We’re honored to announce that ICA GreenRise has received a major State Capital Grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to invest in renovating key building features. The $150,000 award will support upgrades to the building’s fire safety system, part of a roster of capital improvements planned as part of the GreenRise Renovation Project (GRRP).
This visionary project aims to modernize the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing infrastructure with innovative and sustainable technologies, while also retaining most of the historic features of the 1920s building. “We want this building to become a national demonstration of how to sustainably retrofit a vintage building,” said Lesley Showers, Chief Operating Officer of the Ecumenical Institute (EI), ICA’s sister organization that owns and operates the building.
A previous grant from DCEO funded the resurfacing of the parking lot across the street with permeable pavers, which mimic natural surfaces that allow stormwater to drain, rather than pooling as it does on traditional concrete. That grant also funded the completion of the Lumumba Room, a small and sunlit conference space in the building.
ICA GreenRise serves as the largest nonprofit and social service center in the Midwest, hosting 19 organizations and groups that collectively serve over 1,000 clients each week, and hosts the second-largest rooftop solar installation in Chicago. Our sustainability mission led to GreenRise becoming the first nonprofit-owned building to join former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Retrofit Chicago initiative, in which large buildings committed to lowering their energy consumption by 20% in five years. In November of 2016, ICA was recognized as a member of the Mayor’s Leadership Circle for Outstanding Energy Efficiency for achieving a 23% reduction in just four years.
The work at GreenRise continues to garner positive attention. ICA colleague Mary Laura Jones, who serves as an EI board member and consults on raising capital funds for the GRRP, credits effective working relationships with local politicians for the recent grant award, saying “We’re grateful for the assistance of Illinois Senator Heather Steans and Illinois State Representative Greg Harris in advocating for the value of ICA GreenRise and services it provides to our community.”