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Urban Forestry Equity through Capacity Building Grant Program

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is requesting proposals for the Urban Forestry Equity through Capacity Building Grant Program. The grant application process is open to 501(c)3 non-profits and municipalities. The funding allocation for the grants will be $5,000 – 10,000 over a one-year project timeframe. Applications will be accepted until the proposal deadline of November 8, 2021 and awards will be announced by early December 2021. Awards will be administered through the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the University of Connecticut (UConn).

Background and Introduction

The Urban Forestry Equity through Capacity Building Grant Program is designed to help build capacity in municipalities and non-profit organizations across the State of Connecticut to complete urban forestry projects that will address issues of environmental justice. Such projects align with the objectives set in the Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) Phase 1 Report and the DEEP Division of Forestry 2020 Forest Action Plan. Potential applicants may review these documents to gain a better understanding of how statewide urban forestry and equity and environmental justice goals may relate to potential projects. The program is supported by DEEP through funding from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

Purpose of the Grant Program

The Urban Forestry Equity through Capacity Building Grant Program is designed to assist up-and-coming organizations and municipalities interested in pursuing urban forestry projects while also building capacity within their organization. These grants can serve as a steppingstone for organizations and municipalities that are not yet ready to apply for larger grants, such as the Urban Forestry Climate Change Grant, but that are interested in growing their programs to be competitive for such grants in the future. Awardees will work closely with a volunteer coordinator from UConn who will provide technical and programmatic assistance. Projects may include, but are not limited to, planning projects, such as workshops and studies to identify programmatic goals, or on the ground projects, such as tree planting and/or maintenance projects.

The purpose of the Urban Forestry Climate Change Grant Program is to fund projects at the local level that will:

  • Address equity issues and set environmental justice goals.
  • Build capacity and develop resources for organizations dealing with urban forest management and planning.
  • Improve knowledge on urban forest conditions and management priorities.
  • Promote targeted on-the-ground urban forest management interventions.
Urban Forest Equity and Environmental Justice

Approved projects must include goals that relate to equity and environmental justice concerns. Equity refers to societal disparities in factors such as living conditions, health outcomes, and political power, particularly as those disparities have historically affected people of color, low-income communities, people with disabilities, and other disadvantaged groups and individuals. Environmental justice refers to ways in which lack of equity has affected access to natural resources and ecosystems services they provide, such as clean air, outdoor recreation spaces, or mitigation of environmental hazards. The focus of the grant program on equity and environmental justice thus includes a commitment to promoting equitable outcomes for project investments in relation to urban forest planning and management.

Contact Information

To learn more about the Urban Forestry Equity through Capacity Building Grant Program or the Urban Forestry Program in Connecticut, contact:

Danica Doroski, Urban Forestry Coordinator
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
79 Elm St., Hartford, CT 06106

Specific Conditions and Requirements
  • All grant recipients must either be a municipality or a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, as designated by the IRS.
  • Projects must be completed within the timeframe determined through the project agreement.
  • The maximum amount awarded for each grant will be $10,000.
  • With respect to equity and environmental justice goals, the review committee will give priority to those municipalities and census blocks included on DEEP’s List of Environmental Justice Communities.
  • All expenditures must be matched 50:50. This match may be a financial match, done through the expenditure of additional funds, or it may achieved by in-kind contributions of goods or services donated by grant partners or a combination of both. You may use current reasonable rates (i.e., the value of a professional consultant’s time based upon the consultant’s standard hourly rate of pay) when estimating the value of volunteer time or services. Match funds may come from other governmental funds.
  • At the conclusion of each grant, UConn and DEEP will seek to describe and document the environmental gains and societal benefits derived from each grant. This will require the cooperation of each grant recipient to provide requested documentation in collaboration with the volunteer coordinator.  Examples of documentation sought could include mapping data, community statements, tree inventories, workshop summaries and lists of participants, and georeferenced data for any trees planted or maintained.
  • At the conclusion of the grant program, DEEP and UConn will publicize accomplishments of the grant program and the cooperation of each of the grant recipients will be requested.
Technical Assistance and Grant Support

UConn and DEEP will provide support and technical assistance for all grants, including (but not limited to) GIS mapping, species selection and tree planting protocols, database management, community organizing and outreach, documentation of outcomes, and review of products and plans developed. Program coordinators from DEEP and UConn will remain in contact with grant recipients regarding the project regularly throughout the term of the grant to facilitate this support.

The Application Process

There will be two rounds of grant applications. The first round will be due by November 8, 2021, with the expectation that grants will be considered and awarded by early December 2021, all work must be completed by November 2022. You can access the grant application here.

Applications will be reviewed and scored by a panel of experts based on the following point system:

  • Project Goals and Description (10 pts.)
  • Urban Forestry Goals (10 pts.)
  • Capacity Building Goals (15 pts.)
  • Equity and Environmental Justice Goals (15 pts.)
  • Community Involvement and Communications Efforts (15 pts.)

Content last updated in September 2021.