Daniel Wendt, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed an executive order making Millennium Reserve a nonprofit on July 14.
Near the Little Calumet River and Chicago's largest forest preserves, Whistler Woods, and on the grounds of steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal's Riverdale plant, on July 14 Gov. Bruce Rauner signed an executive order turning the page to a new chapter for Millennium Reserve.
The setting was befitting the organization's recent and evolving role: For four years, Millennium Reserve has been advancing economic growth, community development and environmental improvements in a 900-sq.-mile area spanning the Calumet and southeast Chicago lakefront. This groundbreaking public-private partnership was formed in 2012 under the leadership of the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources, and MPC has been involved since its inception: Today, MarySue Barrett, MPC president, sits on the Steering Committee; I chair the Communications Working Group; and MPC Manager Danielle Gallet facilitates the Calumet Stormwater Collaborative, a Millennium Reserve priority project.
Millennium Reserve's new independent nonprofit status will allow it to take better advantage of corporate and philanthropic support, as well as federal, state and local grants. Indeed, at the announcement, Gov. Rauner pledged a personal contribution to the new nonprofit from him and his wife, Diana.
“The Millennium Reserve highlights how government, nonprofits and businesses can come together to pool resources around shared goals that improve Illinois communities,” said Gov. Rauner. “While the partnership has shown impressive results, there is an enhanced opportunity through its new independent status to engage a broader group of people, from northeast Illinois and beyond, who are passionately interested in bettering the lives of residents of the Calumet region.”
The organization's partnership with the state will continue to be strong: The Governor’s executive order reinstitutes the Illinois Millennium Reserve State Agency Task Force. It’s charged with identifying ways for Millennium Reserve partners to access information, technical assistance and funding from state agencies. The task force includes the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources, Illinois Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Illinois Dept. of Transportation, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and the Office of the Governor.
For more information about Millennium Reserve, including progress and results reports for 2014 and 2015, visit www.millenniumreserve.org. Sign up for the monthly newsletter for ongoing progress reports!