Become A Sponsor


Exelon and team employees working together at Ping Tom Memorial Park.

Come join the team to help make the Chicago River system litter free!

Friends of the Chicago River invites you to sponsor our most rewarding community-wide volunteer day, Chicago River Day, on May 8, 2021. Our site locations are in Lake and Cook County.  

Our 2,000+ volunteers come from across the 673-square mile watershed in support of a healthier and cleaner 156-mile Chicago River system. They range in age from pre-schoolers to seniors and represent the diverse ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds found in the Greater Chicagoland community. We encourage school groups, community groups, corporations, and individuals to join us on the day to collect garbage and sort for recycling, remove invasive vegetation, spruce up river-edge trails, plant native seedlings, and much more. More than 554 tons of trash has been removed since 1992.

For 2021, the scale of Chicago River Day will depend on state and local Covid-19 safety protocols.

Sponsorship is open to individuals, companies, organizational groups, and foundations.   

This year the 29th Annual Chicago River Day takes place on Saturday, May 8, 2021 from 9 a.m. to 12 Noon and is complemented by the Summer Challenge, a summer long effort that will conclude on Sunday, September 26, 2021 to coincide with World Rivers Day.  

Friends introduced the Summer Challenge last year to address the challenges of the pandemic and social distancing last year. It returns this year because of its popularity. Volunteers can pick up litter on any days and times that work for them and create their own bubble groups or work alone. Through their efforts, our volunteers collected 1,900 pounds of trash in neighborhoods and along the river over the summer months. 

Why become a sponsor?

As a Chicago River Day sponsor, you will have the opportunity for substantial market exposure, employee or member engagement, and the knowledge that your contribution makes a truly tangible difference throughout the 156-mile Chicago River system.

The event is popular with the press, attracts radio and television coverage, and unique online exposure through websites, blogs, and social media. The images captured from this day of the river and volunteers in action are special.

As our thank you to volunteers, each receives a T-shirt designed specifically for this year’s Chicago River Day. Sponsor logos are printed on the back of the T-shirt. The wildlife mascot for 2021 is the American Mink. This amazing animal is regularly spotted along the river now and is an important part of the native wilderness of North America.

Chicago River Day provides you with the perfect way to engage your team of enthusiastic volunteers through team building activities that get them outdoors helping to continue the river’s renaissance.

Friends is happy to work with your staff to customize a sponsorship to fit your needs from activities on the ground to exposure and visibility.

Activities include:

  • River-edge cleanup
  • Invasive plant species removal
  • Native vegetation planting
  • Water quality testing
  • Habitat monitoring

Your sponsorship of this major event creates huge ripple effects that allow Friends to continue our work throughout the year on behalf of the Chicago River.

To view the 2021 sponsorship information describing sponsorship levels and thank you benefits, click here

If you are interested in learning more, please email Kim Olsen-Clark or call 312-939-0490, ext 19.