$55,000 grant for Seven Generations Ahead
Updated: July 3, 2012 12:46PM
The Chicago Community Trust has awarded a $55,000 grant to Oak Park-based Seven Generations Ahead.
The money will go to help Seven Generations Ahead implement the priority measures of PlanItGreen, the official long-range environmental sustainability plan for the villages of Oak Park and River Forest.
Key measures in the PlanItGreen project include water conservation, energy efficiency, solid waste reduction, and green business development.
The grant was announced May 24, at an “Ideas Exchange” conference hosted by CMAP, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.
Gary Cuneen, Seven Generation Ahead’s executive director, said he was “thrilled to be selected” — both for the grant money itself and for the added focus on the green initiatives the Oak Park and River Forest governments are pursuing with Seven Generations Ahead’s assistance.
Cunneen said the goal is to “translate good ideas into action.”
“It’s one thing to create a plan. It’s another to implement it. That takes resources,” he said.
Seven Generations Ahead was one of just five Chicago area organizations to receive funding from the Chicago Community Trust. A primary requirement was that funds go to organizations that are working to forward the goals of CMAP’s comprehensive regional plan and its Local Technical Assistance program. That program provides municipalities with expertise in a number of areas related to land use planning, transportation and housing.
While CMAP and the Community Foundation Trust are separate entities governed by separate boards, they consult on numerous issues related to the environment, sustainability, housing and transportation.
“They talk to us, but at the end of the day it’s their money and their decision,” said Bob Bean, CMAP’s director of local planning.
The award announcement noted that “the sustainability performance of Oak Park and River Forest scores well on indicators for environmental sustainability, including carbon emissions reduction, landfill diversion, and decreased water consumption rates.”
Bean praised Seven Generations Ahead’s work with Oak Park and River Forest, saying, “They’re working to try to advance the goals set forth in the PlanItGreen sustainability plan.”
Cuneen said the grant money will “help support implementation (of PlanItGreen) over the remainder of 2012 and into 2013.”
Among the goals PlanItGreen supports and furthers, Cuneen said, is promoting water conservation, energy efficiency and upgrades at the commercial level. It also facilitates a green business certification process.