We offer grants for general operations and projects; technical assistance; and program-related investments to organizations for work that leads to landscape-scale land preservation and stewardship. We also convene groups and encourage participation in strategic partnerships. We support efforts throughout the Chicago region with current emphasis on five priority landscapes: Calumet, Forest Preserves of Cook County, Grand Kankakee, Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, and Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Please review our strategy and the eligibility requirements below.
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. The Chicago Wilderness Green Infrastructure Vision Map has a goal to expand, buffer and connect those protected lands further still (see map at left). 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, we offer program-related investments to existing grantees.
Protecting more land is a big job. Stewarding it long-term is an even bigger job. That’s why we offer general operating grants to sustain land conservation organizations, as well as capacity-building grants to help them meet expanded land conservation opportunities. We also encourage partnerships and collaborations to accelerate and enhance our region’s conservation goals.
Some land conservation happens with easements or acquisitions. Some with volunteers armed with loppers. Some occurs at the policy level. For this reason, we support advocacy efforts to align regional planning and on-the-ground results with established land conservation goals.
Your complete proposal must be submitted online by 11:59pm Central Time on
It takes about four months from grant application deadline through board decision. After the board meeting, you’ll hear from us by email within a couple weeks.
2020 deadlines have not yet been set, but they are typically the last Fridays of March and July.
You’ll be directed to our online grant system to choose and start an application and create a login and password, so you can save and return to your work at any time.