Land Acquisition

The Foundation prefers to make awards to projects that purchase land outright and is proud to support the protection of wildlife habitat at natural areas throughout the state. To date, Foundation grants have assisted with land acquisition at Project Sites in 51 different counties in Illinois.

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 such projects match up with the Funding Guidelines listed below.


  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations
  • Local government agencies serving Illinois residents

ALL applicants (nonprofits and local government agencies) are required to provide a Federal Employer Tax ID/Employer Tax ID Number (FEIN/EIN).


  • Purchase natural habitat (as opposed to parks or other open space)
  • Apply all Foundation funds towards the direct purchase of the natural habitat. Up to $10,000 may be requested to help fund restoration activities during the first year after purchase.
  • Meet the minimum transactional requirements for payment:
    • willing seller
    • agreed upon price that is equal to or lower than the appraised value. If you are contemplating a purchase that would not meet this condition, call the Foundation to discuss before applying.
    • acceptable appraisal – the appraisal’s Date of Valuation must be within 12 months of the closing date.  It must be conducted by an Illinois-certified appraiser and commissioned by the applicant organization, not the seller.


Additional Criteria


Eligible applicants may apply for up to 80% of the direct cost of the land and up to $10,000 for restoration activities to be completed within the first year after purchase.

Applicants may be awarded a grant at a lower amount than requested.


  • February 23, 2021 – CLOSED
  • August 24, 2021 – CLOSED

Application Process

Applications are submitted online.

Required Attachments saved as File Names in bold:

  • AcqForm Project Description Form
  • AcqBudgProject Budget Form
  • Maps – Maps showing land to be acquired and location of the property in relation to previously protected natural areas and/or parcels also identified as conservation priorities
  • OrgBudg – Organizational or departmental operating budget(s) – one for the most recent fiscal year and one for the upcoming fiscal year (if available)
  • FinRep – A financial report for the most recent fiscal year including Balance Sheet, Income Statement, and any notes to financial statements
  • EIN – IRS letter confirming EIN
  • 501(c)(3) – IRS Tax Status Determination Letter (for 501(c)(3)’s)
  • ILChOrgRep – your organization’s most recent Illinois Charitable Organization Annual Report filed with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office (for 501(c)(3)’s)
  • RestBudg – If applicable, a completed Restoration Budget. This budget should provide the breakdown of expenditures included under Immediate (first year) Restoration in your Total Project Budget.

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.