I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. ~ John Muir, 1913


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August 27,2016






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Celebrating the Past & Looking to the Future


Back in 1992 when the Funks Grove Cemetery Association purchased the 246 acres known as Sugar Grove, they never envisioned what it would become today!  Their foresight to acquire, protect, and restore the old farm to its original habitat – prairie, forest, and savanna – began in earnest.  The idea to establish a Nature Center on site was soon suggested and the newly formed Sugar Grove Foundation board never looked back.  Board members, family, and friends contributed countless volunteer hours and financial support to make this idea a reality.  This past October, Sugar Grove Nature Center celebrated 10 years since opening our doors, trails, and grounds to the public.

In this short time, the Nature Center has become a special place for many individuals and families to learn about, explore, and enjoy the nature and beauty of Funks Grove.  Thousands of people visit each year to participate in programs, special events, seasonal celebrations, or just enjoy a walk in the woods and prairies with friends and family.  Visitors come from near and far to enjoy our interpretive exhibits, live native animals, and wildlife viewing room.  School groups and homeschoolers from across central Illinois visit for field trip experiences, and our partnerships with local universities provide education through internship experiences and on-site research.  We cooperate with hobbyist beekeepers, amateur astronomers, blacksmiths, Master Naturalists & Gardeners to provide additional offerings to our visitors.

Many people enjoy all that Sugar Grove Nature Center has to offer assuming that it relies on federal, state, or county funds for its operational needs.  This is not the case.  As a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, the Sugar Grove Foundation operates Sugar Grove Nature Center entirely through donations, grants, memberships, program and site use fees. 

It is with great excitement that we share our endeavors to start an endowment fund for Sugar Grove Nature Center!  Through this effort, we strive to establish and grow consistent funding and long-term financial security for the Nature Center.  We hope that you will consider investing in the future of Sugar Grove.  And, there is no better time than now to demonstrate your support for our long and vibrant future!

Two couples who have been long-time supporters of Sugar Grove Nature Center, Carl & Carolyn Wenning  and Deanna Frautschi & Alan Bedell, have each pledged $5,000 to create a $10,000 matching fund drive.  This means that every dollar, up to $10,000 will be matched, dollar-for-dollar.  Your contribution of $100, $50, or even $5 will be doubled.  Every contribution makes a difference!

We are excited to be working with Illinois Prairie Community Foundation (IPCF) on this effort. The principal of our endowment will be preserved in perpetuity while, at the same time, the Nature Center will receive annual distributions from the endowment. We feel that as it increases, the endowment will serve as a growing source of revenue to support operations and help protect the Nature Center from future financial adversity.

A minimum of $20,000 is required to activate our endowment, and we need to meet this goal by June 30 to take full advantage of the funding cycle.  All contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law, and cash donations received by the deadline will be matched.  You can contribute by clicking on the donate button above.  You can also contribute by filling out the form found here and returning it with a check. The IPCF can also accept gifts to the endowment in a variety of other forms including stock, real estate, bequests, and charitable trusts.  To learn more please contact Greg Meyer, Executive Director of Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, at (309) 662-4477 or gmeyer@ilprairiecf.org.

Your generosity will ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy our quality programs, warm & friendly facility, and beautiful grounds for many years to come!!  Thank you!