Introducing the Ford Ridge Conservation Grant

Apex Clean Energy is pleased to introduce the Ford Ridge Wind Conservation Grant, an initiative that will award funds to a conservation organization working to enhance and conserve natural ecosystems that provide habitat for plants and wildlife in central Illinois.

Ford Ridge Wind is a proposed 120-megawatt (MW) wind energy facility located in Ford County, Illinois. The project is expected is anticipated to come online by the end of 2021.

The Ford Ridge Wind Conservation Grant will award at least $120,000 in implementation funding to the organization that proposes the strongest project to enhance regional grassland habitat for species, including game bird species such as ring-necked pheasant and bobwhite quail, in Ford County or the surrounding central Illinois region. Projects may include habitat restoration, land conservation, or grassland species-specific protection and management. Grant applicants from central Illinois are encouraged to submit Letters of Interest. Preference will be given to proposals benefitting the immediate Ford County vicinity.

Applying for the Ford Ridge Wind Conservation Grant

The Apex Conservation Grant (ACG) program is a unique offering implemented according to the following process:

  • Apex Clean Energy announces project grant and invites interested parties to submit a Letter of Interest.
  • ACG committee selects up to five finalists to submit a complete application.
  • After the application closing date, ACG committee selects grant recipient.
  • Grant recipient announced.
  • Funds awarded after construction of Ford Ridge has initiated and at the completion of the grant application timeline.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to win the Ford Ridge Conservation Grant, applicants must meet the following guidelines:

  • Applicant must be a registered 501(c)3 organization or other qualified not-for-profit in good standing with the IRS;
  • Applicant must have a documented track record of successfully performing on-the-ground conservation projects;
  • Applicant must be able to detail any existing local, state, or federal grant program that is applicable to the ACG and has readily available funds;
  • Grant application must propose a wildlife/habitat conservation field projects (ACGs will not fund projects that primarily consist of scientific studies, general education, organizational overhead, or other organizational or project indirect costs. Proposed project budgets may designate no more than 8% of total funds requested for staff salaries and/or overhead, as long as those expenses can be directly tied to implementation of the grant);
  • Grant recipients must be prepared to comply with reporting and documentation requirements;
  • Applicant must be able to give grantor confidence that it will be able to implement an ACG project at any time within a 1-4-year period;
  • Applicants may propose projects that incorporate collaboration with taxing bodies or other private entities.

Project Requirements

The Ford Ridge Conservation Grant will support a project that:

  • Demonstrates that ACG funds will be matched on a 1:1 basis by applicant (cash or in-kind)
  • Provides, enhances, or conserves grassland habitat for native wildlife, improves or protects native grassland species, or similar conservation and ecological enhancement and protection

Instructions for submission of Letter of Interest

Organizations interested in being invited to submit a complete Ford Ridge Conservation Grant application should submit a Letter of Interest containing the following information:

  • Organization name;
  • Organization primary point of contact and contact information;
  • Proof of 501(c)3 (or other qualified not-for-profit) status in good standing with the IRS;
  • Brief (250 word) description of proposed project and how it addresses the Ford Ridge Conservation Grant goals;
  • Metrics that can be used to assess project success;
  • Brief “project work history,” showing organization’s successful completion of similar projects in the past;
  • Possible contributing entities for required match;
  • High-level organizational budget; and
  • High-level budget anticipated for proposed project.

Letters of Interest should be mailed or emailed, along with any supporting documents, to:

Ford Ridge Conservation Grant Program
Attn: Madeleine Ray
310 4th St. NE Suite 300
Charlottesville, VA 22902

[email protected]

Letters of Interest must be postmarked by February 15, 2020.

Please contact Madeleine Ray with any questions.