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USDA Forest Service National Forest Resiliency Innovation
Challenge Cost Share Grant Program Portal

2020 Grant Program

Request for Proposals:

Application Deadline: December 31st, 2020 12:00 AM

Welcome to the Online Grant Application Portal for the USDA Forest Service National Forest Resiliency Innovation Challenge Cost Share Grant Program

Through the USDA Forest Service National Forest Resiliency Innovation Challenge Cost Share Grant Program, the Forest Service seeks to establish sustainable urban and community forests by encouraging communities of all sizes to manage and protect their natural resources to improve the public's health, well-being, economic vitality, and creates resilient ecosystems for present and future generations.  To find out more about this year's Grant Program requirements and grant categories, carefully review the 2020 National Forest Resiliency Innovation Challenge Cost-Share Grant Program Request for Proposals (RFP) .pdf document below.

Request For Proposals (RFP) pdf-file-icon.png

To begin your grant application, click the Apply Online link in the menu bar above.  The Grant Portal's online application process utilizes workflow based web-form and document upload processes that allow you to apply and submit your application online.

Program Summary:

This summary of the grant program is intended to highlight major points about the program.  For complete details about the program, funding, eligibility, categories, requirements and the award process, see the Grant Program Request For Proposal (RFP) .pdf document above.


The U.S. Forest Service anticipates that the statutory authority (Sub Title 9 of the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act) for the Fiscal Year 2020 Urban and Community Forestry (U&CF) Program may provide, approximately $900,000 in grant funds to be awarded through the 2020 National Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program. Funds are to support national urban and community forestry projects on non-federal public land that have a national or multi-state impact and application. All awards are based on the availability of funding, which may be subject to change.

All grant funds must be matched at least equally (dollar for dollar) with non-Federal source funds.  The match may include in-kind donations, volunteer assistance, and private and public (non-federal) monetary contributions.

US non-federal organizations and Tribal agencies operating within the United States or its territories are encouraged to apply for the Challenge Cost-Share grant.  See the Grant Program RFP for complete eligibility details. 

Grant Category

The USDA Forest Service seeks innovative (new, cutting-edge or builds upon existing studies) grant proposals for program development, study, and collaboration that will address urban and community forest resilience and aligns with one or more applicable goals in the National Ten Year Urban and Community Forestry Action Plan (2016-2026).  By clicking on the title link it will download the document for more detailed information about each category listed below.  The applicant is to list the Goal(s) their proposal is addressing.

Creating and Enhancing Resilient Urban and Community Forests

Detailed information about this category can be found in the Grant Program's RFP.

Essential Requirements and the Application Process

The 2020  National Forest Resiliency Innovation Challenge Cost Share Grant Program will require proposals that clearly define their intent, methodology and deliverables.  Only those proposals meeting the eligibility criteria in the Grant Program RFP will be considered for potential funding. 

All applications are to be submitted using the Online Grant Portal here at  If you do not have the capacity to use the internet or have the availability of a computer, you may contact Nancy Stremple, executive staff, phone: 202-205-7829 for an alternate application process.

The Grant Portal is an online grant application and submittal website that will walk you through the application workflow processes using web-forms and document upload processes. The US Forest Service encourages applicants to submit their applications online through the Grant Portal here at  Detailed instructions and help using the Grant Portal can be found in the help section of the website.

TIMELY RECEIPT REQUIREMENT AND PROOF OF TIMELY SUBMISSION:  All applications must be received by the deadline established for the grant program.  Once you successfully submit your application through the Grant Portal, you will receive a confirmation email, time stamped, as proof of submission.  If you experience difficulties with your online application or submittal, email the technical support contact identified at the bottom of this page.  You can also visit the Help section for help topics that may answer your issues.

ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENTS:  The grant application requires several web-forms to be completed online as well as several Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) documents to be completed and uploaded to the Grant Portal. 

Information Collected via Web-Forms:

Applicant Information

Project Title

Project Abstract Narrative (200 word max)

Partnering Organization Information

Stakeholder Information

Documents Required:

Proposal Narrative

Literature Review

SF424 Family of Forms (SF-424, SF-424A, SF-424B)

Budget Justification

Statement of Key Personnel Qualifications

Application Deadlines

All proposals must be received by received by March 30, 2020 11:59 PM Eastern.  Proposals must be submitted using the Online Grant Portal at or courier hard copy.  If submitting via courier hard copy, see the Grant Program RFP for address and delivery information.  Applications submitted using the Online Grant Portal will receive an email confirmation once successfully submitted.

Proposal Evaluation Criteria

Application proposals will be evaluated on how well they address each of the criteria noted below.  Application proposals that do not include all of the requested information requested will NOT score well in the evaluation process. 

An automatic disqualification may occur if the proposal does not demonstrate how it has national application / benefits the entire country; does not meet the 1:1 matching funds requirement, does not apply to urban and community forestry program authorities and/or does not utilize the proposal template format provided. 

  1. Project Description (20 points)
  2. Originality and Innovation (5 points)
  3. Literature Review (5 points)
  4. Project Planning and Timeline (10 points)
  5. Product (10 points)
  6. Collaboration (15 points)
  7. National Distribution/Technology Transfer of Your Findings (10 points)
  8. Project Evaluation (10 points)
  9. Experience/Personnel/Adequacy of Resources (5 points)
  10. Budget Narrative/Justification (10 points)
For detailed information on the evaluation criteria, see the full Grant Program Request For Proposal (RFP) .pdf document listed at the top of the page.
All documents required to be uploaded to as part of your application, including the Narrative template, are available in the Forms and Templates section of the Online Grant Portal.
Before submitting your application online, it is your responsibility to review your online application to ensure it is complete.  Do not submit unsolicited information or forms with your online application as it will be deleted and excluded from the review process.

Apply Online / Update Your Online Application

The online application process steps you through the application workflow processes allowing you to complete online web-forms and upload required forms/documents* so that your entire application package is submitted online.

Apply online now or continue/edit your previously started application.

Online Application Instructions

To begin your online application, you'll need to enter your name and email address along with the project title and the grant category for which you are applying.  For added security, you will also be required to setup a secret question and answer.

Once you complete this information, you will be send an email with a unique online grant application tracking-id that you will need to access your online application.

Each time you access your online application, you'll need your email address, the answer to your secret question and your tracking-id to gain access.

To enter and upload the required application information, you'll follow the workflow process presented when you access your application.  The final step to the workflow process is the application submission step.  You should carefully review your online application before submitting.  Once successfully submitted, you will receive an email with a time stamp confirming your submission.  This email is your receipt for timely submission.

You will be notified by email during each of the following steps taken by the grant program review committee:

  • application received
  • application accepted for review or rejected and reason why
  • written responses requested
  • grant awarded

* NOTE:  Files and documents uploaded to the Grant Portal should be Adobe Acrobat .pdf formatted files. To access Adobe Acrobat files (.pdf), you'll need to have an Adobe Acrobat reader program installed on your computer.  We recommend an Acrobat program such as Acrobat Reader DC  or Acrobat Reader Pro DC that allows you the ability to edit .pdf files.  You can download Adobe Acrobat Reader here.  Accessing Microsoft Word and Excel documents requires the use of Microsoft Word and Excel respectively.  Files required to be uploaded to the Grant Portal must be saved as an Acrobat .pdf file before uploading to the Grant Portal.  Microsoft Word and Excel allow you to save documents and spreadsheets as Acrobat .pdf files.

For Additional Grant Program Information or Grant Portal Help:

For grant program assistance and questions, contact:

Nancy Stremple
Executive Staff
USDA Forest Service
201 14th. St. SW, Sidney Yates Bldg. 3SC-01B
Washington, D.C. 20024
Phone: 202.205.7829

For technical assistance with the Grant Portal, contact:

Darryl Outlaw
University of Georgia IT Support
Athens, GA
Phone: 706.224.1685 (cell)
email: <-- primary contact method