamspirit

3 days ago - @openlands.chicago

At McHenry County’s Fel-Pro RRR Conservation Area, you can enjoy the outdoors pretty much anyway you like. With options for biking, hiking, fishing, ADA-accessible trails, beach volleyball, and more, there’s something for everyone. Check it out next time you’re in the Cary area! Photo: @crystalfluff . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

4 days ago - @gardeneerschicago

Don’t forget this weekend is our Fat Tire Outdoor Adventures with Patagonia. 15% off at @patagoniachicago, refreshments provided by @newbelgium_chicago, a garden tour and little bit of gardening. All while directly supporting students and programs at Gardeneers! What could be better? The forecast is lookin fine😎 Grab your tickets in our bio and we will see you then! . . . . #garden #schoolgarden #urbangarden #gardening #organic #eatlocal #growyourown #healthykids #chicago #chicagoyouth #local #organicgardening #urbangardenersrepublic

5 days ago - @openlands.chicago

Located just over an hour’s drive from downtown Chicago, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is an outdoor recreation haven. It’s home to 22 miles of mixed use trails, it’s an excellent spot to explore for its history and ecology, and it’s now a home for a herd of bison. . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

1 week ago - @friendsofthechicagoriver

It’s everybody in on this #chicagoriverday! #trashtag #rivers #losethelitter

1 week ago - @openlands.chicago

The 948-acre Mallard Lake Forest Preserve in DuPage County features trails and opportunities for picnicking, boating and fishing, including two accessible piers and a boardwalk that's ideal for birdwatching! Check it out this weekend. Photo: American goldfinch by @eggnogskills . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

1 week ago - @friendsofthechicagoriver

Who’s ready for Chicago River Day tomorrow? We are, rain or shine! Registration is closed but you can still participate...go tho, click on the dragonfly, find a location and just show up! We’ll meet ya! #rivers #chicagoriverday #losethelitter #volunteer #environment #canoes #paddling

1 week ago - @gardeneerschicago

Looking for the perfect Mothers Day gift? 🌷🌱Well our teens over at TEAM Englewood have got you covered. Come by tomorrow evening and support our students with the purchase of tulips & daffodils ($1) or some lovely bouquets ($10-$20) and show the moms in your life some love! We will also have cookies, 2 for a dollar! 💐🍪😋 4:45-6:45, 6201 S Stewart Ave. . . . . #garden #schoolgarden #urbangarden #gardening #organic #eatlocal #growyourown #healthykids #chicago #chicagoyouth #local #organicgardening #urbangardenersrepublic

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Tip: people in your area give an average of $22.00 per month.
Why Monthly? These are more effective as they allow nonprofits to focus on solutions rather than fundraising.