National Forest Foundation

Matching Awards Program

Supporting On-the-ground Work On Our National Forests


The National Forest Foundation (NFF) Matching Awards Program (MAP) provides funding for results-oriented on-the-ground projects that enhance forest health and outdoor experiences on National Forests and Grasslands.

On-the-ground Projects

MAP supports the implementation of on-the-ground conservation and restoration projects that have an immediate, quantifiable impact on the National Forest System. These projects provide a lasting impact to the lands, waters, and wildlife of the National Forest System through the alteration of the physical environment.

Focus Areas

MAP supports the strategic focus areas of Forest Health and Outdoor Experiences.

Outdoor Experiences

MAP supports results-oriented, on-the-ground, projects that improve the quality, condition, and care of Outdoor Experiences on National Forests by:

  • Improving or maintaining recreation resource connectivity including and similar to: trail maintenance, bridge and crossing construction or repair, and installation of trail drainage structures; and/or
  • Engaging youth (15-25), volunteers, or diverse, underserved or under-engaged populations in hands-on stewardship activities; and/or
  • Employing youth (15-25) and/or veterans crews to implement on-the-ground conservation, stewardship and/or restoration work.

Projects that generate tangible conservation outcomes while enhancing high quality recreational experiences for the users of the National Forest System will receive weighted advantage. Funds cannot support improvements of hardened facilities including, and similar to: campgrounds, parking lots, restrooms, visitor centers, and major signage.

Forest Health

MAP supports results-oriented, on-the-ground, citizen-involved projects that maintain and/or restore forest resiliency by:

  • Promoting forest structural complexity, function and diversity over time; and/or
  • Promoting forest health through the removal or control of non-native invasive species, and/or reintroduction of native plants and trees.

Projects that are consistent with or supportive of large-scale conservation initiatives will receive weighted advantage.

Community Engagement

In addition to focusing on the above Program Areas, MAP requires projects to show a strong commitment to civic engagement and community involvement through the direct involvement of the public. In order for a project to be eligible for MAP funding, it must have significant, legitimate community involvement or civic engagement in the pre-implementation, implementation, and/or post-implementation phases.


MAP is national in scope and there are no geographic priorities.


The NFF holds two nationally competitive MAP rounds each year. Organizations may have only one MAP award open at a time and should submit no more than one application per round.

Proposal Deadlines

  • January 14, 2016 at 11:59 pm MST
  • June 16, 2016 at 11:59 pm MDT


501(c)3 nonprofits, universities, and Native American tribes are eligible to receive MAP grants. If an organization does not meet this eligibility requirement, it must utilize an eligible fiscal sponsor, in compliance with the NFF Policy on Fiscal Sponsorship.

National Forest System Benefit

MAP projects do not necessarily need to occur within the boundaries of a National Forest or National Grassland, however, all projects must be able to show direct benefit back to these lands. The vast majority of funded projects take place directly on National Forests or Grasslands.

Funding Restrictions

Applications will not be considered from:

  • Federal agencies;
  • Regional, state or local governmental entities;
  • For-profit organizations;
  • Consultants;
  • Educational and research organizations proposing projects that do not show tangible, on-the-ground benefit;
  • Organizations that cannot produce a 1:1 cash match of non-federal, project-directed funds;
  • Organizations considering submitting a proposal for a project that cannot be completed within one year of award.

The following project types are not eligible for funding:

  • Funding for outreach and/or education as a primary project component;
  • General operating or programmatic support;
  • Funding for any form of advocacy or litigation;
  • Funding provided to the U.S. Forest Service or any other federal entity.


Monitoring projects will be considered only if they are focused on determining the long-term effectiveness of NFF funded on-the-ground work. Any other baseline, implementation, or effectiveness monitoring is not presently eligible for funding.

Match Requirements

MAP requires a 1:1 cash match of secured nonfederal funds. In-kind contributions are not eligible for use as match but should be documented to show project leverage.


Notifications of funding selection or rejection are typically finalized within 3 months of the proposal deadline.The NFF is pilot testing a more flexible timing for grant award periods and report dates. Grants are awarded for a period of one year, and all funds must be expended within the award period.

Letters of Support

All applications must include a letter of support from the Forest Supervisor of each National Forest or Grassland unit included in a proposal. Proposals that include work on more than four National Forest System units within a Forest Service Region may choose to obtain a letter of support from the Regional Forester. Do not submit letters from District Rangers or any additional letters of support.

Application Process

Eligibility Questionnaire

To proceed in the application process, complete the MAP Eligibility questionnaire. The MAP Request for Proposals (RFP) can be accessed upon successful completion of the eligibility questionnaire.

Electronic Application

Applications submission is via an electronic submission process. Submission instructions are listed in the RFP.

Funding Type

MAP awards federal funds provided through a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Forest Service. Neither MAP funds, nor the funds used to match MAP funds may be used to meet the matching requirements of any other federal award program.

Typical Awards (2014 - 2015)

Average Request: $29,315
Median Request: $25,497
Average Award: $27,564
Median Award: $25,380
% of Proposals Funded: 59%
% of Dollars Requested Funded: 55%

Contact Information

If you have questions not answered on this website or in the MAP Request for Proposals, please contact Adam Liljeblad, Director, Conservation Awards at 406.830.3357 or