Nonprofit Chicago Eco House Wins $25,000 UL Innovative Education Award Prize

Youth learning to install solar panels

UL and The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) awarded five 2017 UL Innovative Education Award (ULIEA) winners with a combined $250,000 (USD) in recognition grants for furthering environmental education via STEM principles (E-STEM).

Illinois’ Chicago Eco House won a third-place $25,000 recognition grant for their work involving South Side and West Side neighborhood youth in environmentally related education projects. Chicago Eco House uses sustainability to alleviate poverty in Chicago’s inner city neighborhoods of Englewood, Woodlawn, and West Garfield Park. Participating youth revitalize the community through income generating flower farms and 3D printing projects. In addition, youth learn about gardening, backyard chickens, cooking, and carpentry while encouraging students to use sustainable thinking to support community development.

ULIEA honored four other organizations with recognition grants, including a $100,000 grand prize, two $50,000 prizes, and another $25,000 prize. All five winning organizations will meet at UL’s headquarters in Northbrook, Ill. on Aug. 9-11 for the third ULIEA Leadership Summit to share best practices and celebrate their collective success in pushing E-STEM forward.


“All of our 2017 winners understand what’s at stake,” says Cara Gizzi, UL’s Vice President of Public Safety Education and Outreach. “They’re not just thinking about short-term goals. They are actively educating and preparing today’s youth — tomorrow’s leaders — to solve the problems of our future world. It’s exciting to see students across North America receiving the tools to identify and address environmental problems with creative, STEM-based and net-positive solutions. We are so inspired and hopeful for the future.”

“While the award creators expected to find leaders in E-STEM, they were thrilled to find organizations also profoundly impacting social issues,” says Christiane Maertens, NAAEE’s Deputy Director. “These organizations are going beyond E-STEM. They’re digging deep into their communities and the world-at-large to find youth needing attention, education and direction. Many of…

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