Trumpeter swan recovery thanks to funding from Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and others

Photo by Sumner Matteson.

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin provides sustainable funding for Wisconsin’s most imperiled species and public lands, while helping citizens connect with our state’s unique natural places.


The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin is a nonprofit 501c3 that was formed in 1986 as declining budgets severely compromised critical programs of Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources. With the support of our donors and members, the Foundation has boosted private sector investment and involvement for Wisconsin’s lands, waters and wildlife. After 30 years, the Foundation still serves this role and fills an important and unique conservation funding niche that no other organization does. We embrace the power of public-private partnerships. We recover species from the brink of extinction. And we continue to bring substantial financial resources and attention to priority projects of the DNR and other conservation partners. But we have grown to do so much more! The Foundation provides sustainable funding for Wisconsin’s most imperiled species and ecosystems, while helping citizens explore, care for, and protect our state’s natural resources.

We believe that nature has inherent value and that people have the ability to make a difference. The Natural Resources Foundation exists to work with others to make a lasting, positive difference for nature in Wisconsin.

How We Work

We work to protect Wisconsin’s natural heritage by supporting critical conservation work through our grant programs, offering opportunities for people to experience Wisconsin’s outdoors through our field trip program, and providing a means for people to help protect Wisconsin’s lands, waters, and wildlife that they cherish most, through charitable giving and the Wisconsin Conservation Endowment.

Results That Matter

Wisconsin wouldn’t be the same without the Natural Resources Foundation. Since 1986, our Foundation has:

  • Contributed $6.45 million to public and private conservation efforts to protect the lands, waters, and wildlife of Wisconsin;
  • Developed an active membership of more than 4,000 citizens who support our mission;
  • Worked with private donors to create the Wisconsin Conservation Endowment, which currently includes 80 endowment funds and almost $6 million in assets that permanently conserve lands, protect wildlife, and promote conservation;
  • Coordinated close to 2,000 Field Trips, where more than 40,000 people explored significant sites and projects across Wisconsin;
  • Supported more than 550 grassroots conservation projects in every county of the state through our C.D. Besadny Conservation Grants program;
  • Provided professional opportunities for 48 WisConservation Corps members, who restored more than 14,000 acres at 150 State Natural Areas.

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin is a nonprofit 501c3 organization. Donations to the Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Our federal tax ID number is 39-1572034.