The Foundation prefers to support projects that purchase land outright. The Foundation will consider projects that protect valuable natural resources in perpetuity through the purchase of conservation easements on a limited basis depending on how well such projects match up with the Funding Guidelines listed below.
Please see How to Apply to learn about preparing your Letter of Inquiry Application and to get the latest information on deadlines.
|Application Deadlines:||Letters of Inquiry are due January 15, or July 16, 2013.|
4 months. The Foundation evaluates Letters of Inquiry against the funding criteria and priorities below. Within two months of the above deadlines, a committee of the Foundation's Board of Trustees will invite some or all of the applicants to submit Full Proposals for consideration by the Board of Trustees that announces grants in early May and early November. The Foundation's review process is competitive.
|Available Support:||The Foundation prefers to fund projects that have local support and leverage other funding sources. Foundation grants are to be applied towards the capital costs of purchasing the land or easement only. It may consider requests of up to 70% of total project costs. |
On a limited basis, the Foundation will consider, as part of the acquisition request, a small amount of support (not to exceed $10,000) for immediate one-time expenses related to restoration. If you have questions about the types of restoration expenses that may be eligible, please contact Natural Areas Program Officer, Jolie Krasinski, at 312-372-5191.
|Restrictions:||The Program is restricted to the purchase of natural habitat as opposed to parks or other open space. The Foundation does not provide re-imbursements for previously acquired land. The Foundation will not provide funding for remediation of environmentally impaired properties. As with all Foundation grant programs, funding is not provided for operating costs.|
The Foundation will accept and review Letters of Inquiry for land acquisition projects that:
- Seek to purchase natural habitat. While parks, open space and scenic easements to protect the rural or agricultural character of a community may also add value to the quality of life in Illinois communities, projects to protect these types of lands are not eligible for funding under this grant program.
- Seek support which will be applied towards the direct purchase price of the natural land only. See the Land Acquisition FAQs for more information.
- Meet the minimum transactional requirements. At the time of the initial Letter of Inquiry, there must be a willing seller. The Foundation prefers, but does not require, that applicants have already arrived at an agreed upon price. All land acquisition grant payments are contingent upon the submission of a recent appraisal commissioned by the applicant and conducted by an Illinois certified appraiser which supports the purchase price of the property.
The Foundation will seek and support opportunities to acquire land that:
- Provides important natural habitat. The Foundation's Program is focused specifically on protecting quality natural areas and wildlife habitat for residents throughout the state to enjoy. Sites which are on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory or otherwise protect valuable natural resources targeted by a conservation planning process (see next bullet) are given higher priority for funding.
- Is identified as a priority for preservation. Sites which have been identified as a priority for protection by a local, regional, or statewide conservation planning process for the valuable natural resources they contain are given higher consideration for funding.
- Connects to previously protected natural areas. The Foundation prefers to fund projects which protect habitat that adjoins existing natural areas that are already protected. Examples include a project which expands the boundaries of state park to protect more of the same habitat, a project which purchases a privately-owned parcel surrounded by county forest preserve, and a project which acquires neighboring property to an Illinois dedicated Nature Preserve owned by a local land trust.
- Is open to the public. The Foundation supports the acquisition of natural areas that are open for public use and enjoyment.
- Size of the parcel of land.
The Foundation prefers the acquisition of parcels greater than 50 acres. Consideration of smaller parcels is dependent in part upon how well the project matches the criteria above and is given higher priority if it is part of a project to purchase multiple parcels.
- Plan for protecting the land in perpetuity.
- Ability to steward the land.
- Amount of local and other funding applicant is applying to the project in addition to funds requested from the Foundation.
- Applicant's track record of protecting land in Illinois, including previous projects supported by the Foundation.
- The Foundation applies the following additional criteria and priorities to larger requests: Land Acquisition Requests ≥ $1M.
Please see How to Apply to learn about preparing your Letter of Inquiry Application Form and to get the latest information on deadlines.