April 21, 2023
Healthy Schools Campaign and the Space to Grow partners are honored that the Biden Administration has recognized Space to Grow, Chicago’s green schoolyards program, as an important cross-sector partnership as part of its Earth Day-focused Invest in Nature Summit. You can find the White House readout here. It’s an honor to be recognized along with so many other important initiatives taking place across the country.
We are also very proud to formally announce that the Space to Grow capital partners – Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Department of Water Management, and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago – have committed to investing $48 million dollars in future Space to Grow green schoolyards here in Chicago.
“We are so excited that our incredible Space to Grow partnership will benefit from this major investment, and for this work and commitment to be recognized by the White House. Space to Grow is transforming outdoor spaces in communities across Chicago that have faced decades of disinvestment in the aftermath of failed policies like redlining. The program provides critical connections to nature for kids and communities, and builds nature-based infrastructure to keep our city resilient in the face of climate change,” said Meg Kelly, Space to Grow Director.
Space to Grow is an innovative partnership co-founded by Healthy Schools Campaign and Openlands to transform Chicago schoolyards into centers for outdoor learning, play and engagement with nature, while also addressing neighborhood flooding issues with green stormwater infrastructure. Space to Grow uses an equity focus to transform schools and communities in historically under-invested neighborhoods, and brings much needed green space to Chicago’s Black and Latinx communities.
Space to Grow has a profoundly positive effect on the students, school communities and neighborhoods where they are built. The co-benefits these schoolyards bring to Chicago are incredible – from outdoor spaces for Chicago Public Schools students to play, learn and grow, to new community park spaces across the city, and the protection of our waterways and basements from flooding.
We are thankful to the Biden Administration for honoring Space to Grow. This recognition is a testament to all the students, educators, school administrators, community leaders and hundreds of partners who make this incredible program a reality.