Chartered by Congress, the National Forest Foundation engages Americans in community-based and national programs that promote the health and public enjoyment of the 193-million-acre national forest system and administers private gifts of funds and land for the benefit of the national forests.
To advance this mission, the NFF Matching Awards Program (MAP) provides funding for on-the-ground results-oriented projects that enhance forest health and outdoor experiences in national forests and grasslands.
Two focus areas through the program have been identified:
Outdoor Experiences — Projects should generate tangible conservation outcomes or enhance quality recreational experiences for users of the national forest system and improve or maintain recreation resource connectivity, including and similar to trail maintenance, bridge and crossing construction or repair, and installation of trail drainage structures; and/or engage youth, volunteers, or diverse, underserved or under-engaged populations in hands-on stewardship activities; and/or employ youth and/or veterans crews in implementing on-the-ground conservation, stewardship, and/or restoration work.
Forest Health — Projects should be consistent with or supportive of identified large-scale conservation initiatives and promote ecosystem structure, function, and diversity; and/or promote forest health through the removal or control of non-native invasive species and/or reintroduction of native plants and trees.
Organizations may self-select into one of the program areas and/or are encouraged to submit a proposal that cohesively integrates the two. Examples of integrated projects include engaging community volunteers to complete riparian plantings as part of a watershed-scale restoration project or utilizing youth crews from underserved communities to complete habitat stewardship work and forest stand treatments.
In addition, the MAP opportunity requires that projects show a strong commitment to civic engagement and community involvement through direct public participation (although it is not necessary for the community engagement piece to occur in the portion of the project receiving MAP funding).
NFF acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic brings extreme levels of uncertainty regarding organizations’ ability to fundraise for and implement projects in the coming year. As partners in stewardship, NFF will work with grant recipients to accommodate public health-related adjustments to project scope, budget, or timing to allow the organization to implement work while fully adhering to applicable local, state, and federal public health requirements.
A non-federal, project-direct, 1:1 match is required.
Eligible applicants include nonprofits with tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, universities, and Native American tribes. Organizations may also use an eligible fiscal sponsor.
NFF will hold an informational webinar about the program on April 28 at 11:00 a.m. MDT.
See the NFF website for complete program guidelines, application instructions, and to register for the webinar.