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.

Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) are now being accepted until August 2, 2024. Applications will be invited by August 9.

LOIs and Applications are accepted online only. Scroll to the bottom of this page to view past grantees.

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.

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*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:

Christina Krost

Program Officer
Phone: 217-234-2076

2395104
Amount Donated
57
Grants Awarded

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Nature-Based Climate Action Program Grantees

  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    City of Mattoon

    or continued support of the City of Mattoon’s tree planting and replacement along roads, parks, lakes, and cemeteries.

    View City of Mattoon's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    Fresh Taste - Illinois Regenerative Agriculture Initiative (Fiscal Sponsor: Forefront)

    to build leadership capacity in Regenerative Agriculture at the University of Illinois by catalyzing collaboration among units on campus with relevant, complementary expertise.

    View Fresh Taste - Illinois Regenerative Agriculture Initiative (Fiscal Sponsor: Forefront)'s Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    Champaign County Soil & Water Conservation District Foundation

    to gather information from grazers in the Embarras Watershed and surrounding areas to develop relationships with stakeholders and create relevant educational resources to support the implementation of successful regenerative grazing in the region.

    View Champaign County Soil & Water Conservation District Foundation's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever

    to assist with funding a Precision Ag Conservationist (PAC) Position in East Central Illinois in order to develop solutions that will encourage producers to adopt new practices that will improve their environmental impact.

    View Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    Prairie Rivers Network

    to expand the monitoring of herbicide drift on forests, prairies, and public lands as well as train farmers, land managers and agency staff on symptom identification.

    View Prairie Rivers Network's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    The Land Institute

    to explore opportunities to help Illinois growers leverage native nitrogen-fixing legumes, like Illinois bundleflower, and prairie grasses as perennial groundcovers (i.e., perennial cover crops), which do not need to be replanted each year and provide permanent soil cover and protection.

    View The Land Institute's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    Grand Prairie Friends

    to supplement general operations of the non-profit including staffing, maintenance, and other essential expenses to continue their natural area restoration projects and increase their community outreach capacity.

    View Grand Prairie Friends's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    EIU Department of Biological Sciences

    to develop native plant landscapes and increase the engagement and participation of the community with nature through interpretive sessions and citizen scientist training workshops.

    View EIU Department of Biological Sciences's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    Delta Institute

    to support the development of an economic tool that integrates soil health indicators when calculating property value to promote practices with the potential to assess land managed with sustainable agriculture practices at a higher value over conventional agriculture.

    View Delta Institute's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    Re-AMP Network (fiscal sponsor, The Minneapolis Foundation)

    for general operating funds to support the equitable decarbonization of the Midwest through a systems-based collaboration of over twenty non-profit organizations.

    View Re-AMP Network (fiscal sponsor, The Minneapolis Foundation)'s Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    Sola Gratia Farm

    to develop the farm’s active practices, demonstration, and education of nature-based solutions to climate change and climate resiliency for the public, peer farmers and researchers while showcasing urban regenerative farming techniques, agroforestry, and green stormwater management.

    View Sola Gratia Farm's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    The Nature Conservancy

    to support outreach efforts to transition 40,000 acres of Illinois farmland to regenerative grazing management by 2025. Funds will also go toward strategic development plans to expand partner relationships and provide technical assistance to IL grazers.

    View The Nature Conservancy's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    Funders for Regenerative Agriculture (FORA)

    to support the organization and implementation of programs that accelerate the emergence of regenerative agriculture, healthy soil, and working lands systems that support people and the planet.

    View Funders for Regenerative Agriculture (FORA)'s Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    Savanna Institute

    for general operating funds to support agroforestry education and outreach programs in Illinois through the launch of an Illinois Agroforestry Partner Farm Network and creation of impactful, engaging educational experiences with agroforestry for diverse public audiences.

    View Savanna Institute's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    American Rivers

    to build capacity to advance nature-based climate adaptation and floodplain restoration throughout Illinois with the goal of establishing integrated floodplain management programs that prioritize equitable and nature-based floodplain restoration solutions in all 50 states.

    View American Rivers's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    Faith in Place

    to increase faith-community-owned acreage used for nature-based climate solutions as well as increase the project’s educational outreach to houses of worship so as to expand public awareness and support for climate action.

    View Faith in Place's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    Children’s Museum of Illinois

    to construct a small walking meditation garden and restore approximately 1 acre of prairie adjacent to Lake Decatur as part of their ongoing work to educate museum visitors about the benefits of native plants and pollinators.

    View Children’s Museum of Illinois's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    Savanna Institute

    to establish and maintain 250 acres of agroforestry in Champaign and Piatt Counties. Will focus on alley cropping and windbreaks, two of nature-based climate solutions and will be implemented across 2-3 privately owned farms under long-term leases by the Savanna Institute.

    View Savanna Institute's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    Champaign Parks Foundation

    for tree planting along the Johnston Park walking path to provide shade, shelter walkers from wind and rain, reduce storm runoff, and absorb atmospheric pollutants from the nearby interstate highway.

    View Champaign Parks Foundation's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2023

    Grand Prairie Friends

    to restore 8-acres of forest and grassland community at Ambraw Woods Land & Water Reserve along the Embarras River (Coles County) through tree plantings, invasive brush removal, and cover crop seeding. Funding will also support community outreach and public education efforts.

    View Grand Prairie Friends's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2022

    Champaign Parks Foundation

    For the establishment of a tree canopy over the Greenbelt Bikeway, a dedicated corridor through Dodds Park for Parkland Community College students and other residents who commute by bicycle, rather than by car. The new trees will also reduce storm runoff and help to lower water temperature in the Copper Slough to the east, improving its ability to support aquatic life.

    View Champaign Parks Foundation's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2022

    Prairie Rivers Network

    For continued support to expand the monitoring of herbicide drift on forests, prairies, and public lands as well as train farmers, land managers and agency staff on symptom identification.

    View Prairie Rivers Network's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2022

    Delta Institute

    To develop an economic tool that integrates soil health indicators when calculating property value, thereby promoting economic practices that have the potential to assess land managed with sustainable agriculture practices at a higher value over conventional agriculture across greater Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa.

    View Delta Institute's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2022

    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 Program2022

    EIU Department of Biological Sciences

    To support the three-year project, Using Butterflies to Inspire Community Engagement with Nature, by supplying equipment and materials, funding student internships, and providing summer funding for the Project Director. The project will improve biodiversity and decrease invasive species in the region by continued development of native plant landscapes with the help and engagement of community members and partner organizations.
    View EIU Department of Biological Sciences's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2022

    Douglas-Hart Nature Center

    To expand and restore the nature center's habitat by 15%, expanding trails, and adding educational signage. The habitat land project will be implemented by purchasing a skid steer with attachments and plants native to oak/hickory forest and prairie.

    View Douglas-Hart Nature Center's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2022

    American Rivers

    To further the Illinois Floodplains Work Program – a public-private framework for multi-benefit floodplain development projects to address flood-related climate disruption, social and racial injustice, and biodiversity loss in a holistic way.

    View American Rivers's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2022

    The Nature Conservancy

    To fund implementation of the Illinois Grazing Lands Coalition's (IL GLC) Illinois Regenerative Grazing Roadmap, which identified opportunities and challenges for regenerative grazing in Illinois and developed a set of nine recommendations for increasing the number of acres in the state under regenerative grazing management with the goal of transitioning 40,000 acres of Illinois farmland by 2025.

    View The Nature Conservancy's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2022

    Faith in Place

    To engage houses of worship and other faith-based organizations throughout East Central Illinois (ECI) to implement nature-based climate action (NBCA) projects such as tree planting and prairie restoration on their properties and increase community education, awareness, and support for nature-based climate solutions.

    View Faith in Place's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2022

    The Land Institute

    To explore opportunities to help Illinois farmer collaborators leverage native nitrogen-fixing legumes and prairie grasses as perennial cover crops to provide permanent soil cover and erosion protection.

    View The Land Institute's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2022

    Funders of Regenerative Agriculture (FORA)

    To support the organization's core work engaging its network to provide introductory pathways for funders to learn about regenerative agriculture, and centering the pursuit of strategic initiatives in a collaborative way, where members learn, act, and invest together.

    View Funders of Regenerative Agriculture (FORA)'s Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2022

    Charleston High School - Charleston Community Unit School District #1

    To fund the landscaping restoration and improvement at the district's seven facilities through the purchase of new trees, shrubs, and native grasses.

    View Charleston High School - Charleston Community Unit School District #1's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2022

    Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever

    To assist with funding a Precision Ag Conservationist (PAC) Position in East Central Illinois to develop solutions that will encourage producers to adopt new practices that will improve their environmental impact.

    View Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2022

    City of Mattoon

    For the continued beautification of Mattoon streets and greenspaces by planting new trees and replacing boulevard trees removed in the past year from residential areas. The City of Mattoon Tree Commission will coordinate the program.

    View City of Mattoon's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2022

    Re-AMP Network (fiscal sponsor, The Minneapolis Foundation)

    In contribution to the funding collaborative tackling climate change through ongoing systems analysis to identify and align impactful strategies across eight states to equitably eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in the Midwest by 2050.

    View Re-AMP Network (fiscal sponsor, The Minneapolis Foundation)'s Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2022

    Evergreen Climate Innovations

    For continuing support of the expansion of Evergreen Climate Innovation's 501vc® Platform, which catalyzes climate innovations by finding, funding, and growing startups in the Greater Midwest that are commercializing impactful solutions for clean energy, decarbonization, and environmental sustainability.

    View Evergreen Climate Innovations's Website
  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2021

    The Land Institute

    To explore opportunities to help Illinois growers leverage native nitrogen-fixing legumes, like Illinois bundleflower, and prairie grasses as perennial groundcovers (i.e., perennial cover crops), which do not need to be replanted each year and provide permanent soil cover and protection.

  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2021

    Fresh Taste (fiscal agent Forefront)

    To build leadership capacity in Regenerative Agriculture at the University of Illinois by catalyzing collaboration among units on campus with relevant, complementary expertise. Additional $20K for educational outreach coordinator position.

  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2021

    Global Philanthropy Partnership/Artisan Grain Collaborative

    For the "Take a Shot at Climate Change" marketing and branding campaign concept that invites regional brewers and distillers to be part of advancing carbon sequestration on the landscape in East Central Illinois.

  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2021

    Savanna Institute

    To establish and maintain 250 acres of agroforestry in Champaign and Piatt Counties. Project will focus on alley cropping and windbreaks, two of nature-based climate solutions, and will be implemented across 2-3 privately owned farms under long-term leases by the Savanna Institute.

  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2021

    Faith in Place

    To increase faith-community-owned acreage used for nature-based climate solutions as well as increase the project’s educational outreach to houses of worship so as to expand public awareness and support for climate action.

  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2021

    Prairie Rivers Network

    To expand the monitoring of herbicide drift on forests, prairies, and public lands as well as train farmers, land managers and agency staff on symptom identification.

  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2021

    University of Illinois Springfield

    To enable small Illinois communities to collect and analyze community needs and priorities, then access a resource network to address local high priority projects related to water, energy, and climate change resilience.

  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2021

    Clean Energy Trust

    To support the expansion of CET’s 501vc® Platform, which catalyzes climate innovations by finding, funding, and growing startups in the Greater Midwest that are commercializing impactful solutions for clean energy, decarbonization, and environmental sustainability.

  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2021

    Friends of Williamsville Public Library

    To lead a community project called Trees for Tomorrow aimed at engaging the public to plant trees as nature-based tools to fight climate change.

  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2021

    American Rivers

    To further the Illinois Floodplains Work Program – a public-private framework for multi-benefit floodplain development projects to address flood-related climate disruption, social and racial injustice, and biodiversity loss in a holistic way. 

  • Nature-Based Climate Action Program2021

    Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever

    To assist with funding a Precision Ag Conservationist (PAC) Position in East Central Illinois to develop solutions that will encourage producers to adopt new practices that will improve their environmental impact.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.