Chicago River Cleanup

Organize a river cleanup in your community or workplace and help to keep the Chicago River litter free.

The Idea

Friends of the Chicago River is determined to get rid of trash. With your help. For forty years Friends has been raising awareness that the Chicago River is a precious natural resource that needs to be protected. Litter and sewage remain an issue and together we can change this. The "Litter Free Chicago River" campaign is an on-the-ground public awareness campaign where we lead cl...

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The Idea

Friends of the Chicago River is determined to get rid of trash. With your help. For forty years Friends has been raising aw...

Read more

Join the communities already benefitting from starting a Chicago River Cleanup

You'll get guides and resources on how to bring this idea to life.

There is no funding available for this idea in United States, but these resources will still help to make your project happen!

Not in United States? Change your region
Organize a Cleanup

"This was a relatively quick cleanup and we still made a visible impact in our environment and the team really rallied around the cause. The rowers had a great time and we want to do it again, and I think we are totally prepared for another cleanu...

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Chicago River Cleanup
Molly George
New Trier Rowing & Chicago River Cleanup organizer

How to start a project on ChangeX

  • 1

    Create your project page

    Click the green start button to register and set up your project page. It’s quick, free and easy.

  • 2

    Complete a 30 Day Challenge

    Complete simple steps in 30 days to get your project off the ground.

  • 3

    Activate your project

    Follow the 5 Step Guide and your action plan to bring the project to life.

  • 4

    Share impact

    Share impact by posting a summary and photos and completing a survey.

Great for

  • Someone who is passionate about creating a litter free Chicago River
  • Has some community organizing experience

Chicago River Cleanup project essentials

5 Step Guide

  • Pick a day and a site
  • Recruit volunteers
  • Engage the community
  • Lead the cleanup day
  • Wrap up, celebrate & submit your findings


Suggested: You'll need 4-6 hours to organize a cleanup and then you'll need to keep the day of the cleanup free.


More information on how to get started and any resources shared by the Chicago River Cleanup

4 Chicago River Cleanup projects have already been started

See where

Meet the Social Innovator

Let's get rid of the trash from the Chicago River! Its days as a sewage and shipping canal are long gone. Now it's viewed as a precious natural resource shared by businesses, kayakers and anglers, and wildlife, but still needs our help. Together through our Litter Free Chicago toolkit, get inspired to start your own cleanups in your area. Find out here how to be a Friend of the River with us.

Joanne So Young Dill, Friends of the Chicago River

4 Chicago River Cleanup projects have already been started

See where


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why a 30 day challenge?

    The 30 Day Challenge was developed by our Team based on our experience working with communities. We’ve learned that the first weeks are critical to build momentum and get off to a good start with any community project. Teams who complete these steps within the first month are much more likely to successfully complete their project!

    The Challenge is a series of simple steps that each applicant has to complete to get their project off the ground and unlock funding, if there is funding currently available for that idea in your region. Steps include watching a video and/or reading content, having a call with a ChangeX team member, forming a team so that you have support, having your first team meeting, sharing a team photo, and sharing a project action plan.

  • What can funding be used for?

    Once funding is received it can be used to cover direct set-up costs of the new community project. For example space rental, insurance fees, seeds and planting materials, tools, training fees; pretty much any materials you might need for a project that benefits your community.

    Funds cannot be used for the costs of work that has already been carried out, costs unrelated to the setup and maintenance of the new project, payments to group members for their work on the project. Funds can’t be used for the promotion of religious causes, non-charitable activities, sponsorship or fundraising events. Please read the terms and conditions for further details.

  • How do I know if there is funding available?

    On idea pages, if there is funding available for the idea in your region you will see “Funding available” and the region listed in the turquoise box. When you first login you will also see a green banner at the top of the screen saying “live funds near you” if there is funding available in your region. The ChangeX homepage will feature those live funds near you.

    A note on the waitlist: when all the funding has been allocated to applicants, new applicants will go on a waitlist. If some applicants that are in the fund don’t successfully complete the 30 Day Challenge their funding will be released and can be then allocated to those on the waitlist. To see if you are going on a waitlist check the main fund page, ideas fully allocated will have the note “Join the waitlist” instead of “Apply to start”.

  • What is ChangeX?

    ChangeX is a platform that connects communities to proven ideas and funding.

    By empowering local changemakers with proven ideas from social innovators and accessible funding from our partners, we aim to build healthier, more inclusive and sustainable communities. Our work is aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and together with our partners, we aim to impact 1 billion people globally by 2030.

    • Communities: Get the funding, resources and support you need to start impactful projects in your community.
    • Social innovators: Connect with local changemakers, access funding to scale your idea, and impact more communities globally.
    • Funders: Fund the themes and regions they care most about, with measurable impact, and at global scale.

    We believe that by bringing the best social innovations and the world’s changemakers together in a shared community, we can accelerate the spread of innovations across the world and have a bigger impact. Together we aim to unleash the potential of changemakers by enabling collaboration, by sharing knowledge and resources, by connecting changemakers across different disciplines and innovations and by opening up access to the world’s best proven social innovations to everyone.

Other ideas

Organize a Cleanup