MillerCoors and River Network Announce Grants to Watershed Conservation Organizations

CHICAGO (March 28, 2011) – MillerCoors and River Network, a national non-profit focused on water quality, announced the recipients of more than $50,000 in grants to be used toward watershed protection and quality. The winning organizations were chosen by the public through an online voting competition in which more than 20,000 people cast votes for one of six local non-profits over a one month voting period.

As part of MillerCoors' total donation of $80,000 to River Network, the brewer and national organization partnered to bring the third annual MillerCoors–River Network grant competition to the ballot box. North Carolina Big Sweep of Zebulon, N.C., received the most votes, with more than 5,000, and will be awarded the largest grant of $30,000. Big Sweep will allocate the funds toward a statewide cleanup effort and also to implement a litter awareness campaign to help improve water quality in all 100 counties in North Carolina.

“As a company that relies on clean, quality water to brew our beers, protecting our local watersheds is a top priority for MillerCoors,” said Kim Marotta, vice president of corporate social responsibility at MillerCoors. “We’re proud to provide grants to organizations across the country whose missions align with our beliefs and our responsibilities.”

Drawing the second most votes, Johnson Creek Watershed Council of Milwaukie, Ore., will receive $10,000 and the third place vote-recipient, River Revitalization Foundation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will receive $5,000. The three remaining finalists will each receive $3,000.

“To achieve a healthy water future, local organizations must have the capacity to protect and restore our rivers and watersheds,” said Todd Ambs, River Network President. “Thanks to the support and leadership from MillerCoors, thousands of people around the country are actively engaged with projects that will have long-term benefits for water resources in their community and state.”

MillerCoors and River Network will continue to work with the winning organizations throughout the year to execute the projects. More information on MillerCoors commitment to sustainable development and water stewardship can be found on You can also read more about the organizations at

Details on the six organizations follow:

1st Place, $30,000 Grant:
North Carolina Big Sweep; Zebulon, NC
The organization will coordinate a statewide cleanup and implement a litter awareness campaign to help improve water quality in all 100 counties in North Carolina.

2nd Place, $10,000 Grant:
Johnson Creek Watershed Council; Milwaukie, OR
The Council will restore six acres of riverfront forest land with native plantings and a trail overlooking the area. In addition, 16 newly-engineered log jams will provide cover for threatened salmon throughout a quarter-mile reach of Johnson Creek, where it flows into the Willamette River.

3rd Place, $5,000 Grant:
River Revitalization Foundation; Milwaukee, WI
The organization will dedicate funds to restore major habitat on a 2.8 acre riverfront parcel. This project will reduce storm water run-off, improve habitat for wildlife and serve as primary entrance for recreation in the Milwaukee river valley.

Remaining $3,000 Grants (for general organization support):
Friends of the Chicago River; Chicago, IL
The group will form a new program, Chicago River Eco-Warriors (CREW), to increase the number of river volunteers, expand the efforts of those already engaged and provide a forum for advancement. Volunteer participation will also be tracked across all of the organization’s programs and activities, and volunteers will be awarded as they acquire hours and become “multipliers” of the mission.

West Atlanta Watershed Alliance; Atlanta, GA
This group will educate and engage low-to-moderate income West Atlanta residents in water efficiency and conservation. The goal is to help residents realize needed savings for their households and learn about residential rainwater capture, conservation, green infrastructure, stream monitoring, cleanups and stream bank stabilization.

Savannah Riverkeeper, Inc; Augusta, GA
The group will restore 15-acres along the Savannah River in downtown Augusta. The goal is to remove debris and rehabilitate the shoreline of an abandoned car parts facility along the river. The area will be converted to a nature education center and international disc golf course.


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