Grant Program Opens to Address National Forest Challenges Through Innovative Finance

Grant Program Opens to Address National Forest Challenges Through Innovative Finance

Deadline for proposal submissions is June 30, 2021

For IMMEDIATE RELEASE (April 27, 2021)

U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Greenville, SC
National Forest Foundation, Missoula, MT

Today, the Innovative Finance for National Forests (IFNF) grant program opened its next round of solicitations for program funding.  The IFNF grant program supports the development and implementation of innovative finance models that leverage private and public capital other than US Forest Service (USFS) appropriations to support the resilience of the National Forest System. Grants are funded by and administered by the USDA Forest Service (USFS) National Partnership Office (NPO) and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) in collaboration with the National Forest Foundation (NFF)

National Forests across the United States provide important services to the American public, including clean and abundant drinking water, clean air, forest products, recreation opportunities, and rural jobs. However, the scale of unmet stewardship needs to address severe wildfire risk, watershed health and deferred maintenance on recreation infrastructure, across millions of acres, exceeds the capacity of existing appropriations or philanthropic funds. In 2021, the IFNF program will emphasize the three focus areas of wildfire resilience and recovery, sustainable recreation infrastructure and access, and watershed health. IFNF grants will support the development and implementation of innovative finance models through three project types: pilot projects, scaling projects, and research and development projects.

“The National Forest System faces massive unfunded backlogs of work that exceed the capacity of our annual appropriations,” said Jacqueline Emanuel, Director, USDA Forest Service National Partnership Office. “The IFNF grant program supports outside the box thinking in addressing these big challenges. It expands our work with savvy partners to demonstrate proof of concept for replicable models with potential to unlock new sources of capital at a scale that matches the challenge.”

“This program is designed to attract public and private capital to some of our National Forests’ most challenging issues, such as wildfire resilience and recovery and watershed health,” said Pete Madden, the Endowment’s President and CEO.  “By joining with our partners to fund these grants, we support those who are seeking fresh approaches and creative solutions to these challenges. We commend the Forest Service’s National Partnership Office for their leadership on this approach.”

“Our National Forests are a priceless resource for all citizens,” said Mary Mitsos, President and CEO at the NFF. “They provide rural jobs, wood, water, and other forest products, outstanding recreation opportunities, habitat for fish and wildlife—the list goes on and on. This new partnership and grant program will attract private sector funding that will help the Forest Service and their partners address pressing management challenges.”

More information and the Request for Proposals can be found at For details regarding the application for this program, visit

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For more information contact:
Peter Stangel,; 404-915-2763,
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) is a not-for-profit public charity working collaboratively 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 –

Nathalie Woolworth,; 202-281-8511
The USDA Forest Service National Partnership Office (NPO) Conservation Finance Program leads the way in positioning the Forest Service to leverage sources of capital other than appropriations to support priority projects by developing finance models with potential for replication and building agency and partner expertise in innovative finance.

Spencer Plumb,; 928-961-2486
Founded by Congress in 1991, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) works to conserve, restore, and enhance America’s 193-million-acre National Forest System. Through community-based strategies and public-private partnerships, the NFF enhances wildlife habitat, revitalizes wildfire-damaged landscapes, restores watersheds, and improves recreational resources for the benefit of all Americans. To learn more, visit us at  

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