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Social Equity Tree Planting Grant Program

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

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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California ReLeaf

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

02/28/18 Postmarked


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Grants ranging from $10,000 to $75,000 to California nonprofits and community groups to plant and maintain trees and related vegetation. Qualified projects should broaden, develop, and contribute to urban forests in good condition. All projects must reduce greenhouse gasses and either be located in or provide benefit to, disadvantaged communities.

Each proposal should strive to reduce at least 100 metric tons of greenhouse gasses per $10,000 in funding request.

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.

75% of the funds allocated for urban forestry in this grant cycle will be awarded to proposals in which the majority of the project (51%) is located in a publically accessible area within a disadvantaged community (DAC), and the project terms provide for maintenance of the trees and related vegetation.

DACs are defined by state statute and further discussed in the attached Appendix and Application. Please note that California ReLeaf will strongly encourage applicants to plant most, if not all of their trees and related vegetation in a DAC if the project is to be considered located in a DAC. The two major exceptions will be for projects in which the non-DAC trees are planted at Title I schools within a two-mile radius of a DAC; or public parks and green spaces heavily utilized by DAC residents. Supporting documentation will be required. Please note that planting sites are also available at California State Facilities. See Appendix C for more information on this planting opportunity.

The remaining 25% of the funds for this grant cycle will be available statewide. These applications must adhere to all Guideline requirements, but do not have to be located in a DAC.

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:

Awarded grants will support projects through November 24th, 2019.

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.

Nonprofits awarded funding under CAL FIRE’s “Urban Forest Expansion and Improvement” Grant Program in 2017 are ineligible to apply in this grant cycle.

All of the following conditions must be met for a project to be eligible for a grant:

- The project must reduce GHGs, and accurately quantify projected reductions over a 40- year period. California ReLeaf will provide technical assistance for this aspect of the grant.

- There must be a commitment for active participation from community members and volunteers in the neighborhood where work is being completed. Community members must be involved in both the planning and implementation of projects.

- The project must demonstrate a nexus between important community needs and the benefits the project will provide.

- The project must provide multiple co-benefits (i.e. improved air or water quality, job creation within DACs, access to fresh local produce) to one or more disadvantaged communities.

- All plantings and their location must be accurately recorded.

- The project must display a sign with the logos and names of all organizations participating in the project, including CAL FIRE and California ReLeaf. The sign must also cite the California Climate Investments Program as the funding source. California ReLeaf will provide a template to all successful grantees for signage and appropriate logos.

- The project shall include an educational component. California ReLeaf shall make available educational materials to grantees to help fulfill this requirement.

- The applicant has complied in all respects with all applicable local and county ordinances.

- The applicant must comply with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations, including the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

- The applicant must have entered into an agreement with the land owners to allow for access to the land for a minimum of three (3) years after project completion for the designated entity(ies) providing maintenance on all tree plantings. Maintenance includes, but is not limited to: watering, structural pruning, mulching, fertilizing, exterminating, or controlling plant pests and diseases in order to survive.

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:
1) Projects in natural, wildland, or previously undeveloped urban settings.
2) Projects on railway rights-of-way (public land located directly adjacent to railroad tracks).
3) Projects in riparian zones (within 100 feet of a stream, lake, or wetland).

Ineligible Costs:

- 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:

A webinar will be held on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 from 12 pm to 1pm to help guide people through the application and answer any questions about our grant guidelines and other materials.

Community Grant Workshops
Lynwood: January 22, 2018, Monday from 2pm to 3:30pm hosted by Liberty Hill Foundation at the Lynwood Library – 11320 Bullis Rd, Lynwood, CA 90262
Pomona: January 23, 2018, Tuesday from 10am to 11:30am hosted by Liberty Hill Foundation at the Day One Office – 1351 S Main St, Pomona, CA 91766
Fresno: January 23, 2018, Tuesday from 4:30pm to 6pm hosted by Chicano Youth Center at 1515 E. Divisadero St. Fresno, CA 93721
Huron: January 24, 2018, Wednesday 11:30amto 1pm hosted by John Palacios Community Center at 16846 4th Street, Huron, CA 93234
Oakland: January 29, 2018, Monday from 10am – 12pm hosted by The Greenlining Institute at 360 14th Street, Oakland, CA 94612

For more webinars and archive links:

Pre-Application Information:

Applications are due no later than Wednesday, February 28, 2018.

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.

Successful applicants will be notified of award by Friday, April 13, 2018. 

Contact Information:

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

Register for the webinar:

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