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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Canopy

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Forest Conservation, Recycling

Mission: Canopy plants and cares for trees where people need them the most. We bring the life-giving benefits of trees to the schools, neighborhoods, and public spaces of the San Francisco Mid-Peninsula. Our vision is a day when every resident of the Mid-Peninsula can walk, play, and in all ways thrive under the shade of healthy trees. Together, we can bring this vision to life!

Results: Canopy has planted thousands of trees in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and Mountain View. We have a 96% survival rate for newly planted trees. We've also reached hundreds of school kids with our education programs, helping them learn about the environment. We engage hundreds of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds in our tree planting and tree care. Canopy also advocated for our urban forest with local and state governments.

Target demographics: Mid-Peninsula residents of all ages.

Direct beneficiaries per year: In 2015, we planted 269 drought-tolerant trees, tended 1,716 young trees, engaged over 1,269 volunteers, and reached 1,183 kids through educational activities!

Geographic areas served: Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, and the greater Mid-Peninsula area.

Programs: Tree Plantings; Tree Care; Tree Walks; Education and Outreach; Right Tree in the Right Place; Teen Urban Forester Internships; Community Outreach; Advocacy.

Community Stories

59 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My sons fondly remember planting trees at a Canopy Martin Luther King Jr. Day event and hope to participate in another event soon. They got to help with the whole tree-planting process, from digging the holes to admiring the new trees. Canopy is so right that growing greener communities and empowering youth go hand in hand. Thanks to Canopy for all its wonderful work!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Have you ever paid attention to how differently you feel when you are standing in a wide open, heat radiating, gray and barren paved area or in a park with grass under your feet and lofty, verdant trees providing cooling shade and whispering leaves? Luckily for our community, Canopy not only thinks about this difference, it takes action to grow our urban forest.

I had the good fortune to be able to help with Canopy's landscaping project at Graham Middle School in Mountain View. I was so impressed with how well organized the project was—there were plants, tools, people, and activities to coordinate. Canopy staff and lead volunteers were knowledgeable, kind, and efficient. Also, I was delighted to see that Canopy is developing young leaders among its volunteers. I drive past Graham several times a week and every time I do, I admire the beautiful landscaping and think of Canopy. As the trees we planted grow and mature, so will my thanks to Canopy for its transformative effect on our neighborhood.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I helped Canopy raise money for their recent capital campaign. I was able to see up close that Canopy is an incredibly well run nonprofit. Both board and staff are passionate about their mission of planting and caring for trees and educating youth about the benefits of trees and tree care. Everyone I met was extremely competent, friendly, and willing to go outside his or her comfort zone to raise the money that would move their worthy cause forward. Their results are palpable - more and more trees planted and cared for every year. They are fabulous stewards of the urban forest.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a local teacher, I have partnered with Canopy for several years to offer the Walter Hays Elementary School 4th graders an "interactive field lesson" at El Palo Alto Park. The students spend the morning learning the history and science of our namesake tree, as well as learning about the local ecosystem that supports it. Canopy provides the students with experiences in measuring the height, diameter, and circumference of on-site trees, including the famous El Palo Alto. The students learn a lot about our "living California landmark" and how it has stood the test of time. The students are always fully engaged and very enthusiastic about the lessons. They think it is so "cool" to learn about "our tree!"

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Canopy has done a wonder job of serving the Peninsula communities that need trees. They mobilize and organize volunteers and the job gets done! They advocate planting the right tree in the right place and they have a great tree survival rate. In today's world of rapidly expanding urban sprawl, we need organizations like Canopy to ensure that we have the benefits of a tree canopy!

Donor

Rating: 5

All of the Canopy events that I’ve attended over the years have been top notch, and the Canopy staff have been a joy to work with.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Canopy is also providing wellness campus tree walks to help hundreds of local high school students to de-stress. On these campus tree walks, Canopy education staff teach students about local tree species and trees' many benefits for our physical and mental health. More importantly, they discuss the important connection between nature and wellness, and how spending time in nature can help relieve stress and improve concentration. At the end of the walk, students feel relaxed and recharged, and have re-learned a simple but often overlooked method to take care of themselves. Keep up the great work, Canopy! More stressed out high school students can benefit from this program.

Sally78

Board Member

Rating: 5

Canopy brings trees to people where trees are needed the most. Canopy has done so for 20 years and now is expanding its services to more communities. Canopy fills an urgently needed role for citizen welfare and parity in our local communities where building and new construction are proceeding at a rapid pace.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

Canopy is spreading its branches and starting its fall tree planting campaign. It is a great organization for learning about trees and meeting new people!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I greatly value the work Canopy does to educate youth about the importance of planting and caring for trees.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Canopy is dedicated to planting and caring for trees, making our region a healthy and beautiful place to live, work and play. In addition to delivering on this core mission, Canopy does a wonderful job building community through its hands-on volunteer events and engaging educational programs - such as monthly neighborhood Tree Walks. The staff members are bright, caring and highly effective at what they do.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Canopy is a well respected tree planting, tree care and environmental education organization. Great staff and work for our communities.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We would love for Canopy of Palo Alto to be recognized. The organization is amazing in its efforts to: bring volunteers together, encourage people to do service work, beautify the community and help the environment. I work for the City of Palo Alto in a Community Center that was built in the 60s and has yet to benefit from any type of remodel. It is heavily used and the wear and tear really shows. However, we have been lucky enough to be the recipient of Canopy’s good work. For three years now, Canopy has organized a day where they bring 100 + volunteers to our center and work: digging, weeding, planting and laying mulch. It is the most amazing sight, not just the beautiful outcome but also seeing families working so hard together side by side. I am amazed at their staff’s hard work , not just on the work day but also all the prep up until the day and all the followup making sure our trees and plants are thriving. It really makes a huge difference around here and we are so grateful for their work.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am happy to be a donor to Canopy. You do excellent work and set a high standard for other urban forestry organizations in the state.

Chris P.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

They do great stuff! Love the work with teens and the photography contest, as well as the "book" focused tours with the library.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Elise took our girls scout brownies for a tree walk around the neighborhood. It was a really educational and fun event for all of us including the chaperone parents!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Elise from canopy.org led our 3rd grade Brownie troop and chaperone moms on a one-hour walking tour of the neighborhood around our elementary school. She pointed out ~12 different trees, encouraged the girls to touch the bark and to collect leaves and fallen flowers and to share their observations. She talked about native trees vs. imports and how/why their bark, trunks, branches, leaves/needles and fruits/seeds were different and how the trees have adapted to our climate. It was incredibly educational and because the girls were encouraged to collect their own samples and share their own thoughts, it was highly interactive and therefore, I believe, more meaningful. Thank you.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thank you Elise for a highly educational and engaging tree tour of our neighborhood for our first Brownie meeting of the year.

Volunteer

Rating: 2

Good cause, but I didn't have a good experience. I thought it would be a good idea to volunteer on Veteran's Day and help plant trees at the hospital. I wish I could get my time back. The tree planting leaders were unorganized and certain ones were rude and belittling. I felt continuously judged about every little thing: how to take the dirt off the roots, how to hold the tree straight, etc. Then after you plant the tree the leaders pick over your work. It just wasn't a good experience for me. I hope they treat future volunteers better.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Canopy is a wonderful organization with a focused and thoughtful mission, providing service and education in both affluent and challenged communities, and offering opportunities for youth internships and local volunteers. Everything starts with the great people who staff and guide Canopy. This organization is a true gem for the SF Peninsula!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Canopy and donated to Canopy for the past four years. They are a small team of dedicated, passionate, skilled employees who leverage their fantastic board and volunteers to make a big difference. They serve the community in so many ways--not just planting, not just educating, not just pruning and mulching, not just advocacy-- their full perspective on the urban forest make them a very effective organization.
Also, I really admire how they give jobs and job training to East Palo Alto teens. It makes the organization more effective in East Palo Alto and makes a huge difference for the teens who are part of the program.