Find Nonprofit and Small Business Grants

Advance Search

Only Available for Paid Subscribers
Clear Filters
Search Filters

Social Equity Forest Improvement Grant Program

Grants to California Nonprofits and Community
Groups to Plant Trees to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

Add to My Calendar 

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) - California ReLeaf

Deadline Date:

03/03/19 Postmarked


Request a Grant Writer

Grants ranging from $10,000 to $75,000 to California nonprofits and community groups to plant and maintain trees and related vegetation. Proposals must demonstrate how projects will successfully reduce greenhouse gasses. While emphasis will be placed on projects located in low-income and disadvantaged communities, a portion of funds will support state-wide projects in publicly accessible areas.

Eligible projects are those that contain a significant shade-tree planting component and that also augment, expand, or better manage healthy urban forests. See the Guidelines document in Supporting Documents below for details on project eligibility.

Each proposal should strive to reduce at least 100 metric tons of greenhouse gasses per $10,000 in funding request. Additionally, this year’s Program is intended to capitalize on the extended timeline for this grant cycle by maximizing the opportunity to properly water and maintain newly planted trees for up to three years. Shovel-ready projects will be prioritized.

Eligible costs include costs for the planting of trees, the maintenance of these project plantings during the grant period, community education and engagement costs, personnel, contractors and consultants, and direct and indirect administrative costs.

Eligible Geography:

The total funds available in this grant cycle (not less than $500,000) shall be distributed as follows:

- 40% of the funds will be awarded to proposals in which the majority of the project (51%) is located in a publicly accessible area within a disadvantaged community (DAC).
- 30% of the funds will be awarded to proposals in which the majority of the project (51%) is located in a publicly accessible area within a Low-Income Community.
- 30% of the funds will be available statewide for plantings in publicly accessible areas.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 177524

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Up to 20

Estimated Size of Grant:

Awards range from $10,000 to $75,000. 

Term of Contract:

The tree-planting component of the project must be completed by December 31, 2019.

All trees must be maintained through the full duration of the grant cycle (December 31, 2021).

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Nonprofit organizations, incorporated and qualified under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3), and unincorporated groups (e.g., neighborhood associations, tree advisory boards, etc.) are eligible to apply for funding under this program.

Applicants that are not incorporated as nonprofit organizations must have an incorporated nonprofit organization or a public agency to act as the fiscal sponsor for the project. Public entities may serve as a fiscal sponsor for a project, but may not apply for funds directly.

Ineligible Projects:

- Any project designed to take the place of a regular or ongoing fiscal commitment to a program or project by a local government.
- Planting trees that require excessive maintenance such as: excessive long-term watering, fertilizing, mulching, exterminating, or controlling pests and diseases in order to survive.
- Planting projects in which no public, nonprofit or private entity has agreed in writing to provide maintenance for at least three (3) years after project completion. Maintenance includes, but is not limited to: watering, fertilizing, exterminating, or controlling plant pests and diseases in order to survive.
- Projects that cannot provide sufficient quantitative data to calculate GHG reductions.
- Projects that include invasive species. A list of invasive species can be found at California Invasive Plant Council website (
- Planting projects that conflict with overhead utilities or ground located infrastructure.
- Planting on federal or residential land.

The following are ineligible, unless proof of prior clearance under CEQA or a Negative Declaration is submitted with the proposal:
- Projects in natural, wildland, or previously undeveloped urban settings.
- Projects on railway rights-of-way (public land located directly adjacent to railroad tracks).
- Projects in riparian zones (within 100 feet of a stream, lake, or wetland).

Ineligible Costs (and Ineligible for Match Requirement):

- Root barriers, chemical or solid.
- Tree grates and decorative tree guards.
- Disposal costs of woody debris.
- Inefficient irrigation valves, pumps, sprinkler control timers or elaborate irrigation systems.
- Food and beverages.
- Promotional items (t-shirts, stickers, etc.).
- Purchase and storage of replacement trees for those that don’t survive.
- Tree removal, unless the tree is dead or dying and will be replaced.

Ineligible Trees:

- Species that are ill-adapted to the local climate.
- Species that are short-lived, pest-prone, a nuisance or otherwise undesirable.
- Invasive species; see California Invasive Plant Council at
- Trees that rely upon excessive amounts of water to survive.
- Trees that are inappropriate for the chosen site or require excessive maintenance.
- Trees that will be less than 25 feet in height, with equal crown width, at maturity (fruit trees excluded).
- Palms.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Workshop dates: To be announced

Pre-Application Information:

Deadline to submit an application is Sunday, March 3, 2019. Successful applicants will be notified of award by Friday, April 12th, 2019.

California ReLeaf has hired an expert consultant who will use the information applicants provide in their proposal to calculate estimated GHG reductions and emissions for each project. Applicants will be required to provide explicit details about the species selected for planting, their exact location, and proximity to homes, schools, businesses, and other built structures. Only GHG reductions from trees will be calculated, so carefully plan the project to include a significant tree-planting component.

Since projects awarded funds must "lead to sequestration of significant amounts of GHG and/or avoid emissions of significant amounts of GHG over a 40-year period, applicants are encouraged to submit their proposed tree planting list and location indicator at least three weeks prior to sending a full application so the GHG reductions can be estimated.

Matching requirements (25%) for state funds may be met with in-kind activities or materials related to the project. Any state funding source applied to the project that is not the same as the state source of funding used for this Program (Climate Investment Program funds) may be used as match. In addition, USDA Forest Service funds granted by the Urban and Community Forestry Program can be used as match (as can other Federal funds). Applicants are encouraged to utilize volunteer assistance as a primary component of their overall match.

Payments are made on a reimbursement basis and will be for actual expenses incurred based on receipts. Grant recipients will be required to use their own operating funds to cover expenses until invoices are reimbursed by California ReLeaf, which may take up to 45 days.

View the webinar from September 2018:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Send applications to:

California ReLeaf
2115 J Street, Suite 213
Sacramento, CA 95816
Attn: Chuck Mills

Phone: (916) 497‐0035 

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California