Keep America Beautiful Creates Communities that are Connected, Healthy and Sound

Helping to reduce America’s cigarette litter problem. Combating the incidence of graffiti and tagging. Working towards increasing more green play areas in local communities across the country. These are all social innovation initiatives of love, sweat and toil that have involved Keep America Beautiful (KAB). The U.S. not-for- profit brings people together to build and sustain vibrant communities. It has a strong national network of 1,200 affiliates and partners including state recycling organisations, working with millions of volunteers who take action in their local areas.

In 1953, long before being "green" was fashionable, KAB was formed when a group of corporate and civic leaders met in New York City to discuss a revolutionary social innovation idea at that time, which was to bring the public and private sectors together to develop and promote a national cleanliness ethic. Sixty years on, and with more of a purpose than ever, KAB has a place in the nation’s heart. One organisation that firmly believes in the value of its work is the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation, which this year has once again pledged to donate another $1 million to support KAB’s mission of building and sustaining vibrant communities.

This grant encourages KAB affiliates to engage with their local Lowe’s Heroes program, a company-wide volunteer initiative that offers Lowe’s employees the chance to work on projects in their own locality. The Lowe’s Community Partners grant will support more than 100 community improvement initiatives in 2013, ranging from creating community gardens to recycling programs to planting trees and leading disaster restoration projects.

In 2012 a whole host of nationwide projects were supported by this grant cycle, which included a restoration initiatives in Topeka Shawnee County to “replant, re-paint, rebuild and renew Harveyville” after a tornado devastated the small Kansas community in 2011, and to another restoration project in the City of Arlington, Texas, where more than 500 volunteers planted 1,000 trees at residential homes struck by tornadoes.

Keep Columbus (Ohio) Beautiful worked with 85 Lowe’s Heroes and 600 additional volunteers who improved the storefronts of merchant properties on a two-mile stretch of the Columbus business district. Matt McKenna, President and CEO of Keep America Beautiful, says, "The cumulative impact of this Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant Program continues to be remarkable. Together with our strong national network of affiliates and partners, we will continue to work hand-in-hand with local Lowe’s Heroes and Lowe’s store managers to make a real difference across the country.” KAB’s helps to create real social innovation communities that are socially connected, environmentally healthy and economically sound.

Photo Credit: Keep America Beautiful

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