Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

USDA Forest Service Urban & Community Forestry
2021 Challenge Cost Share Grant Program

Online Grant Portal

Request for Proposals:

Application Deadline: April 16th, 2021 11:55 PM
The application period is currently closed.

The USDA Forest Service Urban & Community Forestry (U&CF) Program restores, sustains, and manages more than 140 million acres of urban and community forest lands for the benefit of communities in the United States. Healthy urban & community forests and green infrastructure are not only critical to all our nation’s forests, but also essential to the economic, environmental, physical and mental well-being of our population. Increasingly, our urban and community forests are facing threats such as insects, diseases, extreme weather events and other hazards. Additionally, the lack of investment in urban forest disaster mitigation is contributing to community disasters such as urban flooding and human heat deaths in our cities - disproportionately affecting vulnerable populations. New systemic solutions are needed to create and enhance green infrastructure in the right place and at the right scale and encompass pressing social, economic, and ecological and historic factors holistically.

To find out more about this year's Grant Program requirements and grant categories, carefully review the Grant Program Request for Proposals (RFP) .pdf document below.

Request For Proposals (RFP) pdf-file-icon.png

To begin your grant application, click the Apply Online link in the menu bar above.  The Grant Portal's online application process utilizes workflow based web-form and document upload processes that allow you to apply and submit your application online.

Grant Categories:

The USDA Forest Service seeks innovative (new, cutting-edge or builds upon existing studies) grant proposals for program development, study, and collaboration that will address urban and community forest resilience and aligns with one or more applicable goals in the National Ten Year Urban and Community Forestry Action Plan (2016-2026). The applicant is to list the Goal(s) their proposal is addressing.

Increasing Resiliency of Urban Forests through Reforestation and Management

The USDA Forest Service seeks innovative grant proposals for establishing climate resilient tree species in urban and community forests that are resistant to impacts of invasive pathogens, pests, and severe weather events. Applicants should consider long-term forest health as it aligns with species of choice, diversity, and genetic variation. As part of an inventory/assessment, consider which species have proven as the most problematic over the last 20 years and which species have been the most reliable, problem-free and can withstand the climate impacts. Genetic diversity within a species will depart from single genotype cultivars, which may be aesthetically pleasing in the short-term, but offer less resilience as a biotic and abiotic events/agents factor into survival in the future and help to adapt to climate change by reducing exposures to future hazards, like increased heat waves or flooding. This approach will require implementing standard protocols to assess forest health and species resilience across the country and may include development of new tools to improve propagation, development, or management of urban tree plantings.

Proposals that incorporate new or innovative planting protocols, with an emphasis on native tree species propagated from genetically diverse local seed sources, are encouraged. Projects should focus on capacity building and power sharing with communities as partners and stakeholders that can assist with education, training, and outreach on techniques to manage and monitor urban forests. Funded projects are expected to translate and implement findings on the ground as part of a comprehensive city / community master plan. Timelines should reflect installation, maintenance, and monitoring results, but not exceed 5 years. This category aligns with Goal 4 in the National Ten Year Urban and Community Forestry Action Plan (2016-2026): Strengthen Urban and Community Forest Health and Biodiversity for Long-Term Resilience.

Planning Disaster Mitigation Strategies for Urban Forests

The USDA Forest Service seeks innovative grant proposals for the critical management of our existing and future urban and community forests to promote disaster risk reduction and community resilience and better prepare communities for the increasingly destructive impacts of climate change. With a focus on environmental justice communities, where suitable tree installations can provide equitable access to shade, reduce heat exposure, improve air quality, and reduce storm water flooding, solutions should bring together community members, planners, local and state government officials, urban foresters and resilience and sustainability professionals. This may include, but are not limited to, prevention, planning, policy, preparedness, implementation, demonstrated best management and maintenance practices, uniform standards, risk mitigation, recovery, social equity, and reforestation.

Proposed solutions should serve as replicable models and are to include on the ground implementation such as increasing community capacity to use green infrastructure in public space planning, infrastructure, private development, cost-benefit comparisons, monitoring and results. Projects that involve planting trees should be or become a part of an overall tree planting plan section of a community’s comprehensive master plan, which also accounts for tree maintenance over the span of the project in their proposals and budgets as appropriate. Systems based solutions that position urban forests as part of addressing multiple economic, social, and environmental stressors, for example, unemployment and housing stabilization, are encouraged.

This category aligns with Goal 1 in the National Ten Year Urban and Community Forestry Action Plan (2016-2026): Integrate Urban and Community Forestry Into all Scales of Planning.


Additional Information

Proposals must meet the Urban and Community Forestry Program Authorities as designated by Congress in the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act, (Section 9 PDF, pp. 19-24) State & Private Cooperative Forestry Handbook of Programs and identify with either Goal 1 or Goal 4 in the National Ten Year Urban and Community Forestry Action Plan (2016-2026).

• All applicants are to contact their Forest Service Regional Coordinators before applying to provide program guidance and address any program questions.  Please click on the link to find your Forest Service Urban Forestry Regional Program Manager.

Partnership collaboration is required - two or more related stakeholders will be involved in these categories.  All proposals will include formal letters of partnership.  They may also include letters of support from other key stakeholder, as applicable.

• Available Funding: Based on the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (P.L. 116-260), the U.S. Forest Service may provide up to $1,000,000 in national cost share grants based on the suitability/competitiveness of the proposals received.  Funds are to support national urban and community forestry projects on non-federal public land that have a national or multi-state impact and application.

All awards are based on the availability of funding, which may be subject to change.

• Grant awards will range between $100,000 - $300,000.

• Time to complete these grants averages 2-3 years, up to 5 years with approval.

• The grant process may take between 4-6 months.

•  Eligible Applicants: Non-Profits, educational institutions of higher learning, any U.S. non-federal and federally recognized Tribal Organization that is operating within the United States or its territories, and state organizations representing multi-state or national proposals are eligible.

• Matching Requirements: All grant funds must be matched at least equally (dollar for dollar) Non-federal match may include in-kind donations, volunteer assistance, and private and public (non-federal) monetary contributions. (While other Federal dollars or technical support may contribute to the project, they may not be used to match the Urban and Community Federal grant program dollars.)

• Registrations: *

  • All applicants must include a current Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number in their application.
  • All prospective awardees must be registered in the System for Award Management.  Ensure all applicable Indirect Cost Rates are current.
* Please allow at least two (2) weeks to apply for or renew these registrations.

• An applicant organization may apply to both categories but will only receive up to one award per organization.

• Definitions and Resources

• Proposal Evaluation

Apply Online / Update Your Online Application

The online application process steps you through the application workflow processes allowing you to complete online web-forms and upload required .pdf documents* so that your entire application package is submitted online.

Apply online now or continue/edit your previously started application.


Online Application Instructions

To begin your online application, you'll need to enter your name and email address along with the project title and the grant category for which you are applying. For added security, you will also be required to setup a secret question and answer.

Once you complete this information, you will be send an email with a unique online grant application tracking-id that you will need to access your online application.

Each time you access your online application, you'll need your email address, the answer to your secret question and your tracking-id to gain access.

To enter and upload the required application information, you'll follow the workflow process presented when you access your application. The final step to the workflow process is the application submission step. You should carefully review your online application before submitting. Once successfully submitted, you will receive an email with a time stamp confirming your submission. This email is your receipt for timely submission.

You will be notified by email during each of the following steps taken by the grant program review committee:

  • application received
  • application accepted for review or rejected and reason why
  • written responses requested
  • grant awarded

Application Deadline

All proposals must be received by received by April 16, 2021 11:59 PM Eastern. Proposals must be submitted using the Online Grant Portal at or courier hard copy. If submitting via courier hard copy, see the Grant Program RFP for address and delivery information. Applications submitted using the Online Grant Portal will receive an email confirmation once successfully submitted.

* NOTE: Files and documents uploaded to the Grant Portal MUST be standard Adobe .pdf documents.  Please read our FAQ section for more details about creating, converting and uploading .pdf files. If you encounter issues with uploading your Adobe .pdf document, contact technical assistance for assistance.

To access Adobe Acrobat files (.pdf), you'll need to have an Adobe Acrobat reader program installed on your computer. We recommend an Acrobat program such as Acrobat Reader DC or Acrobat Reader Pro DC that allows you the ability to edit .pdf files as well as the ability to export .pdf files to other formats such as Microsoft Word. You can download Adobe Acrobat Reader here.  Accessing Microsoft Word and Excel documents requires the use of Microsoft Word and Excel respectively.

For Additional Grant Program Information or Grant Portal Help:

For grant program assistance and questions, contact:

Nancy Stremple
Executive Staff
USDA Forest Service
201 14th. St. SW, Sidney Yates Bldg. 3SC-01B
Washington, D.C. 20024
Phone: 202.205.7829
email: <-- primary contact method

For technical assistance with the Grant Portal and for help uploading .pdf files, contact:

Darryl Outlaw or Daniel Drummond
University of Georgia IT Support
Athens, GA
Phone: 706.224.1685 (cell)
email: <-- primary contact method