Support the River in this Season of Giving

Photo by Liz Miller: Aerial view of the South Branch of the Chicago River at Ping Tom Memorial Park.

This holiday season, Friends has plenty of options to delight the friend of the river in your life with the perfect gift.

Adopt a Field Trip

Friends is offering a special opportunity this year to give the gift of helping students experience the wonder of the Chicago-Calumet River system by symbolically adopting a field trip. With your donation, you are supporting teachers and students who participate in our Chicago River Schools Network (CRSN) students; nurturing the students’ potential as environmental stewards. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the CRSN serves K-12 students from schools throughout the Chicago River watershed. Since its founding in 1996, the CRSN has engaged more than 475,000 students and teachers.

Adopt an Animal

You can also symbolically adopt a catfish, osprey, or painted turtle. The Chicago and Calumet Rivers are teeming with an amazing diversity of animals, all of which are important to our local ecosystem and deserve our respect and protection. All wildlife adoptions come with certificates and other fun items celebrating these remarkable native species.

Provide a Membership

In addition, a gift membership of any size for a friend or loved one provides Friends with the operating support that impacts all of our programs and initiatives and sustains our mission all year long. Membership is accompanied by fun benefits including discounts on paddling events and free admission to our Bridgehouse Museum. Field trip and wildlife adoptions contain these benefits as well. Simply click the “Gift Membership” box on our donation form and include the recipient’s information so our staff can notify them.

Save on Your Taxes

Any of these aforementioned contributions – or your own new or renewed membership – made by December 31 will qualify for the 2022 tax year, so please donate today. If you have an IRA and are over 70 ½ years old, you may be eligible to make a qualified charitable distribution directly to Friends for all or part of your required minimum distribution. – up to $100,000 can be donated pretax. More information is available on; please contact Annie Hanrahan, director of development, for help processing your gift to Friends.

Buy a Ticket

You could also give the gift of a memorable experience by purchasing tickets to the 2023 Ice Odyssey Cruise, an unparalleled opportunity to see the enchanting beauty of the Chicago River on a frosty winter evening. Hosted by Friends’ Otter Society Committee, the mystical Ice Odyssey cruise will be aboard the majestic Odyssey Chicago River, a glass-enclosed and climate-controlled vessel, on February 17. A portion of each ticket purchased is also tax-deductible.

Know its Value

Any contribution you can make will be meaningful to our mission and vision. The river is healthier today than it was yesterday, and this time next year it will be even healthier thanks to the generosity of supporters like you. Thank you for considering us during this season of giving.