This program helps nonprofit organizations add amenities and host public events at Illinois natural areas. To be eligible for grant support, volunteers must be actively involved in caring for natural habitat at your site.
Each grant provides up to $5,000 for amenities that enhance visitor use and enjoyment and promote volunteer well-being and happiness.
Each grant also provides support to partially reimburse the costs of hosting public events at the site during the 18-month grant period. Events should be designed to increase community involvement and support of the habitat. Funding for events is capped at $500 per site.
Please review the list of Site Criteria and Acceptable Amenities and Event Costs to determine if your project is eligible for support under this program. Please e-mail Cassie Slattery, if you have questions.
Community members learn about wetland control and upkeep at the Fall Fete event held by the Grand Prairie Friends of Illinois, celebrating the opening of Warbler Ridge Trail in Coles County.
A single organization may be invited to apply for funding at multiple sites per year, provided that each site meets the criteria below.
- Must be a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that actively engage volunteers in the management of a publicly-accessible natural area
Applicants are required to provide a Federal Employer Tax ID/Employer Tax ID Number (FEIN/EIN).
- Natural habitat supporting native plants and animals
- Open to the public
- Regularly cared for by volunteers
- Owned by a non-profit organization, local government, or government agency
- Located in Illinois
- Criteria and Guidelines for Government-owned Sites and Nonprofit-owned Sites (Resources Tab)
Each grant will provide up to $5,000 for amenities and up to $500 for events held during a 18-month grant period. Photos of the site before and after the amenity installation are required for payment.
Examples of the types of amenities that can be supported under the grant include:
- Picnic Tables
- Interpretive Signage
- Parking Pad
- A trail connector
- Restroom facilities
Examples of the events expenses that are supported under this grant include:
- Speaker fees
- Educational handouts
- Table rental fees
- Monitoring equipment
Other project ideas may be approved at the discretion of the Foundation.
- August 24, 2021 – CLOSED
Applications are submitted online.
Necessary documents that must accompany your application are listed below.
Required Attachments should be saved as File Names in bold.
- PAEForm – Public Amenities and Events Form
- 501(c)(3) – IRS Tax Status Determination Letter
- EIN – IRS letter confirming EIN (if not listed on your Tax Status Determination Letter)
- ILChOrgRep – your organization’s most recent Illinois Charitable Organization Annual Report filed with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office
The Foundation may follow up with additional questions for applicants.
Applicants will be notified of the Foundation’s decision on grant requests approximately two months after receipt of applications.
The grant award process is competitive and some projects may be declined.