Snapshots of Philanthropy

Foundation's Legacy Grants Help Preserve Environment


It was renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold's land ethic, developed on Wisconsin soil, that inspired the establishment of Sand County Foundation in 1965.  Three of his protégées witnessed encroaching development around Leopold's family farm along the Wisconsin River.  This motivated them to create a living tribute to Leopold's writings and conservation work, now known as the Leopold Memorial Reserve, where they would begin restoration, conduct research and inform others in order to conserve the private lands as an integral unit. The Foundation has now grown to where it applies Leopold's philosophy, internationally, to the land and to the sea.
Sand County Foundation fosters ethically sound, science-based programs that are leading-edge solutions to major environmental challenges. One of these programs is the Bradley Fund for the Environment, which began in 1998 in partnership with The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee.
"Sand County Foundation's Bradley Fund for the Environment is unique in that it applies its expertise and long-standing conservation history in choosing the projects it funds," said Brent Haglund, president of Sand County Foundation.  "Funded projects emphasize personal responsibility, create sustaining partnerships, and integrate habitat improvement with human considerations."
Today, Sand County Foundation, based in Madison, serves landowners in many countries and has a presence throughout the U.S., particularly in Wisconsin.  The Foundation, through its Bradley Fund for the Environment, distributes nearly $1 million to dozens of organizations and partners every year, including Legacy Grants to Riveredge Nature Center and the International Crane Foundation (ICF).
With the support of the Foundation, Riveredge Nature Center started a 25-year-long project to reintroduce lake sturgeon to the Milwaukee River. The Foundation stays in close contact with Riveredge throughout the year, keeping updated on the latest developments and conducting site visits to the Center. 
"Sand County has helped maintain Riveredge's high quality Leopold land ethic and furthered our research, conservation, stewardship and innovative environmental education impact on the community," explained Patrick Boyle, executive director of Riveredge Nature Center.
Sand County Foundation also provides steady support to the International Crane Foundation (ICF) by encouraging conservation research and challenging ICF to find new ways to address preservation of natural habits and resources.   While ICF is based in Baraboo, Wis., its efforts are seen throughout all of North America and extend across the Atlantic to African countries. 
"We are very grateful for Sand County's longtime support. With their partnership, we've made significant strides reintroducing endangered Whooping Cranes into the eastern United States and developing a market-driven solution to crop damage caused by Sandhill Cranes," said David Koehler, director of development for ICF. "Both of these programs are now helping inform other conservation efforts around the world, benefitting cranes, people, wild things and wild places."

"Through the Bradley Fund for the Environment and other programs, Sand County Foundation will continue to apply Leopold's philosophy and vision, which he developed and refined in Wisconsin, to ecological projects domestically and internationally," said Brent Haglund, president of Sand County Foundation. 

Photo credit: Riveredge Nature Center

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Celebrating 30 Years - Donors Forum of Wisconsin

Snapshots of Philanthropy
offers a glimpse into the many ways funders are making a difference in our community. This series of profiles created to celebrate the work of local grantmakers in recognition of the 30th Anniversary of the Donors Forum of Wisconsin.


Donors Forum of Wisconsin is a membership association of grantmakers who support and promote effective philanthropy through networking, professional development, community leadership and knowledge.