A Community Thrives Grant Challenge

Starting today, March 18, Keeler Gardens needs your help to secure our spot to be considered for a grant up to $100K!

Keeler Gardens has qualified to compete in USA Today’s “A Community Thrives” Challenge: at stake is over $100,000 in grant awards! However, we need to raise at least $3,000 in four weeks to be considered for the first place award, with weekly benchmark goals for additional awards.

We are asking all our supporters to consider donating now, even if it is just the $10 minimum donation, you can go right to our CrowdRise page for all the details. The official site is https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/keeler-gardens-nfp-illinois but we’ve made a shortcut http://bit.ly/KGcrUSA that is easier to remember. Only donations made through this site and with a credit card will be counted towards the challenge.

Here is how you can help.

  1. Go to our campaign on CrowdRise by clicking on this link http://bit.ly/KGcrUSA.
  2. Click the Donate Button to donate the minimum $10.
  3. Share the campaign with your network.

From March 18, through April 12 only, any donations made through Keeler Gardens’ CrowdRise campaign will count toward our $3,000 minimum fundraising goal. We have four weeks to meet the minimum by the end of the challenge period, then we are ranked by how many dollars we raised. First, second, and third place will win $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000 respectively.

There are also Weekly Incentives to drive our fundraising efforts. Each week during the challenge we are ranked for dollars raised or the highest number of individual donations made and can win an additional $2,000-$5,000 depending on the week. (See below for more details)

As you can see there is great potential with this challenge and all it will take is a little help from you. If there ever was a time to donate to Keeler Gardens, this is it. Please consider a $10 donation, or donate $10 each week to help us with the weekly challenges. We need as much support as we can get.

We know you value Keeler Gardens and its mission. Please share our campaign with your network as you know many that will benefit from our programs and believe that nature is a critical catalyst in our lives. Ask them to share with as many people as they can think of. The more people we reach and the more funds we raise the greater chance we have to win multiple awards. We would be happy to talk to anyone that wants more information about our mission and vision and you can certainly send them to our website KeelerGardens.com.

As always, we thank you for your continued support.

With infinite gratitude,

Ed & Gina


The details on the campaign challenges are as follows. We are focused on the following two weeks: Week #1 to make a strong start and Week #2 to show the grantors that we have a strong community support base that believes in our mission.


Weekly Challenge #1:

If we raise the most funds from Mon. 3/18/19 @12:00:00 pm ET
through Mon. 3/25/19 @11:59:59 am ET we win $2000

Weekly Challenge #2:

If we have the highest number of eligible donations from Mon. 3/25/19 @12:00:00 pm ET through Mon.  4/1/19 @11:59:59 am ET we win $3,000

Bonus Challenge #3:

If we raise the most funds from Mon. 4/1/19 @12:00:00 pm ET
through Mon. 4/8/19 @11:59:59 am ET we win $5000

Bonus Challenge #4: 

If we have the highest number of eligible donations from Mon. 3/25/14/8/19 @12:00:00 pm ET through Fri. 4/12/19 @11:59:59 am ET we win $3,000

Building Community Through Nature -Keeler Gardens, NFP – Illinois on CrowdRise

Our First Programs at Keeler Gardens.

Spring is Springing

(Press Play if you would like a little spring music while you read) Are you enjoying this wonderful spring weather? We are, and so are the tulips and other spring bloomers. Flowers are not the only thing in bloom, we are preparing for our first programs here at Keeler Gardens.
Close up of about two dozen Stresa tulip yellow tulips with brushes of pink on the outside of each petal. In the foreground to the is the base
‘Stresa”tulips bloom in the back garden.

Instameet, Sunday, April 30 at 1:30 PM

We are excited that as we welcome the warm weather we have our first two Keeler Gardens program offerings. The first is the Instameet day at Keeler Gardens. What is an Instameet? Instameets are group get-togethers to take pictures to post on Instagram. Although we are using this term, we will do much more. At 1:30 PM on Sunday, April 30th we invite you to come out and take pictures at Keeler Gardens. You don’t have to use a mobile phone, nor do you have to post your pictures on Instagram. Just spending a half hour taking pictures of the garden is a wonderful way to connect with nature. If you so choose, you can share or post your images online. We hope you do, so we can all enjoy your pics. We will be using the hashtag, #KeelerGardens so we can all view the photos during and after the event.
Our executive director, Ed Caplan, stands in a rain coat with smart phone in hand capturing the bright yellow forsythia on the front deck of Keeler Gardens. The cloudy rainy day creates a wonderful environmental contrast for the photo.
Ed connecting with nature.
All levels of photographers are welcome. If you have questions, big or small, about your camera or taking photos come early at 1:00 PM and we’ll be happy to walk through the basics and answer any questions. Let us know you’re planning on coming by RSVP’ing through the Facebook Event Page.

Family Event at Fannie’s, Sunday, May 7 at 4:00 PM

Logo for Fannie's Fannie’s is a wonderful café in Jefferson Park. The owner, Stephanie, has offered her space for a family day just in time to prepare for Mother’s Day (hint, hint dads!). Make sure to follow the event on our Facebook page here for all the details. What we can tell you right now is it involves seeds and journals. (We’ve said too much!).
Scrapbooking accessories and accoutrements including small and large quotes such as “Cats speak language with their tails.” “Come forth into the light of things let NATURE be your teacher.” The background has various textured papers from watercolor to repeating prints. There are also small trinkets such as butterflies, flowers, and stars.
Various ways to adorn your garden journal

Project WILD

Recently I was certified as a trainer of Growing Up WILD, Aquatic WILD, and Project WILD. These are environmental education curriculum for youth of all ages. From early childhood through elementary and high school, the programs are written to be age specific, with educational learning standards in mind. Upon the completion of this training Keeler Gardens can officially train teachers and other community members on this program.  Make sure to follow us on Facebook and sign up for What’s Growing on, our mailing list, so you are the first to know when we set the date this summer for the Project WILD training.
Two adults sit on a bench in a display garden with three children. The man works with a boy and girl of 5 and 6 years old. The women with her camera keeps an eye on the 3 year old who is more interested in climbing the bench.
Connecting children to nature.
Thank you again for all of your support. Keeler Gardens is here to help you and the rest of our community connect with nature. Thank you for spreading the word by sharing this update and our other posts. Click on these links to let us know if we will be seeing you here at Keeler Gardens on April 30th for the Instameet, at Fannie’s on May 7th for the Family Event, or click here to sign up for What’s Growing on for updates on the Project Wild Training. Thanks for connecting, Ed

New Developments

Even on the first day of winter there is a lot to do.  Two big projects have come up and they are both very exciting.

Locally, I am working with the Clark Park Advisory Council on the Richard Clark Park Framework Plan.  The goal of this plan is to “create a long-term plan for Richard Clark Park. . .”  You can view the entire framework at http://bit.ly/RaXgxB, and see existing pictures and the concept plan on the last page.  I am working to develop a community/sustainability garden that will be added to the concept plan.  We do have some interested groups and I have many resources to tap in the area to develop a feasible and ecologically profitable design.  It seems at this point I am the horticultural expert and have been graciously welcomed to the Advisory Council.  We meet once a month to discuss ideas and progress and by January’s meeting I plan to have a community/sustainability garden outline/plan ready to present.  I’ll keep you updated on those developments.

The second project is connected to The Home Depot and Miracle-Gro Gardenieres program.  Miracle-Gro wants to utilize the Gardenieres concept in a short series of commercials for HGTV, that’s the Home and Garden Network!  So, I have been promoted from online series correspondent to cable TV commercial talent!  Filming is tentatively scheduled for the last week in January, and I will probably start working on designs in the next week or so.

Once again I will keep you updated with all new developments and of course comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

GG