With support from the USDA Forest Service, the Massachusetts Urban and Community Forestry Program now offers an Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grant. These are 50-50 matching grants offered to municipalities and non-profit groups in Massachusetts communities of all sizes for the purpose of building local capacity for excellent urban and community forestry at the local and regional level. This grant offering is not a new grant, but a combination of our previous grant opportunities (Mass ReLeaf, Planning and Education, and Heritage Grants). We have changed the format in an effort to streamline the grant process for applicants and better target our limited resources.

What is Urban and Community Forestry?
For the purpose of these grants, Urban and Community Forestry refers to professional management (planting, protection and maintenance) of a municipality's public tree resources in partnership with residents and community institutions. On a broader scale, Urban and Community Forestry involves the community in the management of all a municipality's or region's "green infrastructure" in order to maximize social, economic and environmental quality. For a more detailed description click here .

What Makes a Strong Urban and Community Forestry Program?

Step 1: Intent to Apply. If you or your organization is considering applying for this grant, you must submit this Intent to Apply Form. You may submit an Intent to Apply any time during the year, and our staff will follow up with you on your idea. Final full proposals are due twice a year, May 1 and November 1. Your Intent to Apply Form must be received at least one month in advance of these deadlines, and preferably two months in advance if you intend to apply for that round.

Who Can Apply?
Eligible groups include all units of local government and nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations. Local tree departments and citizen tree groups are specifically encouraged to apply.

What Can We Apply for under an Urban Forestry Grant?
This grant program seeks to fund projects which will result in sustained improvements in local capacity for excellent urban and community forestry management in six key areas. For more details on these areas, read the full grant application packet doc format of Urban & Community Forestry Grant Application
.

  • Building and Strengthening Citizen Advocacy and Action Organizations: We seek to fund projects that develop, strengthen or sustain citizen groups or non-profit organizations that advocate and / or act to promote excellent urban and community forestry management.
  • Developing and Adopting Tree and Forest Ordinances and Policies: We seek to fund projects to develop, approve and implement new ordinances, zoning regulations or written policies that will result in improved tree and forest management and the preservation of tree canopy on a community scale.
  • Securing or Training Professional Staff: All Massachusetts communities should have a qualified Tree Warden with professional training. Communities over 10,000 are required to do so by law. We will consider projects that result in sustained improvements in professional staffing in a municipality's urban and community forestry program.
  • Develop and Implement Urban Forestry Management Plan: We seek to fund the development and implementation of plans that guide the strategic management of urban forest resources at the community level.
  • Attain Tree City USA Award: We seek to fund projects which result in new communities achieving the Tree City USA designation. See Urban Forestry FAQ's for more information.
  • Completing Strategic Community Tree Plantings and "Heritage" Tree Care Projects: We will consider projects that include high visibility community tree plantings that enhance environmental and aesthetic quality, strengthen community involvement, and follow the principles of planting the right trees in the right places. We will also consider projects that include professional arborist care of "Heritage" trees (those larger trees over 32" in diameter that have a documented cultural and/or historical significance) if these projects also result in enhanced public awareness and support for urban and community forestry and / or improved community tree care.
  • Other Projects: We may consider some well-conceived and executed projects which result in sustained improvements to urban and community forestry management in other areas.

How Much Can We Apply for under an Urban Forestry Grant?
Grant awards range from $1,000 to $30,000. Applicants should apply for the amount of challenge funds that their projects require. Larger communities are likely to be more competitive for larger grant amounts. Remember all grants must be matched 50-50 by local funds or in-kind contributions.

DCR - National Grid Partnership Challenge Grants

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Urban and Community Forestry Program in partnership with the National Grid Company is offering matching grants to specific municipalities in which National Grid has completed their ACT Reliability Improvement Program. These grants are made for the purposes of community tree replacement planting and building local capacity for excellent urban and community forestry.

Eligible Communities Currently Include (but may not be limited to):

  • Amesbury
  • Andover
  • Beverly
  • Billerica
  • Bolton
  • Brimfield
  • Charlemont
  • Dighton
  • Douglas
  • Dudley
  • Grafton
  • Great Barrington
  • Hanover
  • Hanson
  • Haverhill
  • Hawley
  • Heath
  • Hopedale
  • Lancaster
  • Lenox
  • Leominster
  • Mendon
  • Milford
  • Millbury
  • Newbury
  • North Andover
  • Northampton
  • Norton
  • Norwell
  • Orange
  • Pembroke
  • Pepperell
  • Randolph
  • Rehoboth
  • Rowe
  • Scituate
  • Seekonk
  • Southborough
  • Stockbridge
  • Tewsksbury
  • Topsfield
  • Uxbridge
  • Warren
  • Wenham
  • Westford
  • Wilbraham

To Apply
If your community is eligible for this grant, you must submit an Intent to Apply Form, and our staff will follow up with you on your idea.

Urban Forestry Environmental Justice Pilot Grant Program

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Urban and Community Forestry Program, in collaboration with the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA), offers competitive 75-25 matching grants to municipalities and non-profit organizations working in environmental justice (EJ) communities in Massachusetts.  The purpose of these grants is to advance environmental equity, improve environmental quality, and build local capacity for urban and community forestry in environmental justice communities.  Please find more information on this targeted Urban Forestry Challenge Grant offering at Urban Forestry Environmental Justice Pilot Grant Program doc format of Urban Forestry Environmental Justice Pilot Grant
. Please note that this grant offering is a sub-set of our regular Urban Forest Challenge Grants.  Applicants should submit the documents found at the link above in addition to the full application found under the Urban Forest Challenge Grant section of this web page.

DCR - NSTAR Go Green Grant Program

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Urban and Community Forestry Program in partnership with the NSTAR Company is offering matching grants to municipalities in the NSTAR service area. For every NSTAR customer who switches from a paper NSTAR utility bill format to an electronic bill, NSTAR will make a donation to the Mass ReLeaf Trust Fund to support the DCR Urban Forestry Challenge Grant Program.  These grants are made for the purposes of community tree replacement planting and building local capacity for excellent urban and community forestry.

Municipalities in the NSTAR Service Area and eligible for the grant program can be found at the link below.

To Apply
If your community is eligible for this grant, you must submit an Intent to Apply Form, and our staff will follow up with you on your idea.

If you have questions about this grant program, please contact Julie Coop (617) 626- 1468 julie.coop@state.ma.us

Grant Writing Resources

TreeLink offers an urban and community forestry grant writing tutorial on-line.

Additional Related Grant Opportunities