National Forest Foundation Matching Grants

Deadline: June 26, 2017
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PROGRAM FOCUS

The National Forest Foundation (NFF) Matching Awards Program (MAP) provides funding for results-oriented on-the-ground projects that enhance forest health and outdoor experiences on National Forests and Grasslands.

ON-THE-GROUND PROJECTS

MAP supports the implementation of on-the-ground conservation and restoration projects that have an immediate, quantifiable impact on the National Forest System. These projects provide a lasting impact to the lands, waters, and wildlife of the National Forest System through the alteration of the physical environment.

PROGRAM AREAS

The current NFF strategic plan focuses on the Program Areas of Outdoor Experiences and Forest Health. Organizations may self-select into one of the Program Areas defined below, or choose to submit a proposal that cohesively integrates the two Program Areas. Projects that strongly integrate the program areas are highly encouraged. The NFF does not have funding targets for the Program Areas, and strongly encourages applicants to integrate the programs areas cohesively in their proposals.

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

In addition to focusing on the above Program Areas, MAP requires projects show a strong commitment to civic engagement and community involvement through direct public involvement. In order to be eligible for MAP funding, projects must contain significant, legitimate community involvement or civic engagement in the pre-implementation, implementation, or post-implementation phase. Typically, this involves the use of volunteers in project implementation, or the implementation of projects selected as an outcome of a formal collaborative-planning process. Note that the community engagement portion of the project does not necessarily have to occur in the portion of the project receiving MAP funding, although the project narrative must clearly describe the community engagement component. The standard public involvement component of the NEPA process is insufficient to meet this requirement.

EDUCATION / INTERPRETATION AND INVENTORY / MONITORING PROJECTS

Education, interpretation, inventory, and monitoring are not priorities for the use of MAP funds.

  • Education and interpretation may only receive consideration as minor components of otherwise well-aligned larger projects.
  • Projects with inventory or monitoring components may only receive consideration if those components focus on determining the long-term effectiveness of previous NFF funded on-the-ground work.

The NFF encourages applicants to use funding from other sources (including project match) for any portion of a project focused on education, interpretation, inventory, or monitoring.

GEOGRAPHY

MAP is national in scope and there are no geographic priorities.

FREQUENCY

MAP project selection occurs twice each year through a single-stage proposal process. In each round, submitted proposals are evaluated, with a subset receiving funding. The process from proposal submission to notification of funding generally takes about three months. Organizations may have only one MAP award open at a time and should submit no more than one application per round.

PROPOSAL DEADLINES

  • January 17, 2017 at 11:59 pm MST
  • June 26, 2017 at 11:59 pm MDT

ELIGIBILITY

501(c)(3) nonprofits, universities, and Native American tribes are eligible to receive MAP grants. If an organization does not meet this eligibility requirement, it must utilize an eligible fiscal sponsor.

NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM BENEFIT

MAP projects do not necessarily need to occur within the boundaries of a National Forest or National Grassland, however, all projects must be able to show direct benefit back to these lands. However, the vast majority of funded projects take place directly on National Forests or Grasslands.

FUNDING RESTRICTIONS

The NFF will not consider MAP applications from the following:
  • Federal agencies;
  • Regional, state or local governmental entities;
  • For-profit organizations;
  • Consultants;
  • Educational and research organizations proposing projects that do not show tangible, on-the-ground benefit;
  • Organizations seeking general operating or programmatic support;
  • Organizations seeking funding for litigation or advocacy;
  • Organizations that cannot produce 1:1 cash match of non-federal, project-directed funds.
  • Organizations considering submitting a proposal for a work over a timeline longer than one-year.

The following project types are not eligible for funding:

  • Funding for outreach and/or education as a primary project component;
  • General operating or programmatic support;
  • Funding for any form of advocacy or litigation;
  • Funding provided to the U.S. Forest Service or any other federal entity.

MATCH REQUIREMENTS

MAP requires a 1:1 cash match of secured nonfederal funds. In-kind contributions are not eligible for use as match but should be documented to show project leverage.

GRANT TIMING

Once selected for funding, MAP projects have one-year to complete. Grants approved in Round 1 will likely commence in March or April 2017 and run for one calendar year. Grants approved in Round 2 will likely commence in August/September 2017 and run for one calendar year. Successful applicants in either round will have the opportunity to choose from a few pre-selected award period start dates within a 6-week window. If project completion cannot confidently occur within the period specified above, please contact the NFF well in advance of the deadline to discuss the merits of applying.

Applicants must consider foreseeable delays before submitting a proposal. This includes potential delays such as those related to NEPA and other environmental compliance. Proposals are not eligible for consideration unless all environmental compliance work is complete at time of application. No Exceptions.

LETTERS OF SUPPORT

All applications must include a letter of support from the Forest Supervisor of each National Forest or Grassland unit included in a proposal. Proposals that include work on more than four National Forest System units within a Forest Service Region may choose to obtain a letter of support from the Regional Forester. Do not submit letters from Forest Service District Rangers or any additional letters of support.

ELECTRONIC APPLICATION

Applications submission is via an electronic submission process. Submission instructions are listed in the RFP.

FUNDING TYPE

MAP awards federal funds provided through a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Forest Service. Neither MAP funds, nor the funds used to match MAP funds may be used to meet the matching requirements of any other federal award program.

INFORMATIONAL WEBINAR

The NFF held an informational webinar about the Matching Awards Program on December 13, 2016.

TYPICAL AWARDS (2015 – 2016)

Average Request: $30,003
Median Request: $26,280
Average Award: $28,522
Median Award: $26,145
% of Proposals Funded: 56%
% of Dollars Requested Funded: 53%

ELIGIBILITY QUESTIONNAIRE

To proceed in the application process,complete the MAP Eligibility questionnaire via the link below. The MAP Request for Proposals (RFP) can be accessed upon successful completion of the eligibility questionnaire.