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

Keeler Gardens Wins Pollinator Habitat Grant

Have you heard the news? Keeler Gardens has won a grant to build a pollinator habitat! The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has awarded us up to $10,000 toward the creation of a native pollinator habitat to provide environmental education opportunities for students, and all community members. We will offer visitors to the habitat an experience with Illinois native plants in a year-round refuge for pollinators, that will perform from early spring through late fall. Here is a before image of the space we will be preparing this spring for installation, hopefully, early this summer.
This "before" image of the site for the planned Keeler Gardens Pollinator Habitat shows the parkway at Keeler Gardens in the early 2018. THe parkway is mostly grass with two green ash trees and a few existing plantings.
Keeler Gardens Pollinator Habitat “Before”
We are so excited and are moving forward rapidly. The first step is a design. We created this preliminary design and await approval. All plantings are label by number. “E” plants are already part of the space, and will be incorporated into the habitat design. New plantings are color coded by season, purple for early bloom, grey for mid-season bloom, and yellow for late blooms. Greens denote grasses (light) or shrubs (dark). Outlines indicate the height of full grown plants from thin (12” minimum height) to thick (4-6 ft maximum height).
The design plan for the new Keeler Gardens Pollinator Habitat shows both existing and proposed plantings. Existing are label by number with “E” to denote they are already part of the space, grouped mostly at the top of the design (east side) and will be incorporated into the habitat design. New plantings are drawn as circles, color coded by season, purple for early bloom, grey for mid-season bloom, and yellow for late blooms. Greens denote grasses (light) or shrubs (dark). Outlines indicate the height of full grown plants from thin (12” minimum height) to thick (4-6 ft maximum height). New plantings are scattered throughout the design to fill the space. Also included in the design are proposed structures like boulders, benches, water features, and trellises.
Keeler Gardens Pollinator Habitat Proposed Plan
Also included in the design are proposed structures like boulders, benches, water features, and trellises. Stone will be used for edging and as steppers, and will be added at installation to accommodate the design as it evolves. Here are a few of the plants we hope to include, with their identifying number referenced on the design: 3 Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) 5 Cream Wild False Indigo (Baptisia leucophaea (bracteata var. leucophaea) (NGN)) 6 Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis (NGN)) 7 White Wild Indigo (Baptisia leucantha (NGN)) 8 Common Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis (NGN)) 15 Kobold Gayfeather (Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’) 16 Rose (Swamp) Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata (NGN)) 17 Common Ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata (NGN)) 18 Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum (NGN)) 19 Anise Hyssop (Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’) 20 Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica (NGN)) 21 Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) 22 Bottle Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii) 23 Turtlehead (Chelone glabra (NGN)) 24 Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) 25 Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) 26 Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) 27 Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea (NGN)) 28 Wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis (NGN)) 29 Monkey Flower (Mimulus ringens (NGN)) 30 Violet Bush Clover (Lespedeza violacea (NGN)) 31 Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum (NGN)) 32 Pasture Rose (Rosa carolina (NGN)) 33 American Hazelnut (Corylus americana) 34 Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis (NGN)) 35 Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) We will continue to report on progress with the project, community events in support of the effort, with updates throughout the spring and summer. Follow us here on our blog, on our Facebook Page, and sign up for our newsletter to stay in touch.