CHICAGO – The Trust for Public Land today presented its Land for People award, the organization’s highest honor, to Chicago-based Exelon Corporation in recognition of its deep support for parks, conservation and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Mayor Rahm Emanuel presented the award at the celebration luncheon in Chicago.
“The Trust for Public Land reserves this award for people and organizations that demonstrate exemplary service in creating parks and conserving land for people,” said Will Rogers, president and CEO of the San Francisco-based conservation organization. “Through its philanthropic programs, Exelon meets that mark by every measure, and the company has been particularly important to conservation, parks, and education here in Chicago.”
“Exelon is proud to support efforts in Chicago that not only help the environment, but also contribute to fostering healthy, vibrant communities for generations to come,” said Exelon President and CEO Chris Crane. “As a long-time partner with the Trust for Public Land in developing Chicago’s 606 trail, we are honored to receive this recognition for our efforts to make the city a safer, brighter, cleaner place for everyone to enjoy.”
In 2012, Exelon donated $5 million in seed funding for The 606, Chicago’s innovative park-and-trail project in a campaign led by The Trust for Public Land. This support created vital momentum for the project and helped it win an additional $50 million in federal grants. Opened in 2015, The 606 is today improving the lives of thousands of residents on the city’s Northwest Side. The Trust for Public Land estimates that 80,000 people live within a 10-minute walk of this revolutionary 3-mile-long park-and-trail system.
Continuing that support — and as part of its national commitment to STEM education — Exelon has been a major underwriter of educational programing along The 606. In 2013, the company created and funded the position of Exelon Fellow to work with the 20 schools adjacent to the park-and-trail system to integrate elements of The 606 into their curriculum. Programming includes workshops, field trips and research projects as well as after school activities on The 606.
“By supporting these park-based educational programs, Exelon is helping to create the next generation of Chicago conservationists,” The Trust for Public Land’s Rogers said.
Exelon, a Fortune 500 company, provides energy and energy services in 48 states, DC, and Canada. Last year, the company awarded more than $50 million in charitable grants in the areas of education, the environment, arts and culture and community development. The company’s commitment to public lands in Chicago extends beyond The 606 to also include efforts to bring new, state-of-the-art recreation facilities to Addams-Medill Park and Gately Park.