Delta Works in Partnership to Develop Framework for Long-term Stewardship Funding in Illinois

Delta is excited to announce the publication of our collaborative, statewide report titled “Preparing for Long-Term Stewardship: A Dual Approach for Illinois.” Developed in partnership with the Natural Land Institute and the Illinois Environmental Council, the report aims to provide a more sustainable funding model through the creation of formalized regional partnerships and an agricultural investment cooperative.

“Preparing for Long-Term Stewardship: A Dual Approach for Illinois,” is presented in three parts, and the summary of the report provides an overview of the group’s process and proposed approaches. The project team also compiled six case studies that represent different funding models throughout the country.

Framework Infographic

The first of the two approaches focuses on regional partnerships between land trusts and how utilizing a collective impact model could help optimize resource use and collectively grow capacity. These partnerships, led by a regional stewardship coordinator could leverage expertise, simplify management, and create cross-organizational partnerships. The partnerships would be funded through the agricultural investment cooperative described below.

The second approach, utilizing agricultural land as an investment strategy, addresses the challenge of the existing conservation funding cycle, which is subject to uncertain and variable sources. Through a proposed agricultural investment cooperative, donated land and dollars would be leveraged to create a sustainable investment vehicle. At scale, this cooperative would provide funding to the regional stewardship groups and to individual land trusts for on the ground stewardship activities.

These two strategies form an opportunity to improve the sustainability of stewardship finance, increase sustainable farming, and protect additional acreage. This research, funded by the Grand Victoria Foundation and rooted in the work of the Vital Lands Illinois collaborative, helps sets the stage for more long-term sustainable stewardship funding mechanisms statewide.

Read and download the report:

Read and download the six case studies:

For more information, or to get involved, contact Ben Shorofsky

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