Nation’s Largest Annual Community Improvement Program Expected to Engage More Than 5 Million Volunteers and Participants to Take Action to Clean, Restore and Renew America’s Cities and Towns
STAMFORD, Conn. (March 16, 2016) – Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s leading nonprofit that envisions a country where every community is a green, clean and beautiful place to live, today announced the launch of the 2016 Great American Cleanup. Entering its 18th year, the Great American Cleanup is the country’s largest community improvement program. The campaign is led by more than 600 Keep America Beautiful affiliates and hundreds of other partner organizations, with events formally kicking off around the first day of spring and continuing throughout the year. This year’s Great American Cleanup theme — “Clean Your Block Party” — encourages all volunteers and participants to take part in a public space Great American Cleanup event and bring the experience home by organizing a cleanup and beautification event on their own block, wherever they live.
Keep America Beautiful’s “Clean Your Block Party” toolkit, which includes ideas that can be used to conduct an event on any street in any community, is available here. Participants conducting Great American Cleanup “Clean Your Block Party” events are encouraged to share photos and stories about their experience using #cleanYOURblock on social media. Last year, the Great American Cleanup engaged more than 5.4 million volunteers and participants across the country to take action through high-impact events. Through the collective action of millions of volunteers, the Great American Cleanup has delivered, on average, $175 million in measurable benefits to tens of thousands of communities nationwide in the past five years.
“Among the key values that drive the work of Keep America Beautiful is the idea that people and places are profoundly interconnected, and that thriving communities are rooted in individual responsibility and collective action,” said Jennifer M. Jehn, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. “This year’s Great American Cleanup will continue to deliver meaningful economic, environmental and social impact to communities nationwide, while our ‘Clean Your Block Party’ theme provides the inspiration and resources to help make your own place — the street on which you live — a little more beautiful.”
Lowe’s Supports Great American Cleanup Showcase Events
Keep America Beautiful will celebrate the 2016 Great American Cleanup with added support from longstanding partner, Lowe’s. To shine a light on some of the incredible community improvements projects that comprise the Great American Cleanup — and to mark “Keep America Beautiful Month” in April — the national nonprofit and Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers will work with local affiliates to conduct four showcase events in New York City, Los Angeles, East Point, Georgia (outside of Atlanta) and Mesquite, Texas (outside of Dallas). Each of these four affiliates will receive a $20,000 Lowe’s grant to conduct a special event focused around the “Clean Your Block Party” theme.
- Keep Mesquite Beautiful, Texas (April 8): Keep Mesquite Beautiful volunteers will undertake a major cleanup, renovation and rededication of the Paschall Park Butterfly Trail. The project will include planting native species, providing educational opportunities for trail visitors and planting milkweed to increase the monarch butterfly population.
- Keep East Point Beautiful, Georgia (April 18): Keep East Point Beautiful volunteers will build a sustainable green space with pollinator gardens, using native flowers and shrubs to create a beautifully landscaped gateway along the main corridor of the city leading into the East Point Downtown Business District.
- Keep Los Angeles Beautiful, California (April 28): Working with the City of Los Angeles, Keep Los Angeles Beautiful volunteers will revitalize a 1.6-mile stretch of a drought-damaged median on San Vicente Boulevard using newly approved designs from local architectural students. The project will include sustainable tree and shrub plantings, ground cover, irrigation and storm water capture, paving materials, community signage and other artistic elements.
- Keep New York City Beautiful, New York (May 3): Keep New York City Beautiful will work with Keep America Beautiful, the Citizens Committee for New York City and local volunteers on community improvement initiatives in all five New York City boroughs. Projects will include a spring garden cleanup in Chelsea Waterside Park, which includes removing invasive plants, spreading mulch and compost, and planting annuals, as well as a cleanup of three distinct areas of the Hudson River Park, including The Habitat, a natural-style garden site planted to host a variety of birds, insects, butterflies and other wildlife.
Each year, Great American Cleanup events and education programs help to renew public spaces such as parks, trails and recreation areas; clean shorelines and waterways; remove litter and debris; reduce waste and improve recycling behavior; and plant trees, flowers and community gardens, among other activities to inspire a new generation of community stewards. Individuals interested in participating in an event can visit KAB.org to find their closest Keep America Beautiful affiliates and local Great American Cleanup events.
In 2015, Great American Cleanup volunteers and participants:
- Removed 62 million pounds of litter and debris for safer, cleaner communities;
- Cleaned 86,000 miles of streets, highways, trails, waterways and shorelines;
- Cleaned and renewed 69,500 acres of parks and public lands;
- Collected more than 177 million pounds of items for recycling or reusing, including PET plastic bottles, electronics, newspaper and more; and
- Planted 49,500 trees and 625,000 flowers and bulbs to strengthen the green infrastructure of communities.
National supporters of the 2016 Great American Cleanup include Altria, BNSF Railway, Dow, The Glad Products Company, Lowe’s and Niagara Bottling.
About Keep America Beautiful
At Keep America Beautiful, we want to ensure that beauty is our lasting signature. A leading national nonprofit, Keep America Beautiful inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. We envision a country where every community is a clean, green, and beautiful place to live. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful provides the expertise, programs and resources to help people end littering in America, improve recycling in America, and beautify America’s communities. The organization is driven by the work and passion of more than 600 community-based Keep America Beautiful affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the support of corporate partners, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals. To learn how you can donate or take action, visit kab.org. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, like us on Facebook, or view us on YouTube.