The White House Council on Environmental Quality held a virtual briefing about the USDA Forest Service’s UCF Grant Funding Opportunity on Wednesday, March 29th at 12 p.m. PT. During the briefing, Beattra Wilson, who is the USDA Forest Services’ Assistant Director of Urban and Community Forestry, State, Private and Tribal Forestry Deputy Chief Area, provided a preview of the USDA Forest Services UCF Grant Funding Opportunity under the Inflation Reduction Act. Please see the summary of her presentation below.
IRA Funding Summary
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) dedicated $1.5 billion to the USDA Forest Service’s UCF Program to remain available until September 30, 2031, “for tree planting and related activities,” with a priority for projects that benefit underserved populations and areas [IRA Section 23003(a)(2)].
Public Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) – To Be Released Early April 2023
How Funds will be Distributed: Funds will be distributed through the USDA Forest Service’s UCF Program in the form of competitive direct grants, cooperative agreements, and technical assistance. Information about the NOFO will be posted on the USDA Forest Service’s UCF webpage.
Range: The funding opportunity is open to proposals spanning a broad range of costs from eligible entities working at a community, regional and national scale.
- Minimum Funding: $100,000
- Maximum Federal Funding limit is $50,000,000
- All funding agreements will be for a period of 5 years.
Match: All federal grant funds are to be matched at least equally (dollar for dollar with non-federal match.)
- Match-waivers are available for proposals that deliver 100% of the funding/program benefits to disadvantaged communities.
- State government entity
- Local government entity
- Agency or governmental entity of the District of Columbia
- Federally Recognized Tribes, Alaska Native Corporations/villages, and Tribal organizations
- Nonprofit organizations
- Public and State-controlled institutions of higher education
- Community-based organizations
- Agency or governmental entity of an insular area
- Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Federal States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, Virgin Islands
Proposal Selection Criteria
- Alignment with Justice40, Congressional, State Forest Action Plan, and Ten-Year National Urban and Community Forest Plan priorities
- Technical merit
- Capability and capacity to carry out the proposed work within the grant period
- Measurable results or outcomes
- Budget and cost-effectiveness
- Additional information about these selection criteria, as well as what information is required for applications, can be found in the Notice of Funding Opportunity that will be posted on the USDA Forest Services UCF Page in early April 2023.
How to Apply for Funding
- Proposals will be submitted through a web-based application portal.
- Once released in early April, applicant materials can be found by going to grants.gov and search for the grant opportunity number USDA-FS-2023-UCF-IRA-01.
- Technical assistance will be available for applicants, including in the form of:
- Pre-Award Guide
- Application Checklist
- Grants.gov Navigation Guide
- Recorded Webinars
- USDA Forest Service will also award funding to Dedicated Pass-Through Funders to ease administrative barriers, award funds quickly, and extend outreach and engagement activities to recruit most locally in disadvantaged communities.
Key Milestones Timeline
- UCF IRA Public Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) – early April 2023
- Funding Opportunity Closes – end of May 2023
- FY 2023 Award Announcement – Summer 2023
- Watch the Recording of the March 29th Virtual Briefing on Urban and Community Forestry
- USDA Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program Webpage: Urban and Community Forestry Program
- Inflation Reduction Act Guidebook: Inflation Reduction Act Guidebook
- Council on Environmental Quality’s Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool
- Justice40 Initiative
- Learn more about other UCF State / Federal Public Funding Opportunities as well as Private Funding Opportunities