American Water Charitable Foundation and NRPA Award $500,000 For Water-Inspired Play Areas

The American Water Charitable Foundation (AWCF) is excited to announce the recipients of their 2020 Building Better Communities grant program:

  • City of Franklin, IN
  • City of Lawson, MO

The grants, which total $500,000, will be used to create community-focused, water-inspired play areas. This is the seventh year of the grant program, which is funded by the AWCF and administered by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).

“We are pleased to partner with the cities of Franklin and Lawson to provide these outdoor spaces so children and families can learn, interact and appreciate water, a critical natural resource, in a fun and engaging way,” said Carrie Williams, president, American Water Charitable Foundation. “Through our work, we have found splash pads are a wonderful way to ensure water access for all, while supporting our conservation focus and engaging community members in environmental education. These projects will allow families to enjoy the wonders of water, while also learning the valuable role we all play in protecting our environment.”

The City of Franklin will use the $250,000 grant to create the Amphitheater Splashpad, which will provide an all-inclusive water experience at the city’s newest downtown park. It will create equal access to water play by being designed to accommodate those with mobility issues and other disabilities, while also being the city’s first free water play amenity. The splash pad will provide opportunities to all children in the local community to assist them in learning how to be future water stewards. Educational programming on water quality and environmental conservation will also be held at the park and the pad will feature a recirculation system to help conserve water.

With the $250,000 grant, the City of Lawson will create an all-inclusive splash pad water play experience for the local community. This amenity will be located in the heart of downtown and be accessible to all members of the community. It will be designed to accommodate those with mobility issues and other disabilities and will be the city’s first free water play amenity. The project will encourage water stewardship through educational signage specific to the community and conservation features the splash pad includes.

“We are proud to support the essential work of park and recreation professionals in Lawson and Franklin to provide their communities with equitable water-based education and inclusive play opportunities,” said Kellie May, NRPA vice president, programs and partnerships. “The American Water Charitable Foundation has been an exceptional partner in this work and their continued commitment to local parks and recreation has provided over 800,000 people across eighteen communities with access to nature and water inspired parks.”

The Building Better Communities initiative, now in its seventh year, helps communities create or enhance public park spaces or programs that encourage the community to engage in water and nature-inspired play, connect to the natural world and focus on environmental education and water-based recreation. The grants help communities engage children and families in areas surrounding the chosen parks. Since 2014, the Foundation has awarded 18 NRPA grants to American Water communities totaling $2.3 million in California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

For more information about the Building Better Communities grant program, visit the American Water Charitable Foundation website.

About the National Recreation and Park Association

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit

About American Water

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to more than 14 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

About the American Water Charitable Foundation

Established in 2010 with a founding contribution from American Water, the American Water Charitable Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides a formal way to demonstrate the company’s ongoing commitment to being a good neighbor, citizen, and contributor to the communities where American Water and its employees live, work and operate. The Foundation helps support American Water employee-identified nonprofit endeavors. More information can be found online at


Media Contacts:
Joseph Szafran
American Water
External Affairs Manager

Data & News supplied by
Stock quotes supplied by Barchart
Quotes delayed at least 20 minutes.
By accessing this page, you agree to the following
Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.