Barrett Foundation Business Concept Challenge

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to enter the Challenge?

Please see the eligibility criteria outlined in the Barrett Foundation Challenge Revised Announcement and Guidelines. The Challenge is open to teams comprised of representatives from for-profit andnonprofit organizations, tribal entities, and students, staff, or faculty at nationally accredited colleges and universities. Local, state, or federal governments are not eligible to apply. Also ineligible to apply are employees of local, state, or federal governments acting in their official capacity.

While teams may find it helpful to engage members with natural resource expertise, interdisciplinary teams are encouraged to participate. There is no set formula for team composition.

The Challenge is designed to encourage the development and implementation of innovative solutions to natural resource issues affecting National Forests and Grasslands. Thus, the judging panel will be looking for proposals that show: (1) insights to addressing natural resource challenges and opportunities; and (2) the practical realities of taking a good idea forward to implementation. 

Entries should reflect new ideas that have not already been funded. Thus, a proposal that simply repeats or builds upon existing National Forest Foundation programs or projects will not be eligible, nor will a new concept that is already in development with venture capital or other substantial financial backing. Limited funding in the form of student scholarships or team member investment in a project will not disqualify a proposal for entry.

If you have concerns about your team’s eligibility, please send inquiries to


Why was the deadline extended and eligibility scope expanded?

The review committee did not find that there were enough initial submissions in 2014 that were sufficiently aligned with the program goals to continue with the program as initially conceived. The NFF decided to re-open the pre-proposal application round and expand the scope of eligible applicants beyond university students. A subset of initial applicants were encouraged to reapply in the expanded round. 


What is the pre-proposal submission process like?

Applicants must first complete a pre-screening questionnaire before accessing the actual submission form, which contains the questions that must be answered. The submission form must be completed in one sitting; saving an application in-progress is not possible. 


Can I preview the pre-proposal questions before completing the questionnaire?

Absolutely. The questions can be previewed here.


How will I get information after entering a proposal in the Challenge?

Teams submitting pre-proposals using the online form will be notified in Mid-July, 2014 following the pre-proposal deadline whether they have been selected to compete in the final round of the Challenge.  Subsequent communications will be focused on the final teams. 

You may direct questions not addressed in the Challenge announcement or these FAQs to: Do not contact any member of the National Forest Foundation staff about the Challenge or the details of your proposal.


Can we review examples of winning proposals?

The winning 2012 concept proposed creation of a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution that would receive funding from the federal government, foundations, private investment, and payments for ecosystem services schemes. In turn, this entity would be prepared to partner with existing efforts to build support for forest restoration, and encourage the establishment of a stable supply of forest products from the National Forest. This concept was intended to support demand for restoration byproducts by providing patient capital to emerging enterprises, as well as a forum for developing industry through employee trainings and best practice sharing.

The challenge was not held in 2013, and the revised 2014 criteria reflect the Challenge sponsor’s desire to emphasize market-based solutions that hold a genuine promise of implementation. Thus, looking at proposals submitted for past competitions would be of limited value; successful proposals will be the ones that most closely fit the Challenge criteria as currently formulated. 


How can the prize money be split?

The winning team will receive $75,000 in cash and the runner-up team will receive $25,000. Checks will be divided between, and written to team members according to their specifications. Note that these awards are taxable and that the National Forest Foundation will require all award recipients’ Social Security numbers as a condition of payment. Each team winning a cash award will have the sole responsibility for deciding how to allocate or otherwise use these proceeds.  The organizers of the Challenge will not become involved, either voluntarily or by request, in a team's decision concerning the allocation or use of cash awards.


Who are the judges?

The Barrett Foundation Business Concept Challenge review committee is comprised of the following distinguished judges: 

  • Craig R. Barrett, former Chairman and CEO, Intel; Vice Chairman, National Forest Foundation Board of Directors.
  • Tom Tidwell, Chief, U.S.D.A Forest Service.
  • Mike Brown Jr., Founder & General Partner, Bowery Capital.
  • Hal Salwasser, Professor and former Dean, Oregon State University College of Forestry.
  • William J. Possiel, President, National Forest Foundation.



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