For Grant Seekers

Nature-Based Climate Action Program

…A program to demonstrate and promote tree planting, prairie restoration, and other nature-based solutions to climate mitigation in rural areas.

The Nature-Based Climate Action Program supports projects that use natural systems to address climate change, the threats of extreme weather and habitat loss that contributes to the extinction of vital species. Natural systems solutions – which include the preservation or restoration of critical eco-systems such as forests, prairies and wetlands – have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration by as much as 20 percent of US greenhouse gases*.

The Nature-Based Climate Action Program is intended to support such direct action. If your organization is ready to take bold steps to address the climate crisis, we would like to hear from you.

  • Our Nature-Based Climate Action grant cycle will open in late July.  The 2021 timeline will be as follows:  Open for Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) on July 30; LOI deadline on September 3; Applications invited by September 9; Pre-submit date, for those who choose to pre-submit their application for review, September 23; Application deadline October 8; Grants awarded by November 10.  All LOIs and Applications are accepted online only.  

Focus of Support

We seek measurable environmental impact in the form of carbon drawdown and habitat restoration. Because the science supporting carbon sequestration and storage is nascent, and because we see opportunity to enhance public understanding of the challenges, we are interested in projects that can:

  • Increase community engagement and support for action to combat climate change;
  • Promote broad community understanding and policy change with respect to climate change and habitat loss;
  • Contribute to climate science in ways that increases the effectiveness of future land uses or action; and,
  • Model action for other organizations and communities.

Examples of projects we would welcome from nonprofit organizations include (but are in no way limited to):

  • Purchases of targeted land tracts for restoration or preservation of high plant diversity that may greatly increase carbon capture;
  • Large scale carbon farming demonstrations using trees, prairie or wetlands that monitor drawdown and contribute to climate science;
  • Projects that activate communities, stimulate media coverage, and encourage greater understanding of climate change by the public;
  • Tree planting projects in small cities and towns;
  • Large scale demonstrations of regenerative agriculture directed at advancing policy or supporting market-based change like the creation of a viable carbon market.

Geographic Areas of Interest

We encourage applicants from organizations working in East Central Illinois. We give preference to rural organizations, small cities and towns and we are especially interested in programs or projects that support collaboration or connect communities.

Grant Seeker Support

The Nature-Based Climate Action Program is an experiment that moves the Lumpkin Family Foundation beyond our other programs into supporting direct action. We encourage applicants to contact us to discuss their potential proposal and its fit with our guidelines.


*Fargione, J. E., et al. (2018). Natural climate solutions for the United States. Science Advances, 4(11). doi:10.1126/sciadv.aat1869

Please direct inquiries on the Nature-Based Climate Action Program to:

Bruce Karmazin

Executive Director
Phone: 217-848-0890

Amount Donated

Our Recent News Articles

Nature-Based Climate Action Program Grantees

  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2020

    Delta Institute

    To advance agroforestry goals at Zumwalt Acres by developing a nursery for fruit shrubs and nut trees, which will ultimately be transplanted into an agroforest with wind breaks, alley cropping, and multi-story cropping. And to build upon Zumwalt's current production of biochar--a form of carbonized organic material that helps sequester carbon and increase soil fertility--by integrating it with compost and basalt rock to create a carbon-capturing soil amendment. 

    View Delta Institute's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2020

    The Conservation Fund

    To collaborate with Delta Institute to engage farmers in East-Central Illinois in carbon drawdown through nature-based agricultural practices. The elements include a carefully designed outreach strategy in partnership with Soil and Water Conservation Districts; an incentive payment framework using science from the new Soil Enrichment Protocol; and quantification of soil carbon sequestered.

    View The Conservation Fund's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2020

    Illinois Environmental Council Education Fund

    To amplify the voice of partners in East Central Illinois and beyond to promote local ordinances which allow citizens greater autonomy in converting portions of their properties into natural landscapes. IECEF’s Conservation Program demonstrates to decision makers the value of natural areas as a strong mitigation tool in the fight against the impacts of climate change and utilizes our robust communications platforms and local media to share impactful stories to protect our planet and improve the health of East Central Illinois.

    View Illinois Environmental Council Education Fund's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2020

    Greenleaf Communities

    To build a network of farmers in central Illinois connected to others in the Midwest who practice regenerative agriculture to generate productive yields while sequestering carbon.

    View Greenleaf Communities's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2020

    Savanna Institute

    To establish and maintain 250 acres of agroforestry in Champaign and Piatt Counties. The plantings will focus on alley cropping and windbreaks, two of the top nature-based climate solutions identified for the US. Implementation will occur across 2-3 privately owned farms under long-term leases by the Savanna Institute.

    View Savanna Institute's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2020

    City of Urbana

    To build upon past work and expand their portfolio of Nature & Urban Biodiversity efforts, including the Lumpkin Family Foundation funded Midwest Grows Green program. To understand where gaps exist in the street tree specific canopy and the total community canopy. Additionally, the City seeks to understand where vacant tree sites co-occur with urban heat concentrations as determined by satellite thermal imaging. Finally, the City seeks to understand where vacant tree sites and/or urban heat co-occur with Environmental Justice (EJ) Zones as determined by Illinois Solar For All program. Tree plantings will be determined in accordance with study findings.

    View City of Urbana's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2020

    North Lake Community Development

    To begin the first phases of Project Green Tree: to partner with a conservation engineer to generate a plan for native plantings around and on the banks of Asa Creek to reduce agricultural runoff and improve the quality of water draining into Asa Creek, part of the Kaskaskia River watershed; to develop a 10-acre native tree nursery on a City-owned area currently in row crops which will be taken out of production; and to add prairie grass/pollinator plantings and educational signage to the developing trail and wildlife corridor around Asa Creek.

    View North Lake Community Development's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2020

    Urban Forest Carbon Registry/City Forest Credits

    To create a carbon credit program for small communities and landowners in Central IL – something possible but never done before. CFC brings to this project the knowledge and national experience, carbon protocols, and carbon registry to build out the project framework to issue credits to projects in smaller communities and landowners.

    View Urban Forest Carbon Registry/City Forest Credits's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2020

    City of Mattoon

    To plant 100 trees in 2021 and 2022 (50 trees per year) on City boulevards.  Tree replacements will be offered to residents who have had boulevard trees removed in the past year with plans to make the project an annual event. The City of Mattoon Tree Commission will coordinate the program.

    View City of Mattoon's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2020

    Faith in Place

    To engage houses of worship throughout East Central Illinois to implement nature-based climate action, e.g., tree planting and prairie restoration. In addition to increasing faith-community-owned acreage for nature-based climate action purposes, this project’s educational outreach to houses of worship offers strong potential for ripple-effect outcomes, e.g., faith community (congregation) members adopting nature-based strategies on their private properties as well as expanded public awareness and support for climate action.

    View Faith in Place's Website