National Forest Foundation

Innovative Finance for National Forests Grant Program

Program Update

UPDATE Februay 19, 2020

  • IFNF Team reviewed 45 pre-proposal and selected 12 applicants to submit full proposals
  • Full proposals were submitted to the IFNF team on February 18, 2020
  • Full proposal funding decisions will be made in April 2020
  • Funded proposals will be featured on this website later this spring
  • Additional information on the next round of grant funding will be posted later this spring

Update October 22, 2019 - 45 Preproposals have been received!

Preproposal review is underway. Applicants can expect to be contacted over the next 5-6 weeks.

Preproposal applicants will be notified no later than January 17, 2020, regarding an invitation to submit a full proposal.

We are no longer accepting Preproposals for this rounds of the program.

Program Summary

The Innovative Finance for National Forests (IFNF) is a grant program for local communities and stakeholders looking for new ways of funding healthy forests, project developers who can help connect investment capital to forested landscapes, and Forest Service managers and collaborators with projects that are ripe for private investment capital.

Innovative Finance for National Forests program success is developing, refining, or scaling tools, templates, and approaches that direct private investment capital to improve the health of the National Forest System through projects that deliver environmental and social outcomes and financial returns. Project activities may take place on the National Forest System, on adjacent state, private or tribal lands, or across boundaries provided outcomes of project activities contribute to the health of Forest Service ownership.

The IFNF grant program is a new approach. It provides grants to engage investment capital, to complement existing philanthropic and public resources, to meet National Forest System needs and the mission of the USDA Forest Service. It is funded by and administered by the USDA Forest Service (USFS) National Partnership Office (NPO), National Forest Foundation (NFF), and U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment).

The IFNF grant program welcomes both fully-developed concepts and discussion/joint development of nascent ideas. Many concepts may require significant input and support. Innovative Finance for National Forests program contacts are available to connect finance, land management, and Forest Service colleagues and to assist with concept development.


Join us to learn more about the Innovative Finance for National Forests program through two webinars hosted by the National Forest Foundation.

These are open to interested applicants and Forest Service colleagues. There is no need to register. Please join by phone 1-800-576-6614 and online at

Webinar Dates:

RFP + Application


    Current timeframes are below.

    • Program Announcement: week of September 9th
    • Webinar 1: 9/26/19
    • Webinar 2: 10/1/19
    • Pre-proposal concepts due: 10/21/19
    • Feedback and Coaching: September through February
    • Invitations to submit full proposals: 1/17/20
    • Full Proposal Submissions due: 2/18/20
    • Award Notification: Early April

    Additional Resources


    In October 2019, the US Forest Service National Partnerships Office (NPO) and Geospatial Technology and Applications Center published the Conservation Finance Opportunities Map. This mapping interface identifies landscapes with National Forest System properties that have demonstrated needs, are an Forest Service priority, and possess initial readiness conditions for private investment. In two tabs, it presents an index of conservation finance opportunity around watershed enhancement and recreation infrastructure improvements. In another tab, it collects existing data layers to enable user-directed exploration. The map is presented using a story map to frame the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind the project.

    The Conservation Finance Opportunities Map is intended as a tool to help the NPO, partner organizations, and FS leaders at the local and regional level to:

    • Conduct further scoping and analysis to refine whether landscapes have potential to utilize private capital
    • Target technical assistance and capacity building to accelerate the pace and scale of work on the ground
    • Explore data and illustrate places and projects that are a match for a variety of funding sources and finance tools
    • Give conservation finance project developers a starting point for ideas on connecting agency needs and investor interests

    Please take a look!

    Program Contacts

    Interested parties are encouraged to contact one of the below to discuss ideas or opportunities.