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Chicago Region Land Conservation Grant

Grants to Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin Nonprofits and
Agencies for Land Resources Stewardship and Preservation

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation

Deadline Date:

07/27/18 11:59 PM CT


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Grants to Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin nonprofit organizations and government agencies to support landscape-scale stewardship and preservation activities throughout the Chicago region. New applicants are asked to contact program staff prior to applying. Funding may be requested for both projects and general operating support.

This program supports efforts throughout the Chicago region with a current focus on five priority landscapes: Calumet, Forest Preserves of Cook County, Grand Kankakee, Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, and Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.

The Foundation’s Chicago Region includes:
-Wisconsin: Walworth and Kenosha Counties
-Illinois: McHenry, Lake, Kane, Cook, Dupage, Kendall, Will, and Grundy Counties
-Indiana: Lake, Porter, and LaPorte Counties

This program also encourages and participate in strategic partnerships.

To Protect and Restore:

There are nearly 10 million people living in Greater Chicagoland, making it the third largest metropolitan region in the country. Nevertheless, there is a long tradition of preserving land. Currently, more than 550,000 acres of woodlands, wetlands and prairie lands are permanently protected. Chicago Wilderness – a coalition of more than 300 public and private organizations – has a goal to expand, buffer and connect those protected lands further still. The ultimate goal is to achieve a thriving, interconnected network of approximately a million and a half acres. Occasionally, when opportunities arise to preserve lands of exceptional strategic significance, the Foundation offers Program Related Investments as bridge funding.

To Grow Stronger:

Protecting more land is a big job. Stewarding it long-term is an even bigger job. That’s why the Foundation offers general operating grants to sustain land conservation organizations, as well as capacity-building grants to help them meet expanded land conservation opportunities. The Foundation also encourages partnerships and collaborations to accelerate and enhance the Chicago region's conservation goals.

To Advocate Change:

Some land conservation happens with easements or acquisitions. Some with volunteers armed with loppers. Some occur at the policy level. For this reason, the Foundation supports advocacy efforts to align regional planning and on-the-ground results with established land conservation goals.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 181406

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

-You must be a 501(c)(3) public charity or unit of government.
-You must have completed at least one full fiscal year of operations before applying.
-You must have a demonstrated track record of advancing landscape-scale conservation.

The following are not eligible:
-Religious activities, political campaigns, or legislative lobbying
-Stand-alone conferences, publications, films, events, websites, or videos
-Endowments, capital campaigns, or debt reduction.

Pre-Application Information:

New applicants are asked to contact program staff prior to starting a new application.

Proposals are reviewed twice a year. Your complete proposal must be submitted online by 11:59 PM Central Time on Friday, March 30, 2018 for review at the July 2018 board meeting. The second deadline is Friday, July 27, 2018 for review at the November 2018 board meeting.

All in all, it takes about four months from grant application deadline through board decision. After the board meeting, you'll hear from the Foundation by email within a couple weeks.

About Chicago Region Priorities:

More information about the Foundation's regions may be found here:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply for a general operations grant:

Apply for a project grant:

For questions about the grant application or reporting processes:

Susan Clark, Grants Manager

For questions about Chicago Region Land Conservation grants or PRIs:

Arthur Pearson, Chicago Program Director

Chicago Office
35 East Wacker Drive
Suite 2600
Chicago, Illinois 60601-2102

Grant Coverage Areas:

Chicago Region (Calumet, Forest Preserves of Cook County, Grand Kankakee, Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, and Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie)

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Illinois: McHenry, Lake, Kane, Cook, Dupage, Kendall, Will, and Grundy Counties;   Indiana: Lake, Porter, and LaPorte Counties;   Wisconsin: Walworth and Kenosha Counties