Chartered by Congress, the National Forest Foundation engages Americans in national and community-based 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 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 on national forests and grasslands.
Two focus areas through this program have been identified by NFF:
- 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; engage youth, volunteers, or diverse, underserved or under-engaged populations in hands-on stewardship activities; and/or employ youth and/or veterans crews to implement 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 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, and or using youth crews from underserved communities to complete habitat stewardship work and forest stand treatments.
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 during the portion of the project supported by MAP funding.
The average amount awarded through this opportunity in 2018 was $25,032. 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 utilize an eligible fiscal sponsor.
NFF will host an informational webinar detailing the program on Friday, December 13. Applications are due by January 16, 2020.