American Express Donates $1 Million To Make Eight U.S. Cities Cleaner, Greener, and More Beautiful

New York, NY (September 22, 2008)- American Express today announced the launch of the American Express Root For Our City Challenge, an initiative to help make eight U.S. cities cleaner, greener and more beautiful. The company is committing $1 million toward tree planting projects and is encouraging the local communities to participate in helping their city secure the largest portion of the grant money. The initiative challenges local merchants to help bring more trees to city streets. ACT worked vigorously to engage American Express to consider urban forestry as it’s charitable cause, and also advocated for working with ACT members in American Express’s eight identified markets.

City Partner Organizations:
Atlanta: Trees Atlanta
Boston: Boston’s Urban Forest Coalition, City of Boston
Chicago: Department of Environment, City of Chicago
Los Angeles: Million Trees Los Angeles
Miami: City of Miami Office of Sustainable Initiatives
New York City: New York Restoration Project, MillionTreesNYC
San Francisco: San Francisco DPW, San Francisco Bureau of Forestry
Washington DC: Casey Trees
The American Express Root For Our City Challenge is part of the company’s commitment to community improvement and the environment. Cardmembers may vote for their city with each purchase at a participating merchant in the eight cities, which include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington DC. At the conclusion of the American Express Root For Our City Challenge on October 31, 2008, the city with the most votes from purchases by Cardmembers at participating merchants will receive the largest share of the $1 million grant.
“Trees make a huge difference in our cities. They help to offset carbon emissions, beautify an area and create a positive impact on the local economy,” said Kathy King, vice president of marketplace development, American Express Merchant Services. “Our goal with the Root For Our City Challenge is to engage people across the nation in a collaborative effort to help green the urban settings in which they live and work.”
The participating cities, which each have a highly populated dense urban landscape, have paired with a local organization with an environmental mission that will help implement the planting projects and further engage community involvement.
The American Express Root For Our City Challenge runs from now through October 31, 2008, with the city with the most votes announced in mid November 2008. Each of the eight participating cities will receive $100,000 for their participation and tree planting projects, with the city with the most votes receiving $300,000. Project plans range from replacing storm-damaged and aging trees, to the greening of lower income housing campuses, including the planting of hundreds of native trees that would significantly increase the tree canopy in urban areas.
Cardmembers may participate in the American Express Root For Our City Challenge by simply paying with any American Express Card when you see the tree icon for this Challenge displayed at participating merchants in each of the eight participating cities to vote for that city from September 22 – October 31, 2008. The city with the most votes will receive the most funding for trees.
For more information, contact Sarah Meron at 212-640-5503.
Related Resources:
American Express Root For Our City Challenge