Capacity-Building Programs

Population growth, declining timber economies and rural/urban migration patterns are having a significant impact on the landscape around us. Rural, land-based communities are facing unprecedented challenges and many are recognizing the interrelationship between the health of their local natural resources, community and economy.

At the same time, natural resource issues can be contentious and heated, typified by distrust and deadlock. It is the belief of the National Forest Foundation, and many others, that one way to move past the controversy is to engage communities in collaborative processes to find common ground and develop proactive solutions.

The National Forest Foundation (NFF) supports citizen engagement in the stewardship of our National Forests and Grasslands by providing funding and resources to meet the needs of collaborative efforts at various stages of growth and capacity, from start-up to a sustainable organization. We seek to nurture groups along their path with grants, technical support and resources and access to peers in the field, to enhance their knowledge and skills on topics including:


Capacity-Building Grants

At the close of a decade of strong support from several foundations, most notably the Ford Foundation, the NFF is re-structuring its capacity-building grant offerings to meet new funding opportunities.

Initiated in 2011, the Community Capacity and Land Stewardship Program (CCLS) provides capacity building support for local collaborative efforts that work toward achieving watershed restoration objectives within the geographic focus areas of California, Oregon, Washington and Southeast Alaska. The purpose of this grant program is to provide the tools and support necessary to achieve watershed and landscape scale restoration while also furthering goals that contribute to the economic sustainability of communities. The NFF has worked with partners in the Pacific Northwest to create and implement this innovative capacity-building grant program in support of collaboratives and community-based organizations throughout the area. Learn more about CCLS here . At present, no other capacity-building grants are available.

Organizations looking for funding for the implementation of conservation and restoration projects are encouraged to review the NFF on-the-ground grant offerings which provide funding for forest stewardship, recreation, wildlife habitat improvement and watershed restoration activities.

Find more resources on collaboration , community-based stewardship and organizational development here.

Unsure which program fits your group? Check out our "Continuum of Assistance" chart.


Col·lab·o·ra·tion: A voluntary process through which a broad array of interests--some of which may be in conflict--enter into civil dialogue to collectively consider possibilities for improving the management of natural resources for the benefit of both the environment and the surrounding communities. Collaboration is different from a partnership, in that collaboration involves a diverse and comprehensive array of stakeholders; a partnership is likely to engage a few parties that are interested in working together on a specific project (adapted from David D. Chrislip, 2002).

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