"Plant more, protect more, maintain better and engage the community." - The City of London Urban Forest Strategy
Integrating the visions and efforts of London residents and the City Council, the treeME - Neighbourhood Tree Matching Fund (treeME) helps to build and strengthen London neighbourhoods and improve the quality of life for everyone. With the support of treeME, neighbourhood groups can initiate, manage and implement tree planting projects on private land that can help ensure a sustainable urban forest.
Why do we need more trees?
London’s urban forest provides many environmental, social and economic benefits and services to our communities such as the following:
- shade and cooling
- cleans and slows down water run off
- connects children with nature
- assists in carbon storage
- provides a sense of community
- increases property values
- enables energy savings
- encourages outdoor activity
- reduces air pollution
- provides habitat and greater biodiversity
The City of London’s Urban Forest Strategy four guiding principles are the cornerstone to building a sustainable, healthy and diverse urban forest for today and future generations:
- Plant More! Enhance and grow the urban forest canopy cover. Strategic planning can maximize trees benefits and increase biodiversity. It will also contribute to London’s goal of reaching 34% tree canopy cover by 2065.
- Protect More! Protect trees on both public and private property where they are providing benefits or supporting the integrity of natural features. The trees that will provide the most services 40 years from now are already in the ground.
- Maintain Better! Proper care and routine maintenance will ensure that trees stay healthy ensuring that they reach their mature size while decreasing overall maintenance costs.
- Engage the Community! Approximately 90% of all tree planting opportunities in the city of London are on private lands. Communities that are passionate about tree planting can have a significant impact on the growth of the urban forest. The community can often leverage resources that are not available to City Administration.
What types of projects will be funded?
Tree planting must occur on “private property”. This program will NOT fund trees planted on public, municipally owned property. The City has other programs and partners who plant on public lands.
For the purpose of this program “private property” is defined as:
"Private residential or commercial property and any property not directly owned by the City or any of its Agencies, such as Libraries or Community Centers or parks."
Allowable Funding Expenses:
- Trees and tree planting materials such as mulch, stakes, and soil
- Not-for-profit organizations awarded grants over $5,000 can request up to 30% of the total project cost for project management*, with a minimum planting of 15 trees.
*Project management includes staff wages associated with the planning, implementation, and operation of the funded project. These costs must be specifically identified in the project proposal.
$200,000 is available in treeME funding to be allocated to successful applicants, with a maximum allocation of $50,000 per project.
- Provide a completed application that clearly outlines their matching effort
- Describe how the project will support the following City of London strategies:
- Urban Forest Strategy
- Tree Planting Strategy
- Be originated, planned and put into action by the neighbours, community organizations or businesses who will be affected by the project
- Use funds to support items that were approved in the application.
- Provide a site plan showing structures such as buildings, other elements (such as hydro lines, driveways, sidewalks), property lines, proposed planting boundaries and proposed planting locations.
- Plant trees according to the City of London Tree Planting Standards.
- Plant all trees by Nov 1, 2022 and all required documentation submitted by the end of the year.
What are matching funds?
Applicants must match 25% of the total requested amount per project through: a combination of volunteer labour; donated services; donated materials and supplies; and other funds raised. For example, if a group applies for $5,000, their match contribution will be $1,250 in value. Money and resources from other City of London departments, funds and services can be listed but not counted as part of the group’s match.
How are matched contributions valued?
There are four types of contributions that applicants can present to match the ‘treeME - Neighbourhood Tree Fund’ contribution. They include cash, volunteer labour, donated professional services and donated materials and supplies. Applicants are encouraged to use the potential volunteer labour fund contribution to leverage other contributions. The specific rules governing each type are as follows:
- Volunteer Labour: Individuals can contribute time to a project in many ways, including: serving on project committees; implementing action steps from the workplan; attending community meetings; leading the group, etc. Volunteer labour is valued at $20 per hour. Volunteer time spent on planning, fundraising, design and organizing will be calculated commencing on the application approval date.
- Donated Professional Services: Donated professional services must be relevant to the project and proportionate to its needs. Examples include landscape architect, arborist, ecologist etc. Donors must document the hourly value of their professional services on their letterhead. Services are valued at their customary rates, up to a maximum of $75 per hour. An individual or business that will be compensated for any project-related work cannot also pledge their time as a volunteer nor donate other goods or services to the project.
- Donated Materials and Supplies: All donated materials and supplies (soil, tools, etc.) are valued at their retail prices. Borrowed equipment can also be considered as part of the match, valued at the standard rental fee. Donors of the materials and supplies must provide documentation on their letterhead of the value of the match.
- Cash Donations: Cash donations can be secured from fundraising events, individuals, foundations, businesses and the community.
Who can apply?
- Community groups/organization / associations with a registered not-for-profit number. Groups such as; places of worship, not-for-profit organizations, community and neighbourhood associations, Co-operative housing, schools etc.
- Business Associations with projects located on private land will have a community benefit such as providing shade to public sidewalks, planting trees in locations with a high percentage of impervious cover (ie: asphalt, concrete etc.), planting trees in locations with low canopy cover and/or industrial areas, decreasing the heat island effect. These trees cannot be used to satisfy requirements for landscaping.
- Neighbourhood residents compiled of individuals or a combination of households:Trees shall be planted on private land. Trees should be at least 5 gallon in size and tall growing shade and native tree types. If awarded payment will be allocated through reimbursement to the residents with submitted receipts.
- Neighbourhood based groups without a registered not-for-profit or charitable number: Applicants seeking more than $3,000 partner with a community organization with a registered not-for-profit number, which can be funded in advance of purchases.
- Businesses with a registered business number. Private businesses that have planting projects located on private land that will have a community benefit such as providing shade to public sidewalks, planting trees in locations with a high percentage of impervious cover, planting trees in locations with low canopy cover and/or industrial areas, decreasing the heat island effect. Funding awarded on behalf of this grant cannot be used to implement landscaping and/or tree requirements for any City of London development applications or permits on the land or adjacent sites.
- Government agencies, political groups, district councils, and hospitals.
- Organizations, businesses or residents outside the City of London limits.
- Applicants who have received City of London funding prior to 2021 and have not submitted a final report and budget.
How will applications be evaluated?
Each application will be evaluated based on a number of key criteria, including the following:
- Clearly articulates the outcomes that are expected from the project.
- Outcomes should align with the City of London Urban Forest and/or Tree Planting strategies.
Does the tree planting project:
- Enhance the urban forest canopy? Improve species diversity? Focus on native species?
- Encourage residents to protect, maintain and monitor the health of planted trees?
- Involve and empower members of the neighbourhood/organization including those with differing physical abilities and socio-economic status?
- Provide tangible benefits to the neighbourhood, such as create a new green space to gather or provide shade to sidewalks and/or parking lots.
- Have an organized budget that clearly outlines the neighbourhood/organization match appropriate to the funding request?
- Adhere to tree planting best practices such as “Right Tree! Right Location”?
- Neighbourhood letters of support for the project
A City of London Review Committee will review all applications against a set of feasibility criteria, related to City of London by-laws, policies and legislative or contractual guidelines and procedures.
This review committee will be comprised of employees from the following service areas:
- Parks & Forestry
- Environmental Programs
- Neighbourhood, Children and Fire Services
- Other relevant Subject Matter Experts, as deemed necessary for the feasibility review process
Upon final approval, applicants will be notified by email of the status of their project.
Community organizations and business applicants: Successful applicants will be issued a Grant Agreement in order to receive funds. Upon receipt of the signed Grant Agreement, funds will be allocated by the City of London to the applicant.
What are the reporting requirements?
All treeME - Neighbourhood Tree Matching Fund recipients must submit a final report describing the project outcomes and successes and a detailed budget verifying the project expenses. Successful applicants are asked to submit stories and photos of their project activities and register trees planted on the Million Tree Challenge website www.milliontrees.ca.