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 greater Chicago region (see Chicago Wilderness Vision map below for range) with current emphasis on five 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 and restoring 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.
We offer grants to support landscape-scale natural area restoration and stewardship. Occasionally, when opportunities arise to preserve lands of exceptional strategic significance, we offer program-related investments to existing grantees.
Restoring 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 restoration and stewardship opportunities. We also encourage partnerships and collaborations to accelerate and enhance our region’s conservation goals.
Land conservation progress also occurs at the policy level. For this reason, we support advocacy efforts to align federal, state, regional, and local policy and planning opportunities 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 within a couple weeks.
Click below to be directed to our online grant system to choose and start an application.
If you’re a new applicant, you will be prompted to create a login and password, so you can save and return to your work at any time.