Which Chicago Foundation Jumped on the Bloomingdale Trail Bandwagon?

We recently reported about the Chicago Community Trust's $1 million grant to help fund a new 2.7 mile recreational trail along an abandoned railroad track in Chicago. Well, Fred Eychaner of the Alphawood Foundation has recently offered to chip in another $2 million matching grant for the trail too. (Read Alphawood Foundation: Chicago Grants).

This one small trail is gaining a lot of big support around the city these days. Builders and local politicians have projected the trail's total cost from anywhere between $46 million to $91 million. Right before Thanksgiving, The 606, which another name for the Bloomingdale Trail, announced that Alphawood joined an anonymous donor to set up a match contribution program. The press release explained, “The bottom line: high-dollar donors will double their impact with a match from Alphawood. Those who give smaller donations will triple their impact with a match from both the anonymous donor and Alphawood.”

“Alphawood Foundation Chicago believes that The 606 is the most exciting public works project underway in Chicago. When completed, it will transform many neighborhoods and enhance the lives of thousands of Chicagoans,” said Alphawood Executive Director James D. McDonough. “We are very pleased to partner with the Trust for Public Land in this project and we hope that our matching gift will inspire others to contribute and thereby create momentum to get this project done,” he added.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel holds a lot of faith in The 606, even promising that it will transform the city in the way Millennium Park did. The project has already raised around $70 million in private and institutional funding.

“Our goal is to provide a great push-off to build momentum,” said Jim McDonough, Alphawood's executive director. “We want everyone in and around the city to be as excited as we are about this project. We want to encourage other large donors to jump in and make large gifts to get it done quickly and on time.”

But these funds are only the beginning of even more fundraising efforts in the near future. Right now the construction and landscaping estimates are at $95 million (quite a jump from the original $46 million estimate), but more money will be needed for programing, artwork, and ongoing enhancements. Thanks to the Alphawood and these anonymous matching grants, the 606 advertised the opportunity to triple your donation before December 31, 2013. Progress is being made on the trail, and construction updates are frequently provided on the 606 website. The Alphawood Foundation has gained recognition as one of the trail's latest and greatest supporters. So how many more foundations will it take to build a trail?