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Branching Out

Tree planting

A nationally-recognized community grant program to plant trees and improve energy efficiency in Iowa

Through Branching Out, your community can work together with Alliant Energy and Trees Forever to fund and implement tree-planting projects.

Celebrating more than two decades of plantings, Branching Out encourages energy efficiency, environmental awareness, and community stewardship in Iowa.

The benefits of trees are many!

  • Planting trees provides more shade and cools the air, helping to lower energy costs and reduce peak electric demand.
  • The trees planted represent an energy savings of over 14 million kilowatt-hours (kWh). That’s the equivalent of removing 7,800 vehicles from Iowa roads each year.
  • Branching Out also helps diversify the tree population, which limits the negative impacts of pests like the Emerald Ash Borer. A diverse urban forest is the best way to ensure resiliency when faced with tree diseases and pests.
Trees make a community beautiful. Apply for a Branching Out grant today!


Branching Out is offered exclusively to Iowa communities where Alliant Energy provides electric and/or natural gas service. The utility provides grants of $1000 to $10,000 for community-based, tree-planting projects - like parks, gateways, cemeteries, nature trails, libraries, nursing homes, schools and more. Trees Forever administers and facilitates the program, providing educational and planning support.

How to apply

To apply for a Branching Out grant, complete an application form and submit a site plan and proposal letter that addresses ten key areas (see proposal letter guidelines on the application). The process is competitive and preference is given to applicants that meet all guidelines.

Grant cycle and deadlines

Grants are awarded two times per year, to coincide with the spring and fall planting seasons. Proposal letters and applications are accepted on an ongoing basis throughout the year, but are considered only in the next grant-making cycle (spring or fall). Your community may apply and receive funding for multiple projects in a single grant cycle.

Grant CycleRequest DeadlineGrants AnnouncedFunding Awarded
SpringNovember 1January 15March 1-31
FallJune 1August 15September 1-30

811-Dig-CMYK.jpgSend completed applications, proposal letters and site plans to:

Trees Forever
c/o Branching Out
770 7th Avenue
Marion, Iowa 52302

The Trees Forever staff is available to help you complete applications, develop a planting project, and plan a planting event. If you have questions, please call 1-800-369-1269, ext. 110.

Apply today! We look forward to working with you. Together, we can make Iowa communities more beautiful and energy efficient.

Comments from across the state

Branching Out has received national recognition for its success in promoting urban and rural tree planting. The program has been honored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the National Arbor Day Foundation, Renew America and the National Awards Council for Environmental Sustainability.

Since the start of the Branching Out program in 1989, more than 1.4 million trees and seedlings have been planted as part of more than 2,400 Iowa projects by a volunteer force exceeding 125,000 people.

Here is what a few community leaders in Iowa have to say about Branching Out.


“Trees forever has for years, partnered with the City of Clinton in our projects which have enhanced our way of life in one way or another. Thanks to Trees Forever and Alliant Energy for doing what you do best, making Clinton more beautiful.”

- LaMetta K. Wynn, Mayor, City of Clinton


“On behalf of the directors of the Dyersville Trees Forever Committee, I would like to thank Alliant Energy for the grant we have received. Many trees will be planted in our community, thanks to your generosity."

- David A. Clemen, Dyersville Trees Forever Committee


“Thank you for the grant award and we look forward to continuing working with Trees Forever and Alliant Energy in the near future.”

- Jean Negly, Chairperson, Clarinda Trees Forever Committee.

A word from Alliant Energy and Trees Forever

“By increasing the diversity of the tree populations in Iowa, we’re helping make sure the investment in these natural energy efficiency tools lasts a long time. Energy efficiency is important to us and we believe our investment in tree planting and education will help our customers and communities.”

- Doug Kopp, President of Alliant Energy's Iowa utility

“Every Branching Out project focuses on long-term tree care with a special emphasis on energy efficiency and conservation. We are pleased to continue a long-term partnership with Alliant Energy in a combined effort to educate Iowans on the importance of trees, and improve our environment one community at a time.”

- Shannon Ramsay, president and CEO of Trees Forever