The Foundation’s mission is to support projects that improve energy efficiency, advance the development, and use of renewable energy resources, and to protect natural areas and wildlife habitat in communities throughout Illinois. Since the Foundation’s beginning, it has supported over 3,600 energy efficiency projects, over 700 renewable energy projects, and more than 690 natural areas projects. The energy program grants have demonstrated that adopting energy efficiency measures and using renewable energy resources makes both environmental and financial sense. The Foundation’s natural areas grants have protected more than 33,000 acres of natural areas and wildlife habitat.
The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has been making grants for the past 22 years. Since making its first grant the Foundation has awarded more than 5,700 grants. Due to a variety of circumstances, 650 grants were canceled by the grantees before beginning the projects. Five thousand (5,000) of the remaining grants were completed successfully. The Foundation has distributed $293 million to grantees upon completion of their projects. As of December 31, 2022, the Foundation had an obligation of $21 million on its books pending completion of 158 ongoing projects.
The Foundation’s innovative Net Zero Energy Building Program (NZEBP) continues to attract strong interest. Net Zero Buildings take a holistic approach, combining high-performance design principles, energy efficiency, renewable energy technology, and careful construction. Net Zero Buildings use on-site renewable energy resources to offset the energy drawn from the grid by the building on an annual basis. The Net Zero Energy Program was created to demonstrate that Net Zero Buildings are feasible in Illinois and to inspire a shift in the building sector through these lasting demonstrations of exceptional energy-efficient structures.
The Foundation has awarded 16 NZEBP grants including three Net Zero Wastewater Treatment Plants between December 2016 and December 2022. Eight building projects have completed construction, are occupied, and six projects have completed 12 months of net zero Operation and two buildings are in the 12-month building performance monitoring phase to attain net zero operation. Two of the Wastewater Treatment Plants have completed 12 consecutive months of net zero operation.
With Foundation support, the Downers Grove Sanitary District in 2019 became the first net zero wastewater treatment plant in Illinois. Recently, the Village of Port Byron plant completed twelve consecutive months of net zero operations.
Natural Areas Programs
Projects supported through our Natural Areas programs have protected more than 33,000 acres of natural areas and wildlife habitat that are now available for the public to enjoy. In addition to assisting grantees to protect natural areas through acquisition the Foundation has provided several conservation organizations assistance enabling them to strengthen their organizations, steward their preserves and develop additional resources to care for their land.
The Foundation’s Natural Areas program continued to be active in 2022 awarding 42 grants. The total value of the grants awarded is $17.9 million.
Seventeen Land Acquisition grants for $17.5 million will protect over 2,000 acres. The recipients of these grants were local governments and nonprofit organizations.
The Foundation awarded 3 grants under the K-12 Pollinator Schools Program to schools and nonprofits. New habitat is installed at schools and public preserves accessible to students. The Foundation awarded 11 Public Amenities and Events grants to benefit project sites located throughout the state.
The Foundation awarded six Community Stewardship grants, to nonprofit organizations working to take care of government-owned natural areas, and to nonprofit organizations taking care of sites that are owned by the nonprofits. All grant projects sites are open to the public.
The Trustees wish to acknowledge Trustee Pete Peters’ more than 20 years of dedicated service and leadership of the Foundation as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Pete passed away in December of 2022. Pete will be missed by all of his colleagues.
The Foundation looks forward to more opportunities to continue funding projects for its current initiatives in 2023.
Sean Vinck Chairman and Treasurer
Jerry Adelmann, Vice Chairman
John McDermott, Secretary
Rachel Bold, Board Member
Patricia Joan Murphy, Board Member