Request for Proposals: Daybreak Fund 2023

Post Date: 5/25/2023
Opportunity Type: Funding
Organization/Grantor: Request for Proposals: Daybreak Fund 2023
Position/Title/Fund: Request for Proposals: Daybreak Fund 2023
Deadline: June 15, 2023
Contact Info: Amber Meyer Smith (Fund for Lake Michigan Program Officer):

The Daybreak Fund is soliciting proposals for nature-based projects in the Western Lake Michigan Basin at the intersection of climate change and water quality. The Fund will award approximately $1.5 million in grants per year starting in 2023 to support initiatives with multiple benefits to water quality, carbon storage, biodiversity, and people and communities in both urban and rural areas.

The Daybreak Fund is a new donor collaborative supported by Brico Fund, Builders Initiative (pending), Caerus Foundation, Cool Choices, Crown Family Philanthropies, and Fund for Lake Michigan as well as other Midwest funders. These foundations have come together with a shared vision that the abundant but threatened natural resources of the Midwest hold enormous potential to protect Lake Michigan from further impacts of climate change. Our focus on the Lake Michigan Basin within Wisconsin and Lake County, Illinois will highlight the region’s ability to address climate change while improving water quality by using nature-based solutions in our urban and rural areas. Nature-based solutions are those that enhance the ability of our ecosystems to sequester carbon in plants, trees, soils and sediments, and lead to improved health, cleaner water, flood and erosion control, increased biodiversity and resilience to the impacts of climate change. Nature-based solutions lend themselves to active local engagement and unique partnerships which are key components of environmental and climate justice and ensure long-lasting, sustainable change. Nature-based solutions bring multiple benefits for both urban and rural areas that can catalyze innovation and drive system-level solutions to some of our most pressing environmental challenges.

We seek to advance nature-based solutions that combine a number of co-benefits that both improve water quality and address climate change. The majority of our funding will focus on on-the-ground projects using nature-based solutions that have the potential to scale up or prove new concepts. We are eager to fund both new and established efforts, and will support project implementation, planning, design, monitoring, staffing, and maintenance as well as community engagement and applied research that will support or advance on-the-ground nature-based initiatives.

Geographically, these grants will be targeted to watersheds within the Lake Michigan Basin in Wisconsin as well as projects within the basin in Lake County, Illinois. The Daybreak Fund will also consider grants in Wisconsin outside of the Lake Michigan Basin by invitation. If you have a project idea outside the basin, please contact Amber Meyer Smith at to discuss.


501(c)3 non-profit organizations, municipalities and local government agencies, tribes, and educational institutions are eligible for funding. Collaborations are encouraged, and projects that include sub-grants to partners are eligible. We are primarily interested in funding project implementation, planning, design, community engagement, monitoring, staffing, and maintenance as well as applied research that will support, advance or test strategies for on-the-ground nature-based solutions. Stand-alone advocacy, academic research, public education and general outreach efforts are not eligible for funding. Exceptions may be considered if these activities are a component of a larger project that advances near-term, on-the-ground nature-based solutions.


  • April 14, 2023: Request for Proposal issued
  • April 18-June 15: Virtual office hours available Tuesdays and Thursdays. Schedule your virtual meeting here.
  • May 12, 2023: Optional one page summaries due
  • June 15, 2023: Grant applications due
  • Week of September 5-8, 2023: Grants announced
  • September 11-22, 2023: Grants contracts finalized
  • September 25-29, 2023: Grants awarded
How to Apply:

All application materials must be submitted through the Fund for Lake Michigan’s online application and reporting grant portal called Foundant. Please follow these steps to access the application materials:

  1. Foundant can be accessed at
  2. If your organization has an existing account, log in by filling in the email address and password for your organization’s account. If you cannot locate your credentials please contact Casey Eggleston at Please do not create another account.
  3. If your organization has not applied in the past, select “Create a New Account.” This will prompt you to fill out a profile for your organization.
  4. Applicants should complete the application titled “The Daybreak Fund – 2023.”
Related File(s):