Capacity Building

The Foundation will consider projects designed to help increase the organizational capacity of nonprofit groups involved in protecting natural areas and wildlife habitat in Illinois. The objective of the grant program is to broaden and strengthen the Foundation’s applicant pool and ultimately increase the amount of funding opportunities for projects that purchase and protect habitat.

Most grant projects supported under the Capacity Building grant program focus on assisting a single organization. Contact the Foundation if you have an idea for a project that will build the capacity of multiple partner groups to advance land conservation in Illinois.


  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations

ALL applicants are required to provide a Federal Employer Tax ID/Employer Tax ID Number (FEIN/EIN). This program is primarily for 501(c)(3) organizations.  If you represent a college or a university and have an idea for a project that would build the capacity of conservation organizations and agencies to protect native wildlife habitat in Illinois, please call the Foundation before submitting an application.


  • Work plans are unique to fit the needs of the Grantee Organization
  • Grants are typically two years in length
  • The Foundation will consider requests that include limited support for staff if certain criteria are met (see below)
  • Funding typically provides access to outside technical experts to assist with activities such as:
    • Strategic Planning
    • Fundraising for a Land Acquisition Fund, a Defense Fund, or to become self-sustaining
    • Board Development
    • Organizational Development
    • Land Trust Alliance (LTA) organizational assessment and training
    • Implementation of LTA Standards and Practices


  • Board of Directors has previously adopted specific land acquisition and natural resource protection goals
  • Application demonstrates connection between increasing the organizational capacity and the protection of natural areas and wildlife habitat in the state
  • Project work plan is clearly designed so that the Grantee Organization will be self-sustaining (if it is not already) and ready to bump up its habitat protection efforts at the conclusion of the proposed project
  • Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about Capacity Building.


Eligible applicants may apply for up to $40,000 for a two-year grant project. Rarely will the Foundation’s grant cover the full cost of the work proposed. The additional resources that an applicant brings to the project as well as its plan for fundraising both during and after the project ends will be taken into consideration during proposal review.  **Limited funding for staff may be considered during the second year of a grant provided that the Grantee organization is able to raise a match for these funds during the first year.**


  • February 22, 2022 – CLOSED
  • August 23, 2022 – CLOSED

Application Process

The following information will be required for the online application.

  • A completed Project Description Form
  • A completed Project Budget Form
  • Map(s) showing the organization’s area of operation
  • Organizational or departmental operating budget(s) – one for the most recent fiscal year and the one for the upcoming fiscal year (if available)
  • A financial report for the most recent fiscal year including Balance Sheet, Income Statement, and any notes to financial statements
  • IRS letter confirming EIN
  • IRS Tax Status Determinatation Letter (for 501(c)(3)’s)
  • Your organization’s most recent Illinois Charitable Organization Annual Report filed with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office

A confirmation email is sent after an application is received.

The Foundation may follow up with additional questions for applicants.

Applicants will be notified of the Foundation’s decision on grant requests approximately three months after receipt of applications.

Award Process

The Foundation’s review process can take three months or longer.  The grant award process is competitive. Some projects may be awarded at lower levels than requested; others may be declined altogether.

Frequently Asked Questions related to the Foundation’s Capacity Building Grant Program.

You may find the following links and documents useful during the application process: