MillerCoors, River Network: Award $60,000 in grants to local watershed organizations

Fourth annual MillerCoors-River Network grant competition garners nearly 15,000 votes from the public

CHICAGO – MillerCoors, in partnership with River Network, today awarded more than $60,000 to six local non-profit organizations focused on watershed protection, conservation and education. The recipients of the grants were chosen by nearly 15,000 people in the fourth annual MillerCoors – River Network grant competition, where only a handful of votes separated the winner from the runner-up.

As part of an $80,000 donation from MillerCoors to River Network, the largest grant of $25,000 will be awarded to Clinton River Watershed Council in Michigan, which received the most votes in the month-long online voting campaign. The group will apply the funds towards streambank restoration projects, public access development and ongoing public awareness initiatives around the Clinton River.

“Water quality and availability is a critical global issue, and one that MillerCoors has identified as a key sustainable development priority,” said Kim Marotta, director of corporate social responsibility for MillerCoors. “Through our partnership with River Network, we’re proud to provide support to organizations that will help bring awareness to water conservation and quality and make a meaningful impact on water supplies around the country.”

Friends of the Mississippi River located in Minnesota, received the second-most votes. The competition originally awarded second-place with a $15,000 grant, however due to only a handful of votes standing between the first and second place winners, MillerCoors will provide an additional $5,000 to Friends of the Mississippi River. The third place vote-recipient, Ohio River Foundation, will receive a $10,000 grant and the remaining three organizations will each receive $2,000.

“From improving natural habitat and building rain gardens, to reducing polluted runoff and soil erosion and establishing watershed friendly homes – these types of water protection efforts showcase the breadth of what is happening every day in local communities around the country,” said Todd Ambs, president of River Network. “We’re especially grateful to MillerCoors for their leadership and support of these six specific projects, and for helping to ensure a healthy water future for all people, fish and wildlife, and future generations.”

MillerCoors is committed to water sustainability and has set a goal to reduce water usage to 3.5 barrels of water to one barrel of beer by 2015. More information on MillerCoors sustainable development and water stewardship programs can be found on . You can also read more about the organizations at

Details on the six organizations follow:

1st Place, $25,000 Grant:

Clinton River Watershed Council (CRWC), MI: CRWC’s WAIT WAIT… Don’t Step There, Fish Here! will address intensive traffic at Yates Park that has contributed to streambank erosion and subsequent destruction of fish habitat and water quality impacts. Streambank restoration, public access development and an ongoing public awareness campaign will help protect one of the most popular fishing locations on the Clinton River.

2nd Place, $15,000 Grant:

Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR), MN: FMR’s Urban Riverside Planting Project will improve natural area habitat and water quality at numerous sites throughout the Twin Cities. It will also increase environmental awareness, knowledge and interest in river and watershed stewardship among a diverse group of river neighborhood residents, especially the local Somali and Hmong communities.

3rd Place, $10,000 Grant

Ohio River Foundation (ORF), OH: The Ohio River basin suffers from major sediment erosion. ORF will conduct a native re-vegetation restoration program along the Great Miami River in order to stabilize riverbanks, reduce soil erosion and flooding, improve fish and wildlife habitat, and protect local water quality.

Remaining $2,000 Grants (for general organizational support):

Friends of Marsh Creek (FMC), CA: FMC will host more than a dozen service projects and education events to increase understanding and raise awareness about local water quality issues, while advancing stewardship activities within the Marsh Creek Watershed. These projects will also support California’s efforts to protect the San Joaquin Delta ecosystem.

Lake Champlain International (LCI), VT: LCI and community volunteers will educate residents of Burlington, VT, on watershed friendly practices and provide the opportunity to certify their properties as BLUE

® – Watershed Friendly. In addition, mini-grants will be available to install water pollution prevention features at homes, thereby helping greatly reduce urban water pollution runoff that flows into Lake Champlain.

Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR), VA – FOR’s Rainscape Retrofits program will work with homeowners to construct residential rain gardens to reduce the impact of polluted stormwater runoff on local waterways. In addition, FOR will establish several demonstration projects and launch a low-impact development public education campaign.

About MillerCoors

Built on a foundation of great beer brands and nearly 300 years of brewing heritage, MillerCoors continues the commitment of its founders to brew the highest quality beers. MillerCoors is the second-largest beer company in the United States, capturing nearly 30 percent of beer sales in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Led by two of the best-selling beers in the industry, MillerCoors has a broad portfolio of brands across every major industry segment. The portfolio is led by the company’s premium light brands: Coors Light, Miller Lite and Miller64. Coors Light, the World’s Most Refreshing Beer, offers consumers refreshment as cold as the Rockies. Miller Lite established the American light beer category in 1975, offering beer drinkers a light beer that tastes like beer should. Miller64 is 64 calories of crisp, light taste that complements a balanced lifestyle. MillerCoors brews premium beers Coors Banquet and Miller Genuine Draft, and economy brands Miller High Life and Keystone Light. Tenth and Blake Beer Company, MillerCoors craft and import division, imports Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Pilsner Urquell and Grolsch and features craft brews from the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, Blue Moon Brewing Company and the Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Company. MillerCoors operates eight major breweries in the U.S., as well as the Leinenkugel’s craft brewery in Chippewa Falls, Wisc. and two microbreweries, the Tenth Street Brewery in Milwaukee and the Blue Moon Brewing Company at Coors Field in Denver. MillerCoors vision is to create the best beer company in America through great people changing the way America enjoys beer. MillerCoors builds its brands the right way through brewing quality, responsible marketing and sustainable environmental and community impact. MillerCoors is a joint venture of SABMiller plc and Molson Coors Brewing Company. Learn more at, at or on Twitter through @MillerCoors.

About River Network

For more than twenty years, River Network has empowered and united people and communities to protect and restore rivers and other waters that sustain the health of our country. We envision a future when every person knows their watershed and is an active caretaker of their local river, lake, stream or bay. We work for the day when all people, fish and wildlife have access to clean plentiful water. Our headquarter staff in Portland, OR and field staff in Vermont, Maryland, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Utah and Idaho work closely with thousands of watershed protection groups from coast to coast – building the capacity of state and local groups, assisting people grappling with water and environmental health problems, protecting habitat for fish and wildlife, developing blue cities and reducing our country’s use of water and energy.