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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Canopy

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Forest Conservation, Recycling

Mission: Canopy's mission is to grow urban tree canopy in Midpeninsula communities for the benefit of all. 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 grows, protects, and advocates for an essential community resource: urban trees. Founded in Palo Alto in 1996, today Canopy’s branches extend across the Midpeninsula. Each year, we engage thousands of local residents in tree planting and tree care, hands-on education, and grassroots environmental action. Together, we grow the urban forest and create healthy communities where people and nature thrive.

Target demographics: Midpeninsula residents of all ages.

Direct beneficiaries per year: In 2017, we planted 355 drought-tolerant trees, tended 2,535 young trees, engaged over 1,560 volunteers, and reached 1,530 kids through educational activities!

Geographic areas served: Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Mountain View, and the greater Midpeninsula 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

75 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I live in Fremont where tree ordinances haven't been enforced for years, and trees have disappeared from neighborhoods over time. Iv'e started a Tree Advocacy group this year after taking two classes offered by Canopy. They gave me inspiration to begin! I met with Michael Hawkins, who said that, even though Fremont is not in their cities of support, they would share anything that would be helpful such as printed materials and other resources. He invited our city tree dept. officials to come tour and get a programs overview , which was very helpful. Last month, Michael sent me an invitation to their Tree Stewardship two month program for their communities, despite knowing I would not be "giving back" as the other students would. I have learned so much and now have a group that is anxious to lead in a Urban Forestry program for our city. I don't think I would have been able to "launch" without the support of everyone at Canopy, especially Michael and Natalie Brubaker, the Educational Directer. It is great to know they are a phone call away and will help any way they can.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Photosynthesis,chlorophyll. Their is so much to learn about trees how they grow and the care of every limb. Natalie and her team (Mike,Katie and all speakers)are wonderful informative,passionate and fun. I will take this information to our future my kindergarten class. Canopy has a informative educational way of teaching. Learning about trees should be a way of life for everyone. They are beneficial for everyday life. Beautiful, animals,birds, bugs, creating jobs etc....
Every student in Canopy will be advocates for life. Attend a session and you will be hooked.
Thank you Canopy!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Canopy helped us plant beautiful native CA trees on our streets. The trees were healthy and tall, and already made a huge impact on our neighborhood.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Canopy gets things done! With the help of our many volunteers. we have planted, cared for and taught people about trees on the San Francisco Midpeninsula. We've planted more than 5,000 trees and we are planting more.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at a number of nonprofits over the years and have found Canopy to be exceptionally well-run and productive. Now that I am a board member, I feel this even more strongly. The staff are amazing and all are dedicated to Canopy's mission - healthy urban trees on the mid-Peninsula to benefit all citizens. Canopy stretches its resources to great effect, even with a relatively small staff. I've worked with Canopy volunteers for 11 years and find them to be wonderful and dedicated people!

Thomas P.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Expert help in choosing the right trees for our yard! Canopy volunteers did a great job planting two (2) trees. Great team, supervised by an expert. And even gave us details on how to insure successful growth. What a great service!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My city (Palo Alto) decided we need more trees in South Palo Alto and started a project to plant new trees in my neighborhood. Elise was my contact. She helped me pick a tree, decide where to plant it and then they came and planted it for me. She was so helpful and flexible. What a great organization!! I can't wait for my tree to grow and thrive. I have a special talent to neglect plants but Elise just sent out a reminder to go water my new tree. I love Canopy!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Canopy comes to my high school health class, and takes us on a nature walk around our campus. They share fun facts about the trees we walk by every day and help promote an appreciation for our environment. They also share fun facts about how nature and in particular how trees contribute to our mental health. I have them come out during the Wellness unit so kids understand how to use nature as a free and easy way to maintain a positive, healthy body and mind. We also have a volunteer requirement for our class, and many of the students works with Canopy. Wonderful organization, they always work with me to make these visits happen.

Donor

Rating: 5

Canopy does an incredible job of building community among volunteers and of empowering volunteers to improve their towns. As a volunteer tree planting leader for over five years and a regular donor, I have been consistently impressed with the work Canopy does.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a planting leader with Canopy for almost three years. They have strong partnerships with the local school districts and cities, which make them an especially successful organization. There are some exceptionally strong staff members and very committed board members.

Donor

Rating: 5

As a Canopy supporter and donor, I recently attended a Canopy-hosted tree talk given by Professor Matt Ritter. He was a wonderful speaker, and shared lots of fascinating information about oaks and other California native plants through his beautiful photos and personal stories. I think the event helped attendees gain more appreciation for our trees and plants, raised awareness about issues faced by our native flora, and also inspired attendees to help protect these precious natural resources. I also really liked the event venue. It was held at Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto, where Canopy has planted a number of trees over the years. The thriving young trees add so much to the campus, and they give us hope!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found out about Canopy not long ago, and recently participated in one of their tree planting event at a middle school and attended two of their tree walks. All of these events were very well run and organized. Canopy's staff seem very knowledgable and passionate about what they do.

I am impressed by what Canopy has done for the community in the past 20 years! I think they originally started in Palo Alto, and now is also doing good work in East Palo Alto, Redwood City and Mountain View.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer with Canopy. As a former science teacher, I can attest to the quality of Canopy’s 2nd and 5th grade tree education programs in East Palo Alto. Natalie Brubaker, the education leader, develops engaging educational programs and the kids love all the hands-on learning about trees right on their school campuses. The 5th graders are incredibly proud to participate in tree planting as well. Bravo, Canopy!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first experience with Canopy occurred after a tree planting in the school yard adjacent to my backyard where I live in East Palo Alto. I had notice that trees had been planted along the fence line between my house , my neighbors houses, and a large grass area on the school grounds. This grass area was often used as a soccer field for youth leagues. The trees in time would provide shade for the parents and family members who came to the games. My yard is located to the south side of the line of trees. I was very happy to see that in the area of my vegetable garden they had planted Strawberry Trees, a short drought tolerant tree from the Mediterranean, so I didn't have to worry about it getting tall enough to shade my garden. Talking to the persons from Canopy who came to care for the trees I found out they had selected the shorter tree to plant along my fence line because they had noticed my vegetable garden. This level of caring from Canopy led me to volunteer for a tree planting in my neighborhood and from there to become a planting leader.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My neighborhood (Greenmeadow) worked with Canopy to plant 30 trees in front and back yards. I’d liken our tree planting day to an old-fashioned barn raising—neighbors coming together to help each other do something they can’t easily do alone. It’s a wonderful community builder. Elise (with Canopy) is a well—organized and energetic leader/partner who taught us how to properly plant trees for best results. We all learned a lot and enjoyed sharing the tasks of planting and breaking bread together afterward.

The promise of growing beautiful trees, the comfort of shade, and a richer environment for birds and other wildlife made this a fun experience. We now have 30 daily reminders of our happy day planting together.

We are excitedly watching our new trees take root and flourish...AND we are planning another planting in collaboration with Canopy this fall!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful organization that is doing great work for the community. The tree walks lead by Natalie and Elise were really appreciated by my high school and middle school students. The students were left with a renewed appreciation for the natural environment around them. Thank you Natalie and Elise!

srh813

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The tree walks are wonderful! I've done almost all of them, some more than once.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In the past few years, I have been volunteering for a variety of environmental non-profits in the Palo Alto area. I've really enjoyed volunteering for Canopy for the last couple of years. I'm impressed by the knowledge and friendliness of all of the staff members I've worked beside. I've had the opportunity to get training in tree planting and tree care, so I'm now a planting leader. I volunteer to participate in most of their events including tree plantings, tree care, and young tree surveys. Since Canopy relies heavily on volunteers, they are always so appreciative of the help they receive. I've learned so much about trees since beginning my association with Canopy. It's my current favorite volunteer opportunity!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had a great experience with Canopy on April 21st through a parent-son service organization that I belong to, called Mountain View-Los Altos Service League of Boys (SLOBs). Canopy was doing a tree planting and native plant installation project at Graham Middle School in Mountain View. Canopy's staff was delightful to work with, and the event was very meaningful and satisfying. Nothing like getting your hands dirty to provide more trees and native plants to the Graham students and nearby residents. We even installed sign posts along Castro Street so that passersby can learn more about the different plant species and how they benefit our environment. Thank you Canopy!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the most wonderful experience on MLK day. I went with two other friends. There were +170 people and it was super organized, you could help by doing several things and any activity you switched to there was someone to help you. Folks were super friendly. I just had so much fun and had a bit of a workout! I will volunteer with Canopy in the future!

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!"