Forest Preserve Friends Foundation

Our Mission

The Forest Preserve Friends Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation organized for charitable and educational purposes. The Foundation supports the facilities, programs, services, goals and mission of the Champaign County Forest Preserves. In turn, it generates grant support and collaborative relationships with other agencies. Your contributions to the Foundation support the projects and activities at the Champaign County Forest Preserves. Whether helping to acquire land, maintain natural and recreational areas, provide educational experiences, or preserve the County's natural and cultural resources, your gift will touch the lives of generations to come.

Ways to Support the Foundation

Contribute Towards Trail Improvements

Buffalo Trace Whiskey Walk

$55 per ticket. PURCHASE YOUR TICKET NOW WHILE STILL AVAILABLE!(tickets are limited).
Raise a glass to your local forest preserves!
Join Watson’s Shack and Rail and the Forest Preserve Friends Foundation for this unique fundraising experience! Sip a variety of fine whiskeys while supporting your local forest preserves.
All proceeds go to the Forest Preserve Friends Foundation.
Follow Us on Facebook
Support us and learn more by following our Facebook Page.

Discover More: How to Give and Our Memorial Programs

Trail Improvements

Contribute to Trail Improvements at the Champaign County Forest Preserves. This year, the Forest Preserve Friends Foundation will be raising $100,000 to contribute towards trail improvements! Follow our facebook page Forest Preserve Friends Foundation to learn more about the trails at the Champaign County Forest Preserves and to see what improvements we will be making. Any contribution you can make helps us fulfill our mission of bringing people closer to nature. Click here to make a contribution!

Legacy Giving

Are you looking for ways to support the Champaign County Forest Preserve District along with its facilities, programs, goals, and missions during your lifetime or as a lasting legacy? Then consider the Forest Preserve Friends Foundation as a means of satisfying this lifetime charitable objective or as a legacy under your estate plan.

Lifetime gifts to the Forest Preserve Friends Foundation can be made in a variety of forms including cash, appreciated securities, and real estate. These types of gifts can provide you with financial benefit in the form of income tax deductions and reduction of capital gains tax all while benefiting the Champaign County Forest Preserve District.

Legacy gifts of cash, securities, and real estate can also be made to the Champaign County Forest Preserve Friends Foundation by naming the Foundation as a beneficiary under a Will or Trust. This allows you to continue your current lifestyle through the use of these assets during your lifetime together with the flexibility to change your plans as necessary due to life changes, all while ultimately benefiting the Champaign County Forest Preserve District after your death. Estate tax benefits may also be obtained by such legacy gifts.

 A lifetime and legacy gift might also include establishing a Charitable Remainder Trust.  Such a trust can provide regular payments for yourself, your spouse, or a loved one for life and benefit the Champaign County Forest Preserve Friends Foundation as the beneficiary of the Trust after death. Charitable Remainder Trusts can provide income tax deductions, can eliminate capital gains tax on lifetime gifts, and provide estate tax savings at death.

Other simple forms of assets and means to consider in leaving a legacy to the Forest Preserve Friends Foundation might include naming the Foundation as beneficiary of retirement plan assets, life insurance, bank accounts, or investment accounts. Naming the Foundation as direct beneficiary of retirement plan assets provides a way of transferring assets to the Foundation on a tax-free basis.

 If you are interested in discussing these ideas with us, please contact [email protected] or your personal legal or financial advisor.

Memorial Bench Program

To get started, contact staff at [email protected] or by calling (217) 586-3360. Your $2,200 donation covers: the cost of the bench and its installation, engraved plaque, and ten-year guarantee.

District staff will work with you to find a meaningful available location at one of our preserves. All benches will be placed in one of the Champaign County Forest Preserve District preserves. You may request a bench at a specific preserve; however, the bench site within the preserve will be determined in collaboration with CCFPD staff. Please note, benches at the Kickapoo Rail Trail are not available through this program.

You’ll decide between a sustainable hardwood or recycled bench. Honorary and memorial benches have a ten-year replacement guarantee.

Once you’ve determined the type of bench and location with the help of staff, you’ll be asked to complete a form and submit your donation. On the form, you will be given the opportunity to include the text you’d like on the dedication plaque. Once the donation and form have been received by District staff, we will begin the installation process of the bench. Once the bench is installed, donors will receive a letter informing them of placement. The honoree or family will be notified of the placement as well, if requested. The donated bench becomes the property and responsibility of the Champaign County Forest Preserve District. It will be maintained as necessary.

 

Honorary and Memorial Tree Program

Give a tribute to someone special with an honorary or memorial tree. These living legacies give a lifetime of remembrance for you and provide a gift for the whole community. Your gift will be an important part of the natural landscape by adding beauty to the preserve, providing a home for wildlife, and cleaning the air we breathe.

Trees may be given as presents for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries or other special occasions. Consider dedicating a tree to an office worker, award winner, a beloved pet, or to commemorate a birth.

Your $500 donation covers the cost of the tree and its planting, care for the first five years, and an engraved brass leaf to be placed on one of the District's donor trees at the preserve where the tree is planted. All brass leaves are placed on trees at the District Headquarters Office and the Lake of the Woods Golf Course. There are additional donor trees with brass leaves at Homer Lake and Middle Fork River for trees planted in those preserves.

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To dedicate a tree in the Honorary and Memorial Tree Program simply call the CCFPD Director of Natural Resources at (217) 586-4389 or e-mail your request to [email protected]. We will work with you on tree placement and choosing the best type of tree for the area.

Requests for spring planting should be made by March 31st, and requests for fall planting should be made by September 30th.

The cost for tree donation is $500 and is subject to change.

When the tree is planted, the donor will receive a letter describing the location of the tree, and an Honorary and Memorial Tree Brass Leaf form. This completed form should be returned to the Forest Preserve District so the information can be used to inscribe a brass leaf to be placed on the donor tree found at each preserve. We ask that payment be sent to us when the Brass Leaf Form is completed and returned to us.

Honorary and memorial trees have a five-year replacement guarantee. If a tree should die within five years of its original planting, a replacement tree will be planted during the next available planting season.

All trees will be planted in one of the five Champaign County Forest Preserve District preserves. You may request a planting at any of the preserves; however, the planting site within the preserve will be determined by the CCFPD staff. Donors will be notified when the tree has been planted. The donated tree becomes the property and responsibility of the Champaign County Forest Preserve District. It will be maintained, pruned and if necessary, removed by the CCFPD. The CCFPD is not responsible for notifying the donor and/or honoree of the tree's demise.

Honorary Memorial Tree and Bench Dedication Form

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Forest Preserve Friends Foundation Board Information

Foundation Members

  • Will Timmons- President
  • Matt Hausman- Vice President
  • Jennifer Vallowe- Secretary
  • Mary Ellen Wuellner- Treasurer
  • William Goodman- Foundation Board Liason
  • Roger Laramee
  • Shira Epstein
  • Merry Mitchell
  • Daniel M. Noel
  • Rachel Smith-Bolton
  • Brendan McGinty
  • Carter Billingsly
  • Sarah Livesay
  • Nancy Geubelle