The Mississippi River serves as an indispensable resource for so many across its 2,350-mile route through the United States. It plays a pivotal role in a thriving $12.6 billion shipping industry that supports more than 35,000 jobs and provides tens of millions with drinking water. That’s why Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) has long been dedicated to restoring and protecting the river in the Twin Cities region, benefiting wildlife, water quality and recreation. 

FMR also engages diverse youth in river restoration projects and professional development to explore career options in the environmental field through its Environmental Stewardship Institute (ESI). 

With grant support from the Minnesota Beverage Association and the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America,  ESI’s 2024 summer program will focus on revitalizing a neglected portion of the riverfront area. Specifically, the grant will fund a range of activities, including planting native trees and plants, creating educational signage on proper recycling, building resting structures and exploring recycling bin placement. The project also will include a communications campaign, including social media, to raise awareness about its community benefits.  

Thirty-six ESI youth fellows will work on, and be directly impacted by, the project.  Ialso will benefit thousands of residents riverfront visitors for years to come.  

FMR has supported for more than a decade programs that are making a significant impact in their communities, including through environmental sustainability. One grant at a time, the beverage industry also is doing its part to actively create a cleaner, more sustainable future. 

To learn more about the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America, visit