Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification

FRIENDS OF NACHUSA GRASSLANDS

Franklin Grove, IL   |  www.nachusagrasslands.org

Mission

Our mission is to fund endowments that will help defray the cost of natural areas management, staff and operating expenses; conduct and encourage stewardship; and support scientific research at the preserve. At Nachusa Grasslands, rare and endangered remnant prairie, savannas, woodlands, and wetlands are being reconnected through habitat restoration to create one of the largest and most biologically diverse grasslands in Illinois, protecting the grasses, wildflowers, birds, insects, amphibians, reptiles and insects in this precious ecosystem.

Notes from the nonprofit

Note: Several of the activities described above and elsewhere, including workdays, prescribed burns, and youth education are offered and overseen by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Except for specific Friends-sponsored events such as the Prairie Potluck, all Nachusa volunteers are under the auspices of TNC. Friends provides this information about programs and opportunities to help fulfill our goals of encouraging stewardship, science and education, but Friends is not responsible for these activities.

Ruling year info

2009

President

Bernard Buchholz

Main address

8772 S Lowden Rd

Franklin Grove, IL 61031 USA

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EIN

26-3303031

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Tallgrass prairie was the dominant habitat in Illinois prior to European settlement, covering two-thirds of the state. Prairie is now nearly extirpated. We are restoring a landscape-scale prairie that will protect hundreds of plants, insects, birds, and mammals that are absolutely co-dependent on each other and, collectively, comprise the native prairie ecosystem. If we are successful, the prairie will function much like it did for thousands of years. It will be a landscape of great beauty and will provide clean air, clean water, and a home for flora and fauna that would otherwise disappear forever.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Build Endowments

Friends of Nachusa Grasslands donors may give to two Endowments to support the conservation and preservation of the native plants, animals, and natural communities at Nachusa Grasslands by providing funds for long-term stewardship. The Nachusa Grasslands Stewardship Endowment is managed by The Nature Conservancy. The Friends Endowment for Nachusa Grasslands is managed by the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois. Distributions from both Endowments fund operations at the preserve.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Budget
$230,000

To support scientific endeavors,the Friends may award monetary grants to qualified candidates conducting scientific research significant to Nachusa Grasslands. Research projects should focus primarily on prairie and savanna land management practices, such as prescribed fire, seed collection, weed control, and natural areas restoration.

Qualifications for Scientific Research Project Grants:

The expected outcomes of the scientific research project should be pertinent and practical to the specific work and goals of Nachusa Grasslands. Contact nachusafriendsscience@gmail.com for further information.

Research must be conducted at Nachusa Grasslands – additional sites may be included, but the majority of the study should take place at Nachusa Grasslands.

Proposals will be evaluated in regard to each project’s direct applicability to challenges in management practices for restoration effectiveness and species of concern.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Budget
$43,000

Stewards and other volunteers are the heart and soul of prairie restoration at Nachusa. Whether it’s planting, harvesting, educating, monitoring, photographing, repairing, or advocating, we have a role that fits your passion and schedule.

Friends provide warm and welcoming opportunities throughout the year, inside or out, working with both flora and fauna. There is much to be done. Your stewardship will make an important difference.

Note: Several of the activities described above and elsewhere, including workdays, prescribed burns, and youth education are offered and overseen by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Except for specific Friends-sponsored events such as the Prairie Potluck, all Nachusa volunteers are under the auspices of TNC. Friends provides this information about programs and opportunities to help fulfill our goals of encouraging stewardship, science and education, but Friends is not responsible for these activities.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Budget
$17,500

We harvest and plant native seed, manage invasive plants, and conduct prescribed fires. We educate the public about the value of grasslands and their restoration through photography, narrative, workdays where we do the on-the-ground stewardship, and site tours.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified

Where we work

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

Funding endowments for long-term protection of Nachusa Grasslands -- our goal is to raise $3 million in endowed funds so that TNC and Friends can direct the annual earnings toward Nachusa Grasslands operations; conducting and encouraging stewardship at the Preserve; and supporting science and education at Nachusa Grasslands

Fundraising appeal with our Annual Report published each November; personal contacts with potential donors; publicizing volunteer stewardship opportunities and educational events; awarding grants for scientific research benefiting the Preserve; hosting the Friends of Nachusa Grasslands Prairie Potluck each June; mailing a thank you note to everyone who donates over a certain amount; sending appreciation gifts to new donors; and recognizing donors in our Annual Report and throughout the year.

With 50 voting members and about 185 additional supporters, we have many talented, enthusiastic individuals helping us achieve our goals. Volunteers gave an amazing 12,000 hours at the preserve last year.

We are growing our endowments each year. During the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the Friends donated $363,025 to the endowments. As of June 30, 2019, the total of our two endowment funds was $1,904,180. Our goal is to permanently endow $3 million, with annual distributions going primarily toward operations at Nachusa Grasslands. More and more people are becoming aware of the existence and purpose of our organization as witnessed by the increase in donors. After successfully completing prior challenges in 2014 and 2016, the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois (CFNIL) has again selected Friends to participate in the Carrol H. Starr Endowment Challenge in 2018. We raises $150,000, and CFNIL then awarded us a match of $50,000. Our Scientific Research Grant award budgets have increased from $1,000 in 2011 to $42,000 in 2019, and $44,000 may be awarded in 2020. Results from prior research are changing management practices and generating hope for protection of threatened species. Friends and The Nature Conservancy hosted the fifth annual Nachusa Science Symposium on October 20, 2019, at the the Northwest Territory Museum in Dixon, Illinois. The program featured presentations by researchers doing work at Nachusa Grasslands in 2018 and 2019, including several recipients of Friends of Nachusa Grasslands Scientific Research Project Grants.

We measure our progress based on the number and size of donations we receive, the volunteers we recruit, and the researchers we help support.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is the organization collecting feedback?

    We regularly collect feedback through: electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person).

  • How is the organization using feedback?

    We use feedback to: to identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, to inform the development of new programs/projects, to strengthen relationships with the people we serve.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    We share feedback with: the people we serve, our board.

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to: we don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback.

  • What significant change resulted from feedback

    Friends of Nachusa Grasslands began publishing A Prairie Calling quarterly newsletters in early 2020, and to date we have mailed and emailed three editions to our supporters. By providing in-depth information and photographs related to various aspects of Nachusa, we stay in touch with our donors and volunteers. In our most recent newsletter, we requested feedback and provided a website form so that readers could easily respond. We have received very positive comments along with several suggestions for future topics, which we plan to use either in next year's newsletters or website blog posts.

Financials

FRIENDS OF NACHUSA GRASSLANDS
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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FRIENDS OF NACHUSA GRASSLANDS

Board of directors
as of 9/10/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

No Chair

Mike Carr

Betty Higby

Jeff Cologna

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Keywords

Prairie Savanna Restoration Conservation Volunteer Endowment Science