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Innovative Finance for National Forests (IFNF) Grant Program

Grants to USA Nonprofits, For-Profits, Agencies, IHEs, and
Tribes for Projects to Support National Forests

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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USFS National Partnership Office (NPO) , U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) and National Forest Foundation (NFF)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:



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Grants to USA nonprofit organizations, for-profit companies, agencies, IHEs, and tribes for projects to support national forests. Eligible project types include research and development, scaling, and research projects. The program supports the development and implementation of innovative finance models that leverage private and public capital other than U.S. Forest Service (USFS) appropriations to support the resilience of the National Forest System. Project activities may take place on a National Forest, on adjacent state, private or tribal lands, or across boundaries as long as project outcomes contribute to the health of Forest Service ownership.

The IFNF grant program seeks to:

  • Leverage private and public capital other than USFS appropriations to support agency priorities.
  • Deliver measurable social, ecological, and financial outcomes to multiple stakeholders.
  • Demonstrate solutions that promise improved financial sustainability for land management.
  • Chart a path to scale in addressing landscape-level challenges on and near National Forests.
  • Generate lessons learned to incorporate in agency management and decision making.

IFNF grants could, but are not limited to, support of innovative finance models that:

  • Enable debt or equity financing from public or private sources to pay for upfront project costs that will be paid back over time by project beneficiaries (payors).
  • Access new or existing markets for environmental goods or services.
  • Access user-based fees or contributions.
  • Increase pace and scale of implementation by blending multiple sources of funding or finance.
  • Employ any combination of the approaches listed above. 

In 2021 the IFNF grant program emphasizes three Focus Areas:

  1. Watershed health
  2. Sustainable recreation infrastructure and access
  3. Wildfire resilience and recovery

For more information on focus areas, see

For information on project types, see

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 195955

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Grant award sizes vary by project type:
- Pilot Projects: Maximum award size is $300,000.
- Scaling Projects: Maximum award size is $500,000.
- Research and Development: Maximum award size $150,000.

Term of Contract:

Applicants must complete proposed objectives and milestones within a maximum three-year contract period; shorter contracts are acceptable. If a multi-year grant is awarded, funds will be renewable annually based on grantee performance determined by a yearly review.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Applicants: Not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organizations; for-profit companies; tribes; intertribal consortia; state and local government agencies, and colleges and universities. A single organization or a consortia/team of organizations may apply.

Unincorporated individuals are not eligible. Forest Service units and programs cannot receive funding directly.

Ineligible Activities and Limitations on Activities:
• Operations/administration beyond recovered indirect costs.
• Lobbying, litigation, or political advocacy.
• Match for any other federal program.
• Total project costs in the following areas may not exceed 15% of request: education, interpretation, land management planning (NEPA), convening, natural science research, monitoring.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Two Informational webinars will be hosted by the National Forest Foundation:

Wednesday, May 12, from 1-2 p.m. EDT. To Register:

Thursday, May 20, from 3-4 p.m. EDT. To Register:

Pre-Application Information:

Timeframe and Funding:
• Program Announcement: April 27, 2021
• Online Application portal opens: May 3, 2021
• Proposal submissions due: June 30, 2021 (Late applications will not be considered)
• Tentative funding decisions: September 2021

Subrecipients must provide a current Duns and Bradstreet DUNS number and be up to date in the grantee registration system. Applicants should start this registration process early to avoid delays in contracting.

Applicants may submit multiple proposals if projects or geographic areas are distinct.

Required Match: A minimum of 20% non-federal match of cash or in-kind services is required.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

Interested parties are encouraged to contact one of the IFNF team members below to discuss ideas or opportunities:

Program Coordinator: Jeff Lerner;; 202-236-1883

USFS National Partnership Office: Nathalie Woolworth,; 202-281-8511

National Forest Foundation: Spencer Plumb,; 928-961-2486

For portal assistance please contact

U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities
908 East North Street
Greenville SC 29601

Tel: (864) 233-7646
Fax: (864) 235-3842

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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