American Water awards grants to support local nature-based play spaces

The American Water Charitable Foundation has provided three grants to underwrite local nature-based play spaces across American Water's nationwide service areas.

VOORHEES, NJ, May 22, 2015 -- The American Water Charitable Foundation (AWCF) -- a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization created by American Water (AW), the nation's largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility company -- has provided three grants to underwrite local nature-based play spaces across AW's nationwide service areas. The grants are being administered as part of AWCF's partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), for the "Building Better Communities" signature grant program.

The "Building Better Communities" philanthropy initiative is designed to enhance the quality of life in the communities the company serves. The program is initially focusing on parks, as they are critical to preserving natural resources that have real economic benefits for communities. Specifically, the program concentrates on building or enhancing nature-based playgrounds and natural play spaces for children and will connect and educate people on environmental stewardship practices related to water.

Of the 117 applications received, a total of three projects from within AW's national service area were selected to receive grants totaling $400,000. The projects were chosen based on several criteria including play value, education value, proximity to the company's service areas, relevance of the project to the RFP project parameters, use of natural play materials, opportunities for AW employee volunteer involvement, and construction of an actual children's play area.

The grant recipients are as follows:

  • Magic Island in Charleston, W.Va., will receive $150,000 to construct a children's spray and/or splash pad utilizing a recirculating system. This project will introduce an interactive water feature to a park that has its genesis in the natural process of silt deposition at the confluence of two rivers.
  • Washington "Reed" Park in Gary, Ind., will receive $125,000 to develop a nature-based playground that integrates educational play about stormwater, as well as functions as green infrastructure to slow and cleanse the water returning to Lake Michigan, Grand Calumet and Little Calumet Rivers.
  • Von Neida Park in Camden, N.J., will receive $125,000 to design and construct a natural playscape in the park. The majority of the design will be allocated to personalizing the play area to the community surrounding the park, including developing signage and illustrations that address flooding, stormwater management and stewardship.

Each nature-based play space will be developed via a community partnership dedicated to ongoing stewardship. Annually, the program aims to support several of these types of projects through grants administered to local communities. In 2014, four grants were awarded totaling $384,000. The recipients were the City of Belleville, Ill.; the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority in Scranton, Pa.; the Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District in Camarillo, Calif.; and the Brunswick Redevelopment and Revitalization Committee in Brunswick, Mo.

See also:

"American Water provides funding to support local nature-based play spaces"

"Infrastructure Week 2015: American Water actively participating in week's events"

About American Water

Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs approximately 6,400 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in more than 45 states and parts of Canada. For more information, visit


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