CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Department of Forestry, with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, is offering grant funding for the 2023 Urban and Community Forestry Grant Assistance Program, according to a release.

The program is designed to encourage projects in the Commonwealth that help urban and community forest ecosystems.

Virginia has received $6.6 million allocated over four years, and can be distributed among civic groups, communities, local governments, tribal organizations, non-profits, neighborhood associations, public schools and state agencies.

Lara Johnson, DOF’s Urban and Community Forestry Program Coordinator, said that this funding for Virginia can help reach all areas of the state.

“Projects located in historically underserved areas will be prioritized, and the match-waiver will enable those with the most need to access these funds,” said Johnson, in a release.

If a proposal provides all its benefits to disadvantaged communities per the federal government’s screening tool, it doesn’t need to offer a project match. In order to qualify, the application must explain the work scope in these communities and provide references to online data tools confirming their disadvantaged status.

Match-free grant proposals can go up to $250,000.

Projects that don’t benefit disadvantaged communities won’t get full funding. However, they can receive up to $50,000 in Community Forestry Assistance funds, requiring a dollar-for-dollar match, which can be cash, services or in-kind contributions, according to a release.

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