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Greener Grove - A Brief History of How We Started & How We Work

Greener Grove Leadership. From left to right: Steve Ruffolo, Louise Kelly, Suzanne Lestina, Phil Bolton, Carol Richart

Sharing a passion for the environment and Downers Grove, Louise Kelly, Carol Richart, and a group of residents came together in Fall 2022 to petition the DG Village Council to bring back the Environmental Concerns Commission. This commission formerly worked with the Downers Grove Village Council, but had been made inoperative in January of 2020. In collecting signatures on the petition, they met many other residents who shared their passions and a belief that DG needed to do more to improve the environmental health of our community.

While the petition did not have immediate success, a conversation had been started. Louise and Carol were joined by Phil Bolton, and together they decided to start meeting regularly to keep the momentum going. In January 2023, they hosted the first Greener Grove meeting. Community members attending this initial meeting shared many ideas and hopes for the future of DG, and shortly after, Steve Ruffolo and Suzanne Lestina joined the leadership team.

Greener Grove is organized into four subgroups, each led by a member of the leadership team:

  • Projects - Phil Bolton

  • Political Partnerships - Steve Ruffalo

  • Community Activism - Carol Richart

  • Communications - Louise Kelly

Suzanne Lestina handles the business of the organization and is spearheading our efforts to establish Greener Grove as a 501c3 organization. You can learn more about what each subgroup has been doing these past few months here.

It truly takes a village when you are trying to create something new: We partner with other organizations in the area to share ideas, take advantage of lessons learned, and get the word out, including the Pierce Downer’s Heritage Alliance (PDHA).

The leadership team is focused on the activities of their individual subgroup, as well as long-range planning. Each member serves a 2 to 3 year term. Leadership team elections for some positions will be held in April 2025.

Have questions? Please email us at

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