Keep America Beautiful

Annual Report

Letter from Helen and Monique

Dear Friends, Partners, and KAB Family: 

Keep America Beautiful is needed in our nation’s communities more than ever before. We are observing unprecedented threats to the public spaces our organization works to keep clean, green, and beautiful. Our tri-sector coalition of social, public, and private organizations, in addition to the millions of volunteers we engage, make up a nationwide partnership working to educate and inspire individuals to clean and improve their communities. The Keep America Beautiful network is growing and well positioned to drive positive change across the country. This report shows a few of the ways we are getting it done.

It is hard to look back on the past year without thinking about the ever-growing threats to the beauty of the American landscape. More and more, litter continues to affect our lives. The social, economic, and environmental impact of litter on wildlife, people, communities, and climate is irrefutable and inescapable. In 2019, Keep America Beautiful launched our national litter study, an in-depth analysis of litter and littering in America as a follow up to our 2009 study. There are multiple components to this study including: a national public attitude survey, a visible litter study, a behavioral observations study, a financial impact of litter survey, and a study of litter in our waterways. The full results of the Keep America Beautiful Litter Study will be complete in late 2020, driving our organization to create solutions that are tangible, personal, and actionable, setting the stage for our community-based movement to end littering by reducing waste and improving public spaces.

As seen in this 2019 annual review, Keep America Beautiful and our affiliate network  produced truly remarkable results for the Great American Cleanup, adapted America Recycles Day to be an inclusive day of celebrating recycling through partnerships, planted trees in urban settings, restored communities after disasters, educated and inspired millions of individuals to take action,  and recast our Vision for America Award dinner, to imagine  a world without plastic waste.  

As we write this letter, Keep America Beautiful is looking to the future and designing a strategy that defines what makes up a beautiful community in the age of pandemics. Despite the challenges that exist, Keep America Beautiful will lead and support the grassroot efforts to create sustainable, beautiful communities for everyone in America. Our work is more urgent, as evidenced by the unfortunate example of personal protective equipment (PPE) litter (masks, gloves, and wipes) that have been littering our community landscape. We have seen this litter everywhere – in wealthy and under-invested neighborhoods – in urban, rural, and suburban settings across the country. It is understandable that in a pandemic, people forget that we all have a shared responsibility to pick up after ourselves. It is the mission of Keep America Beautiful to educate and activate Americans to do the right thing. To that end, we have launched several digital campaigns and initiatives that you can see now on kab.org, designed to engage people in our “new normal” while building on our legacy and successes of 2019.

Recently we have begun work on the development of a new 2021-2025 strategic plan that will build on the success of our more than six decades of leading the fight against litter and improving communities across America. In reflecting on our achievements, we are proud of the work we’ve done, but we’re most excited when thinking about what is ahead. Our organization’s future is full of hope and promise, fueled by a passion to ensure everyone in America lives in a beautiful community.

We hope you will continue to participate in and lend your support to Keep America Beautiful. I want to thank our board, our affiliates, our partners, and supporters – and, most of all, all our volunteers for a notable 2019. We invite you to join us on the exciting path ahead.


Helen Lowman 
President and CEO 
Keep America Beautiful
Monique Oxender 
Chief Sustainability Officer 
Keurig Dr Pepper 
2019 Chair 
Keep America Beautiful 
Board of Directors
Read the Full Letter


Numbers Tell The Story

The numbers do tell the story and we’re proud of our results. In 2019 alone, Keep America Beautiful returned $305 million of economic benefit to the communities we serve through the work of nearly 2.3 million volunteers putting in 11.9 million volunteer hours. Our collective action champions environmentally healthy, socially connected, and economically sound communities so that all people can thrive and do beautiful things.  


Programs + Events

We keep America beautiful so Americans can “Do Beautiful Things!” Our programs are research-based, measurable, and designed for local implementation by our affiliates to improve our community environments. By partnering with us, corporate sponsors demonstrate responsible leadership to their employees and customers – and through the engine of organized volunteerism, our affiliates and partners help us deliver exceptional return on investment in the communities we serve. 


The Impact In Our Community

Keep America Beautiful brings people together to transform public spaces into beautiful places. Our formula for success is simple. At the grassroots level, our affiliates create innovative, locally focused programs that reach deep into their communities to effect positive change. Here is a small sampling from among thousands of affiliate projects that are creating a greater whole—a more beautiful America. 


Commitment and Support

Keep America Beautiful gratefully acknowledges the corporations, nonprofits, associations, and government agencies whose special grants, sponsorships, and in-kind contributions significantly advanced our mission in 2019. Working in partnership with these companies, organizations, and individuals helps us amplify our collective voice, share costs, multiply our impact, and achieve long-lasting results that advance our mission to the benefit of communities across the country.