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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Friends of the Urban Forest

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Botanical, Horticultural & Landscape Services, Environment, Environmental Beautification

Mission: To promote a larger, healthier urban forest, as part of the urban ecosystem, through community plantings, maintenance, education, and advocacy.

Programs: Friends of the Urban Forest helps individuals and neighborhood groups plant and care for street trees and sidewalk gardens in San Francisco. This "green infrastructure" improves the city by beautifying neighborhoods, cleaning the air, raising property values and reducing polluted stormwater runoff. Since 1981, FUF has planted more than 48,000 trees, totaling 43% of the city's street tree canopy. Our program areas include planting, tree care, community engagement, training, and advocacy.

Community Stories

70 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

anoosh

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Trees planted and maintained by Friends of the Urban Forest have improved the streets in my neighborhood and across the city. Their wonderful email reports on what's blooming in our city and ways to support wildlife are a welcome injection of positivity in my inbox (and my life). Thank you FUF!

Paul S.5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Friends of the Urban Forest is just the greatest non-profit to be a part of. I volunteer with them 2 to 3 times a year, and always have a wonderful time planting or pruning, the staff take the time to make sure that all of the volunteers understand all of the how's and why's of the projects, and they will give you as much work as you want or can handle. Overall, fuf is a win-win situation for all. The environment gets more trees which beautify our city and of course there's the oxygen thing, and you get a great sense of accomplishment, and everytime you walk down that street, you can see the growth of the tree you helped to plant. And there is a lot to learn from the staff, and there's coffee!

Nicole L.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

An awesome nonprofit group aimed to improve tree diversity in urban environments. The volunteers are amazing and enthusiastic workers and the team leads are passionate and knowledgeable environmentalists.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Friends of the Urban Forest is tirelessly dedicated to planting street trees in San Francisco (over 50,000 so far) and taking care of those trees for the first 5 years. Now partnering with the San Francisco city government. Brings in many local business organizations for specific projects and for general volunteering. Also sponsors removing concrete from sidewalks and replacing it with sidewalk gardens, where there is room. There are no frills in this organization, the office is efficient and businesslike, the staff is fairly paid but no more. The money donated goes to the right place, that is, to the end result of street trees.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I used to work for them. They were great about getting the community involved and fostering relationships with the interns and volunteers. I was not as knowledgeable before walking in those doors but now I can see why they are a valuable asset to San Francisco. I hope they continue to grow and stay with us for many years to come.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Friends of the Urban Forest in San Francisco does a remarkable job beautifying our treeless streets and avenues, transforming them into the glory of tree canopies. And they are a great educational resource! TREES may well be the saviors of our planet, and Friends of the Urban Forest is making sure that our city it taking part in this effort.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have lived in the city for 40 years and have been both a volunteer(more than a handful)and a recipient(more than several)of this wonderful group and the service they provide to beautify our city. In both a scheduled neighborhood drive and specific installations Friends of the Urban Forest always fulfils. They even come out and repair when a car has smashed the tree sideways! thank you Friends of the Urban Forest!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working with FUF has reinvigorated a love for this city. I feel better about San Francisco, my community, and myself every time I volunteer with them. Plus, it’s easy to bring friends along and they love it so much that they come back!

Jake K.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love how they engage the SF community with nature. They are making the city more beautiful, addressing climate change, and helping local ecosystems thrive all at once. Thank you for your work!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

FUF is a 40-year-old San Francisco non-profit that has encouraged citizens to beautify barren city streets with climate-friendly trees. My own house benefited from six saplings twenty years ago that are now six 30-foot tall trees. Despite the challenges of keeping a non-profit going through a couple of recessions, FUF thrives because of the citizen support it has maintained and the energetic, dedicated staff it has attracted.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve volunteered with FUF for several years to improve the city’s tree canopy, which is one of the worst in the urban areas in country. Greening is so critical as our climate warms, with the horrific effects increasing yearly. Volunteers work tirelessly—and joyfully—to better the city and the world.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

FUF helped us to plant a tree outside our house in 1999. It was a skinny little thing then, now it is a beauty (see photo). I think FUF is a fantastic organisation and really makes a difference in terms of greening the city, but also educating people about the importance of having trees and looking after them and importantly bringing people together. Bravo FUF, long may you continue!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Friends of the Urban Forest totally transformed out street from a somewhat barren urban hardscape to a calming and beautiful landscaped street. They were able to coordinate with required sidewalk improvements and leverage city grants to reduce storm water drainage volumes to overloaded downhill systems to go above and beyond in providing opportunities not just for new street trees but also surrounding sidewalk gardens as well. They have proven themselves dynamic and savvy in ways that benefit both their primary objective and the neighborhoods in which they operate. And we notice that their expertise in picking the perfect little native tree for under the low power lines (California lilac) has now been noticed and replicated by homeowners other places in the neighborhood.

Minnie I.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had a wonderful experience at our neighborhood tree planting organized by FUF! I didn't realize how easy it could be to get a tree in front of my house. FUF made it incredibly easy and because it was a neighborhood event, I got to meet more of my neighbors and the whole area looks so much better and greener!

Comments ( 1 )

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bencarlson 09/04/2018

Minnie, thank you for the nice review. We're glad you had such a good experience with greening your neighborhood. Please join us any time to plant more trees throughout San Francisco!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This group has been in SF for I believe 30+ years and is not only responsible for beautifying and planting many of the trees in SF, but the way the plantings are organized many goals are achieved at one time: community volunteers and neighbors, working with a well trained staff pitch in to do the plantings, youth do plantings, as well as through a youth program they get valuable training in pruning, etc, and learn arborist skills. There is a potluck after each planting that brings community together. The website is so well organized and it is easy to volunteer, the calendar of events is clear. The tree care support and follow up shows they really care about their mission to green SF streets. I was very impressed with the planning meeting and the breadth of knowledge the group has about trees, specifically, the planners know which trees grow better in which areas of the city. A great non profit that benefits the community on many levels: greening the city, creating community bonds, training youth and employing young people. They are very efficient in the way they go about the tree plantings. They also reach out to corporations and students or others who need to meet community service requirements. It is a fun and productive way to spend a 1/2 day, and FUF really cares about SF and it's citizens!

Comments ( 1 )

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bencarlson 09/04/2018

Thank you for this great review!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Terrific non-profit. Has helped to transform the streets of SF with its tree planting program. Easy to work with the FUF team when organizing volunteer events. I've served as both a volunteer and a client served.

Comments ( 1 )

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bencarlson 09/04/2018

Thanks for the nice review, and for volunteering with us, and for getting a tree to make your neighborhood greener!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is a fantastic, effective, knowledgeable and hard working group...that spends its money only on trees and planting trees for everyone to enjoy.

It has little overhead...no fancy parties, no 'fundraiser balls'...and it is modest and honest. It's goals are worthy...and the results of its work can be seen every day all around SAN FRANCISCO. It's worthy of great and continuous support.

FUF has improved SAN FRANCISCO streets for the last thirty years. It plants the most beautiful trees...a variety of trees..that thrive outside schools and on forlorn streets and on busy streets and neglected areas and historic neighborhoods. I admire and support FRIENDS OF THE URBAN FOREST. BEST--DIANE DORRANS SAEKS

Comments ( 1 )

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bencarlson 09/04/2018

Thank you very much Diane!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering for FUF when I was new to San Francisco. My front yard was cement and needed some life! I signed up to plant a tree and have since helped others plant front yard trees. FUF helps beautify the city, clean the air, improve your mood with increased green space, and increase habitat for birds and bees. These people are dedicated to increasing the Urban greenscape and we all benefit!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love FUF!! I have had two trees planted in my front yard and also had cement removed and a new front yard planted! I became my block captain; I didn't succeed the first go around to get 5 households to plant but I did the second time! After one tree died, FUF agreed to replace my tree! This is a great organization and wonderful people who work there! 5 stars for sure! You all rock!

Donor

Rating: 5

I walk around many neighborhoods in the city of San Francisco and just about everywhere I walk, I see the results of my donation: trees planted in sidewalks. And, I find the newsletter very helpful in telling me about watering to maintain existing trees, weeds that should be pulled, how to get services, and other interesting topics. The newsletter is just right, not too long or too short so I read all of it. They also respond quickly to email inquiries such as my question about the gravel around the base of the new trees planted in the widened sidewalks in the Castro. The assured me the dense gravel was permeable.