Today the National Aquarium recognized a group of generous philanthropic partners dedicated to bringing the natural, living Chesapeake Bay back to the Inner Harbor as part of the reimagination for its waterfront campus. The National Aquarium plans to install a network of floating wetlands between Piers 3 and 4, creating habitat for native species, gradually improving the harbor's water quality and reconnecting residents and visitors with the natural world right at the water's edge.
Currently, a floating wetland prototype is in place, serving as both a successful example of how these installations can support wildlife and as an educational tool for the Aquarium's What Lives in the Harbor program, which gives Baltimore City Public Schools' sixth graders hands-on learning opportunities to engage with a slice of the Chesapeake Bay.
This vision for an expansive, vibrant waterfront ecosystem will soon be realized thanks to the help of donations from organizations and individuals who believe in the project and its tremendous benefit to Baltimore City. A total of $11 million has been awarded to date from both public and private funders, to support the goal for a greener waterfront. Major private donations recently received include CFG Bank, the waterfront campus project's lead sponsor, with a generous $3 million gift; $2 million from the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company; $1 million from Constellation, an Exelon Company; $1 million from Mary Catherine Bunting and $500,000 from the Bunting Family Foundation. These latest gifts serve as a tipping point in funds raised for this important project that would not otherwise be possible.
"The waterfront campus is something we want to support for the conservation, education and recreation benefits it will bring to Baltimore City," said Jack Dwyer, founder of CFG Bank. "As someone who is personally devoted to supporting education, I am thrilled CFG Bank is able to help make this immersive 'outdoor classroom' a reality for local students. I encourage any local companies to support Baltimore as well."
As the founder of a Baltimore-based company, Dwyer believes in giving back to the community they serve. CFG Bank is committed to fostering a bright future for Baltimore as an engaged philanthropic partner and a business lender, providing economic empowerment to businesses looking to invest in the city.
Generous philanthropic funding from Constellation, an Exelon company, supports an array of Aquarium conservation initiatives. To celebrate the Aquarium's commitment to clean energy, Constellation will support a solar powered installation on the waterfront campus as part of its donation. "The National Aquarium makes an incredible impact through conservation and education programs, and the new waterfront campus will expand this reach to even more visitors," said Jim McHugh, Constellation's CEO. "This expansion, which will provide hands-on science education for local students, will highlight the Aquarium's longstanding commitment to clean energy and we're thrilled to support it."
"These outstanding gifts from CFG Bank and others including public support from Baltimore City, Baltimore County and the State of Maryland, are helping launch a new waterfront renaissance here in Baltimore," said John Racanelli, president and CEO of the National Aquarium. "Through their support, they are joining us in our mission to inspire conservation of the world's aquatic treasures. Our iconic Inner Harbor, and the Chesapeake Bay that connects it to the world, are indeed treasures worth protecting."
Learn more about the future of the waterfront campus.