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Maryland Awarded $1.2 Million in First Cohort of the Community Forestry Catalyst Fund

Photo of truck in a forest

Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo

Six community-based and local government organizations in Maryland will receive a combined $1.2 million over the next two years as part of a federal Inflation Reduction Act-supported grantmaking program.

The Maryland Forest Service received and forwarded 22 applications statewide for the inaugural round of awards to the Community Forestry Catalyst Fund, which aims to expand the reach and capacity of tree and forest-based initiatives in underserved communities. Requested funds totaled $6.6 million. 

“We’ve known that the demand for enhanced opportunities related to urban and community forestry has been there, but the resources to match haven’t always followed suit, “ said Maryland State Forester Dr. Anne Hairston-Strang. “The response to our first solicitation was staggering and underscores the strong interest in forest stewardship throughout Maryland.” 

The awarded organizations will receive a grant allocation, additional technical implementation support from DNR, and the opportunity to share knowledge in a cohort with other experts. The applicants selected by the multi-partner review committee are:

  • Audubon Mid-Atlantic – Baltimore Program: To develop a transferable model for community-based forest stewardship
  • Baltimore Green Space: To enhance outreach and engagement programs centered on community forest patches 
  • Baltimore City Recreation and Parks: To increase capacity of the natural areas management unit within its Forestry Division
  • Corazón Latino: To increase neighborhood-scale opportunities for access and engagement with trees and tree care in Prince George’s County’s Latino communities
  • Temple X: To provide career training and forestry-based education for Baltimore City residents around urban wood reutilization 
  • Resilience Authority of Charles County: To expand an existing high school workforce development model developed in partnership with the Student Conservation Association 

While Community Forestry Catalyst Fund grants can support a wide range of initiatives, emphasis for Cohort 1 was placed on building the capacity of local organizations to have a sustainable impact. Other financial resources for tree planting and maintenance, such as the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s Urban Trees Grant Program, are already available to most prospective applicants that have an interest in enhancing tree canopy. 

“Adding trees back on the landscape is a vital tool for combating climate change and the negative effects of urban development, but it’s not enough,” said J.T. Bowers, Deputy Director of the Maryland Forest Service. “These grants are designed to ensure that Marylanders have the support to manage and steward the forest resources in their communities well after the current wave of funding dies down.”

Inflation Reduction Act funding from the USDA Forest Service stipulates that the Community Forestry Catalyst Fund grant program must be drawn down by 2028. Meanwhile, financial assistance provided through Maryland’s 5 Million Trees initiative runs through at least 2031. 

The application window for the next grant cohort is open from July 1 through September 1, 2024. Interested applicants can visit the Maryland Forest Service’s grant webpage or contact for more information on how to apply.