NFF Matching Awards Program (MAP)

National Forest Foundation (NFF)

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Grant amount: Up to US $30,000

Next anticipated deadline: Jun 9, 2020 10:59pm PDT

Later anticipated deadlines: Jan 16, 2021 10:59pm PST

Applicant type: Nonprofit College / University Indigenous Group Elementary / Secondary School

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:



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.

Outdoor Experiences

The NFF supports results-oriented, on-the-ground, projects that improve the quality, condition, and care of Outdoor Experiences on National Forests by:

  • Improving, or maintaining recreation resource connectivity including, and similar to: trail maintenance, bridge and crossing construction or repair, and installation of trail drainage structures; and/or
  • Engaging youth, volunteers, or diverse, underserved or under-engaged populations in hands-on stewardship activities; and/or
  • Employing youth and/or veterans crews to implement on-the-ground conservation, stewardship and/or restoration work.

Projects should generate tangible conservation outcomes or enhance high quality recreational experiences for the users of the National Forest System. 

Forest Health

The NFF supports results-oriented, on-the-ground, citizen-involved projects that maintain and/or restore ecosystem resiliency on National Forests by:

  • Promoting forest structural complexity, function and diversity over time; and/or
  • Promoting forest health through the removal or control of non-native invasive species, and/or reintroduction of native plants and trees.

Projects should be consistent with or supportive of identified large-scale conservation initiatives. The NFF will only consider monitoring projects focused on determining the long-term effectiveness of previous NFF-funded on-the-ground work.

Integrated Projects

The NFF encourages projects that cohesively integrate Outdoor Experiences and Forest Health program areas. Ideal projects will have a strong connection to each of the individual program areas, and effectively integrate both in a clear, direct manner.

Examples of integrated projects include, but are not limited to the following: 

  • Engaging community volunteers to complete riparian plantings as part of a watershed-scale restoration project;
  • Utilizing youth crews from underserved communities to complete habitat stewardship work and forest stand treatments. 

The most compelling projects will strongly integrate the Outdoor Experiences and Forest Health program areas, and will receive a weighted advantage in evaluation. A project will not be eligible for full weighted advantage if it does not cohesively integrate the two program areas, or only does so nominally. 

Civic Engagement & 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, Inventory, and 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.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • 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, in compliance with the NFF Policy on Fiscal Sponsorship.
  • 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.
  • MAP is national in scope and there are no geographic priorities.
  • MAP requires a 1:1 cash match of secured nonfederal funds.


  • Funds cannot support improvements of hardened facilities including, and similar to: campgrounds, parking lots, restrooms, visitor centers, and major signage.
  • Applications will not be considered from:
    • 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 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.
  • In-kind contributions are not eligible for use as match but should be documented to show project leverage.