U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities Receives $20 Million in Funding to Support Underserved Forest Landowners

Photo credit: Mac Stone

U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities Receives $20 Million in Funding to Support Underserved Forest Landowners

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Mar. 15, 2024 –The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), along with its key partners Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Network (SFLR), Khuba International and mano-Y-ola, LLC, proudly announces the receipt of a $20 million award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service. This award will support underserved landowners in gaining equitable access to emerging markets while creating landscape-scale impact. 

“This funding represents a significant milestone in efforts to support underserved forest landowners and reinforce our Communities strategy work,” said Alicia Cramer, senior vice president of the Endowment. “We are excited to collaborate with our partner organizations who have demonstrated experience in outreach to underserved landowners, forestry and farming expertise and a proven track record in overcoming barriers to land ownership and accessing federal funding.”

The funding announced by the USDA Forest Service will allow underserved and small-acreage forest landowners to implement climate-resilient practices, access information about market opportunities and support the capacity building of the partners to better serve our forest landowners.  

When looking at new market development, a key consideration is the ability to provide the resources, including raw materials, necessary to stand up the emerging market required for long-term sustainability. Having an ample fiber supply in a state of readiness will be imperative to serving emerging markets. Healthy working forests are critical to rural economies and will play a pivotal role in mitigating the effects of climate change.

“We are grateful for the support of the USDA Forest Service and other partners who share the commitment of advancing the role of underserved landowners in emerging markets. In emerging markets, trusted knowledge is critical. Much like an experienced navigator in unfamiliar terrain, you need trusted entities with insight into the supply chain, culture, barriers to entry and regulatory environment. Our partners bring this expertise and trusted assistance needed to support wood markets,” added Cramer.

The Endowment, along with our generous philanthropic partners, such as The JPB Foundation who made an early lead investment to support this work, will further amplify the impact with an additional $7 million in funding, complementing the generous award from USDA Forest Service.

There is additional funding available from the USDA Forest Service and proposals up to $2 million are still being accepted until August 21.

About the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities:
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities is a not-for-profit public charity collaborating with partners in the public and private sectors to advance systemic, transformative, and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation’s working forests and forest-reliant communities. To learn more about the Endowment, please visit our website at www.usendowment.org.

About SFLR:
The SFLR Network was launched in 2012 with assistance from the Endowment in partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the USDA Forest Service. Their goal is to create a sustainable system of support for African American forest owners that significantly increases the value of African American owned forests, land retention, community stabilization, and asset development for Black families in the U.S. South. Since then, additional supporters focused on redressing Black land loss have included the American Forest Foundation, Inc., JPB Foundation, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, and Doris Duke Foundation. More information: www.sflrnetwork.org

About Khuba International:
Khuba International is a black-led non-profit organization that seeks to integrate youth education, sustainable agriculture, and community development through hands-on programming and inclusive partnership-building. We are based in Tompkins County, N.Y. Our activities particularly seek to engage and empower community members impacted by racism, redlining, and colonization, and families from disadvantaged backgrounds. We support black community members of Central New York that wish to access land and farm. Areas of focus include: BIPOC farming, black-led land access, food sovereignty, literacy, and sustainable agriculture outreach.

About mano-Y-ola:
mano-Y-ola, a minority-and female-owned consulting firm, focuses on supporting minority and immigrant farmer communities, particularly Hispanic landowners. They specialize in providing tailored guidance and resources for overcoming challenges in land ownership, agricultural practices, and accessing resources. Through their commitment to empowering Hispanic landowners, mano-Y-ola promotes equitable opportunities for all.

Media Contacts:

Wendy McCarthy, Director of Public Relations at Crawford Agency (wendy@crawford.agency ; 864-248-4290)

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