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Urban forestry startup grants

Urban forestry startup grants support small projects focused on initial steps in community tree care and management. A long-term goal for applicants should be development of a sustained community tree management program.

Application deadline is October 1 for projects to be completed between January 1 and December 31 of the coming year. Resolution required with application.


About urban forestry startup grants

  • Grants range from $1,000 to $5,000 and require a 50–50 match (total project cost range is $2,000 to $10,000).
  • The project sponsor must initially fund 100 percent of project costs with cash, in-kind contributions and/or donations. Upon completion, the project sponsor requests reimbursement for 50 percent of eligible costs (501[c][3] nonprofit organizations may request an advance when a grant is awarded).
  • Only one startup grant may be awarded to an applicant per year.
  • Projects begin January 1 and must be completed within one calendar year.

Who may apply

Who may apply for a startup urban forestry grant

  • Cities, villages, towns, counties, tribes and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations who meet two or more of the following conditions:
    • Starting, or recently started, a community-wide tree care program.
    • Resuming tree care and management activities that were once a regular community-wide program that ended.
    • Community tree care (planting, pruning, removal) by staff or contractors is infrequently performed.
    • Involvement and support for community trees and their care by boards/committees, elected officials, organizations and/or residents is low to non-existent.
    • There are no trained staff, contractors or volunteers authorized to handle, advise or oversee community tree care and management.
  • A maximum of three urban forestry startup grants may be awarded to an applicant within the lifetime of the startup grant program.
  • To be eligible for a third startup grant, an applicant must either: a) have an existing tree inventory; or b) use the grant process to complete one.

Eligible projects and costs

Eligible urban forestry startup grant projects and associated costs

  • Projects must relate to community tree management, maintenance or education within Wisconsin cities, villages or other areas of concentrated development.
  • Projects by 501(c)(3) organizations must focus on their community’s trees.
  • Projects may consist of no more than three of the following eight components:
    • tree planting;
    • tree pruning;
    • tree removal;
    • tree inventory;
    • insect and disease treatment;
    • staff training;
    • urban forestry management plan; and
    • information/education/outreach (may include forming a tree board, writing a tree ordinance, staff and/or volunteer training, or improving awareness of the importance of community trees and their management).
  • Eligible costs are those necessary for completing the project and incurred during the project period. Costs must be documented, reasonable and consistent with the project scope. Examples include:
    • salaries and fringe benefits of people working directly on the project;
    • cost of services, supplies, equipment or facilities used on the project; and
    • value of labor, services, supplies, equipment or facilities donated to the project by third parties.

How to apply

To apply for an urban forestry startup grant:

  • Review the urban forestry grant application guide [PDF] for more details.
  • Obtain a resolution from your governing body designating a representative to file the application and handle all grant actions on behalf of the applicant (download sample resolution [Word]).
  • Complete application form 8700-298 [PDF]. The form is electronically fillable, printable and savable.
  • 501(c)(3) organizations must include a copy of their constitution, bylaws or articles of incorporation, unless already on file with the DNR urban forestry program.

Submit your application and authorizing resolution by:

Electronic format (preferred)
  • Print - Review, edit if needed and file.
  • Save - File name should represent organization name and urban forestry grant year.
  • Submit by email - You will be given the opportunity to edit the message and provide attachments to an email addressed to
Or, mail hard copies or fax to
    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
    Urban Forestry Grants – FR/4
    PO Box 7921
    Madison WI 53707-7921
    Fax: 608-266-8576

Deadline – applications must be sent or postmarked by 11:59 p.m., October 1


Help regarding urban forestry startup grants

For more information or assistance, contact your urban forestry coordinator or email the program mailbox at

You may also want to check out our consultants page.

Last revised: Friday September 27 2019