Public & Private Funding

Urban Forestry funding from state grants and other programs

There are more state dollars available now to support some or all aspects of urban forestry than there ever have been in California’s history – which indicates that urban trees are now better recognized and better integrated into many public projects. This opens numerous doors of opportunity for nonprofits and community groups to secure significant public funds for urban forestry and tree planting projects connecting to greenhouse gas reductions, environmental mitigation, active transportation, sustainable communities, environmental justice, and energy conservation.

When California ReLeaf learns of grant cycles for the programs below, and other opportunities, we distribute information to our email list. Sign up today to get funding alerts in your inbox!

State Grant Programs

Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program (AHSC)

Administrated by: Strategic Growth Council (SGC)

Synopsis: The SGC is authorized to fund land-use, housing, transportation, and land preservation projects to support infill and compact development that reduce GHG emissions.

Connection to Urban Forestry: Urban Greening is a threshold requirement for all AHSC funded projects. Eligible urban greening projects include, but are not limited to, rainwater recycling, flow and filtration systems including rain gardens, stormwater planters and filters, vegetated swales, bioretention basins, infiltration trenches and integration with riparian buffers, shade trees, community gardens, parks and open space.

Eligible Applicants: Locality (e.g. local agencies), Developer (entity responsible for project construction), Program Operator (day-to-day operational project administrator).

Cal-EPA Environmental Justice Small Grants

Administrated by: California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA)

Synopsis: The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) Environmental Justice (EJ) Small Grants are available to help eligible non-profit community groups/organizations and federally recognized Tribal governments address environmental justice issues in areas disproportionately affected by environmental pollution and hazards.

Connection to Urban Forestry: Cal-EPA has added another project category that is very relevant to our network: “Address Climate Change Impacts Through Community-Led Solutions.” Projects examples include energy efficiency, community greening, water conservation, & increased biking/walking.

Eligible Applicants: Non-profit entities or federally recognized Tribal governments.

Urban and Community Forestry Program

Administrated by: California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)

Synopsis: Multiple grant programs supported by the Urban and Community Forestry Program will fund tree planting, tree inventories, workforce development, urban wood and biomass utilization, blighted urban lands improvements, and leading edge work that advances the goals and objectives of supporting healthy urban forests and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Connection to Urban Forestry: Urban forestry is the primary focus of this program.

Eligible Applicants: Cities, counties, non-profits, qualifying districts

Active Transportation Program (ATP)

Administrated by: California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS)

Synopsis:  The ATP provides funding to encourage increased use of active modes of transportation, such as biking and walking.

Connection to Urban Forestry: Trees and other vegetation are significant components of several eligible projects under the ATP, including parks, trails, and safe-routes-to-schools.

Eligible Applicants:  Public agencies, transit agencies, school districts, tribal governments and non-profit organizations. Non-profits are eligible lead applicants for parks and recreational trails.

Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program (EEMP)

Administrated by: California Natural Resources Agency

Synopsis: The EEMP encourages projects that produce multiple benefits which reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase water use efficiency, reduce risks from climate change impacts, and demonstrate collaboration with local, state and community entities. Eligible projects must be directly or indirectly related to the environmental impact of the modification of an existing transportation facility or construction of a new transportation facility.

Connection to Urban Forestry: One of two primary focal points of the EEMP

Eligible Applicants: Local, state, and federal governmental agencies, and nonprofit organizations

Statewide Park Program (SPP)

Administrated by: California Department of Parks and Recreation

Synopsis: The SPP funds the creation and development of parks and other outdoor recreational spaces in underserved communities throughout the state. Eligible projects must create a new park or expand or renovate an existing park in a critically underserved community.

Connection to Urban Forestry: Community gardens and orchards are eligible recreation features of the program and urban forestry may be a component of park creation, expansion, and renovation.

Eligible Applicants: Cities, counties, districts (including recreation and park districts and public utilities districts), joint powers authorities, and nonprofit organizations

Urban Greening Grant Program

Administrated by: California Natural Resources Agency

Synopsis: Consistent with AB 32, the Urban Greening Program will fund projects that reduce greenhouse gases by sequestering carbon, decreasing energy consumption and reducing vehicles miles traveled, while also transforming the built environment into places that are more sustainable enjoyable, and effective in creating healthy and vibrant communities.

Connection to Urban Forestry: This new program explicitly includes urban heat island mitigation projects and energy conservation efforts related to shade tree planting. The existing draft guidelines favor tree planting as the primary quantification methodology to reduce greenhouse gases.

Eligible Applicants: Public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and qualifying districts

Other Funding Programs

Bank of America Community Resilience Grant

Administrated by: Arbor Day Foundation

Synopsis: Bank of America’s Community Resilience Grant Program enables the design and implementation of projects that utilize trees and other green infrastructure to build resilience in low- and moderate-income communities. Municipalities are eligible to receive $50,000 grants to strengthen vulnerable neighborhoods against the impacts of a changing climate.

Connection to Urban Forestry: Urban Forestry is the primary focus of this program.

Eligible Applicants: To be eligible for this grant, your project must take place within Bank of America’s footprint in the United States, with priority being given to projects in areas that primarily serve low- to moderate-income residents or take place in underserved communities. If the primary applicant is not the municipality, a letter of participation must come from the municipality stating their approval of the project and your ownership of its execution and long-term investment in the community.