California ReLeaf believes that urban forestry projects should be led by local communities. This isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do: local groups better understand the broader vision of the community that trees are part of, and can build trust and leadership that will steward the trees for generations.

California ReLeaf increases access to urban forestry funding by providing sub-grants to community groups. The obligations of direct public funding – such as the high minimum award, greenhouse gas calculations, mapping and reporting requirements – are often prohibitive for small groups. Therefore, we offer smaller minimum award amounts and technical assistance to help make funds accessible and the projects successful. Past grantees have included not just urban forest nonprofits, but also youth organizations, museums, neighborhood associations, social justice organizations, faith-based groups, sustainability initiatives and more. We prioritize projects that demonstrate strong community engagement, and the placement of trees where they will have the best multi-benefit impact in the community.

If you are a community group seeking funds for an urban forest or urban greening project, see funding opportunities below, and check out our list of other public grant programs.

If you are a public or private entity who wishes to fund or support urban forestry in California, we’d love to work with you! Contact Cindy Blain, Executive Director

Since 1992, California ReLeaf has distributed more than $9 million to nonprofits, local agencies and community-based groups throughout the state for the planting and care of trees, education and outreach projects, green jobs training, and volunteer development. Funding has been provided through the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and the US Forest Service. We have also facilitated grants from the Environmental Protection Agency as well as corporate partners including several utility companies. Grant recipients have involved thousands of volunteers in the planting and care of nearly 200,000 trees and have contributed more than $9.8 million in donated goods and services, volunteer time, and matching funds.

In 2019 we closed our first two major grant programs funded by California Climate Investments (CCI). The intent of this program is to “put Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.” The California ReLeaf grants that did just that. The powerful stories of many of those grants have been compiled in this document, California Climate Investments in Urban Forestry (PDF).

Funding Opportunities

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“After years of wanting to beautify and add shade to our public spaces, we were pleased to discover a supportive partner in California ReLeaf. With their advice, we were able to do everything from effectively select the best species for our environment to engage different key community leaders. Their responsiveness helped us adapt the project as new opportunities arose. In fact, we were able to expand our project and plant even more trees than we originally anticipated.”
-Avenal Historical Society

Title page of a slideshow about past grants