Our Mission and Vision

The mission of Friends of the Chicago River is to improve and protect the Chicago River system for people, plants, and animals.

Our vision is making the Chicago River one of the world's greatest metropolitan rivers.

Friends of the Chicago River was founded in 1979 after an article penned by Robert Cassidy called “Our Friendless River” appeared in Chicago Magazine. Inspired to take action on behalf of one of the city’s greatest natural resources, concerned citizens came together forming Friends of the Chicago River later that year.

Since our founding, Friends has carried out a myriad of planning initiatives and played a key role in changing how the City of Chicago and other municipalities treat the river in development ordinances and plans. This has led to a number of river-edge improvements including riverwalks and waterside parks that feature the Chicago River.

Today our work also includes policy initiatives geared towards improving the water quality of the river so that it can support native plants, fish and other wildlife, and a variety of recreational uses; on-the-ground projects that result in physical improvements and the preservation of quality habitat; and education and outreach programs that inform and inspire people to help revitalize the Chicago River. As a result, the Chicago River is becoming a haven for wildlife and a treasured community resource.