The Burning River Foundation is dedicated to improving, maintaining and celebrating the vitality of our regional freshwater resources. Our vision is to establish Northeast Ohio as the recognized environmental leader dedicated to the sustainability of its high quality freshwater resources.
The Burning River Foundation embraces the following Core Values:
- Ecological Conservation
- Environmental Protection
- Education/ Public Involvement
Established in 2007 as an outgrowth of the continued success of the Burning River Fest, we have awarded over $304,000 to local non-profit organizations such as the GreenCityBlueLake Institute, Great Lakes Science Center, Western Reserve Land Conservancy, Wendy Park Foundation, West Creek Preservation Committee and the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization for their work on water projects.
Through the Burning River Fest, we have also increased public awareness about the deteriorating, yet historic, Coast Guard Station, which has resulted in a collaborative cleanup and restoration effort by non-profit, corporate and government entities. The Fest has also helped put Whiskey Island and Wendy Park on the map as a wonderful greenspace right in the heart of Cleveland's industry (both past and present).
The Burning River Foundation, Inc.
Historically Burning River Fest operations were supported througha designated fiscal agent whose mission was closely aligned with that of the Burning River Fest. The Steering Committee of the Burning River Fest eventually felt that the event was well establishedenough to warrant the formation of its own supporting foundation. The Burning River Foundation, with a fiscal year ending on December 31, was established in 2007 to support significant environmental projects, as well as other non-profit organizations doing the same work.
Burning River Foundation recently awarded $58,000 in grants to support Northeast Ohio individuals and organizations that pursue ecological conservation, environmental protection and education/public involvement. Benefiting projects work toward the sustainable future of our regional freshwater resources. Organizations receiving funding in 2011 include the 5 Gyres Institute, Baldwin Wallace College, Lake Erie Water Keepers, Doan Brook Watershed Partnership, Downspout, Drink Local, Drink Tap, Ohio City Incorporated and Tinkers Creek Watershed Partners.
The Great Lakes Burning River Fest
The year 1969 marked an unforgettable event in Clevelands history. On June 22nd, the Cuyahoga River caught fire due to excessive pollution, thus creating one of the nations most well-known environmental disasters. Pat and Dan Conway, co-owners of Great Lakes Brewing Company, created the Great Lakes Burning River Fest (BRFest) as a vehicle to continue the successes of the Clean Water movement that resulted from the 1969 burning.
The goal of the event is to raise awareness of environmental issues that affect our region and the Cuyahoga River ecosystem. Proceeds are awarded to local organizations and projects whose mission coincides with that of the Foundation. Past award recipients include GreenCityBlueLake Institute (formerly EcoCity Cleveland), Cuyahoga RAP, Waterfront Coalition, the Wendy Park Foundation, the Western Reserve Rowing Foundation, West Creek Preservation Committee and the Ohio Environmental Council.
Through interactive programming, environmental exhibits, eco-lectures, music and art, this annual event educates families and the community on how to sustain a cleaner and healthier environment through simple changes in daily routines. The Conways produced and hosted the first four BRFests in their Brewery and Restaurant (2001-2004). By 2005, the event had outgrown its space and the decision was made to move the event outdoors as close to the Cuyahoga River as possible, thus allowing for continued growth that would have greater impact on the region. BRFest moved to Voinovich Park on Lake Erie in 2005 and then Wendy Park on Whiskey Island in 2006 and 2007. In 2008 the BRFest moved to Nautica and in 2009 it moved back to Wendy Park and took place at the historic Coast Guard Station at Whiskey Island.
In 2012, BRFest will again take place at the historic Coast Guard Station at Whiskey Island. Ample parking at Edgewater, a central location, a beautiful park, a venue right where the Cuyahoga River meets Lake Erie and he most spectacular nighttime views of Cleveland from a wonderful greenspace right in the heart of Cleveland's industry!
GOOD CHEER. GOOD CAUSE. GOOD BEER.
Since 2001, folks from all over the Great Lakes region have come together to remember the 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River and celebrate the renewed sense of eco-consciousness the infamous fire sparked. Intended to raise awareness of environmental issues affecting the Great Lakes region and Cuyahoga River ecosystem, the annual Burning River Fest features educational exhibits from area environmental groups, fresh food from local farms and eateries, live music and a special appearance by Great Lakes Brewing Company's Christmas Ale!
Highlights from 2011's Fest:
- Over 30 musicians and bands on three stages ranging from funk to blues to eclectic
- Great Lakes Brewing Company fish fry and craft beers, and other local restaurants and chefs adding to the flavor with fresh food offerings and demonstrations
- Local environmental groups featuring interactive and educational displays for all ages
- The most spectacular nighttime views of Cleveland from a wonderful greenspace right in the heart of Cleveland's industry!
Proceeds benefit the Burning River Foundation, a local non-profit organization that provides resources for the sustainable future of our waterways. Join us at Burning River Fest at the historic Coast Guard Station on Whiskey Island: help celebrate the "Spirit of Giving" and spark a new level of environmental awareness!