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Bank of America Awards Shedd Aquarium $1 Million Grant to Help Support Youth and Family Community Programs As Part of Centennial Commitment

Partnership will fuel opportunities for learning and curiosity through a robust lineup of camps and programs for Chicago youth and families

June 13, 2022

A group of young boys sit around a table littered with crayons and colored paper in Shedd's learning labs. They all wear matching green cap t-shirts, and are intent on their coloring. A learning facilitator in a yellow camp shirt leans over the middle of the table, helping one of them with his glueing.

CHICAGO – Shedd Aquarium today announced it has been awarded a $1 million grant from Bank of America in support of its Centennial Commitment. Specifically, the funding will fuel the aquarium’s involvement in programs across Chicago’s south and west sides and in the city’s parks, increasing access to nature and providing opportunities for learning and curiosity with youth in the city throughout the summer months and beyond.

“Shedd Aquarium is incredibly grateful for this grant from the Bank of America and this continued longstanding partnership in Chicago, said Lisa Junkin Lopez, vice president of learning and community at Shedd Aquarium. This support will enable us to collaborate with partners to bring meaningful and exciting aquatic learning further into communities and expand access to nature-based activities for more young people across the city.”

Bank of America’s support will be applied to a variety of programs co-created with community leaders and designed to make Shedd Aquarium programming more accessible within Chicago communities. These activities, camps and festivals will reach youth throughout the year, including during a critical time when school is not in session. Based in neighborhoods like Austin and North Lawndale, residents will not need to travel far to experience the wonder of the aquatic animal world.

Some of the creative programs Shedd will be a part of, supported by Bank of America include:

  • Shedd’s participation in Project Exploration Summer Camp, a hands-on STEM camp in parks and libraries throughout Austin and other Chicago neighborhoods on the south and west side, featuring experiential learning opportunities in partnership with youth serving organizations.
  • Shedd’s involvement in Park Voyagers, a program collaboration between Museums in the Park and the Chicago Park District that brings the wonder of cultural institutions like Shedd directly into parks across the city to provide engaging learning experiences and activities.

“We share Shedd Aquarium’s vision to create a space for thoughtful, immersive and accessible educational opportunities for our next generation, and this strategic investment will help achieve just that,” said Rita Cook, president of Bank of America Chicago. “Shedd Aquarium’s community-based programs represent a pathway toward a brighter, more equitable future for Chicago youth, particularly those in our south and west side neighborhoods, and we’re honored to play a role in bringing this transformative vision to life.”

Whether it is coming eye-to-eye with animals or participating in hands-on STEAM activities, Shedd’s Learning team will provide engaging and immersive opportunities to make a connection with the aquatic world. Ultimately, these programs and resources support learner growth in environmental and scientific literacy through increased exposure to develop comfort and create a positive perception of nature.

​Shedd Aquarium also believes that these fun and recreation-focused activities are important to the social-emotional learning and overall wellbeing of Chicago’s youth.

Bank of America anchor grants are awarded to institutions that are vital to a city or region, that play an important role in the economic and social recovery of the communities they serve, and that provide leadership on issues of racial equity and economic mobility. Since 2018, Bank of America has awarded more than $53 million in anchor grants across the country. The Art Institute of Chicago and Chicago Public Library Foundation are prior recipients of anchor grants from Bank of America.

VISUALS: Photos of Learning programs at Shedd Aquarium can be viewed and downloaded here:

Photo Credit: ©Shedd Aquarium