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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Friends of Trees

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Environmental Beautification, Forest Conservation

Mission: Friends of Trees inspires people to improve the natural world around them through a simple solution: Planting trees. Together.

Results: 800,000+ trees and native shrubs planted since 1989!

Target demographics: inspire people to improve the natural world around them through a simple solution: Planting trees. Together.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 7,500 people make a difference through volunteering to plant and care for trees.

Geographic areas served: Western Oregon and Southwest Washington

Programs: NEIGHBORHOOD TREE PLANTINGS Get a tree of your very own! We organize the planting event, deliver the trees, dig the holes, and make it affordable for all homeowners. Street and yard trees are just $35 each, and if affordability is a barrier the tree is no cost thanks to our donation-funded tree scholarship fund. We offer an incredible selection of city-approved trees, sourced from almost a dozen local wholesale tree farms. You’ll receive an 6-foot tall tree, delivery, hole digging, planting assistance from neighborhood volunteers, mulch, stakes, and follow-up maintenance checks and tree care tips. Tree planting volunteers simply sign up, show up dressed for the weather, and get to know the neighbors while greening the neighborhood and enjoying a potluck lunch afterward. We plant neighborhood trees in Portland, Gresham, Milwaukie, Oregon City, Salem, Eugene and Springfield in Oregon, and in Vancouver and Clark County, Washington. If a planting is scheduled in your neighborhood, you can sign up to see a list of street trees or trees for your yard. You’re never obligated to reserve or plant any trees, signing up just makes it possible for us to send you a list of recommended trees and help you get started when you’re ready. GREEN SPACE RESTORATION From the edge of the Columbia Gorge to the farmlands of Washington County, and up and down the Willamette Valley, our Green Space Program restores natural areas, increases habitat, improves watershed health, and plants trees in large quantities (about 1,000-2,000 native trees and shrubs per planting!). When mature, these trees will create significant improvements to our region’s air and water quality. Our Green Space Program hosts more than 70 events annually in 12+ cities. We enjoy partnerships with a variety of groups and municipalities, including Clean Water Services, Metro, East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, Sandy River Basin Watershed Council, USDA Forest Service, City of Salem, and many more. Volunteering for a Green Space planting is a great way to explore some of our region’s natural areas while contributing to watershed health and habitat restoration. It’s also a great opportunity for groups to volunteer together. Interested? Check out the Green Space Planting Calendar (Green Space plantings are in green) and then visit our Group Registration Form. See you out there! TREE CARE & MAINTENANCE We water. We prune. We mulch. We visit and assess. We want all of our trees to survive and thrive, so we spend the summer months caring for the trees we plant. Did we mention we prune? Last season we pruned more than 1,500 street trees, which is vital toward proper growth and really helps them survive wind, snow and ice storms. Volunteers help with this! We train volunteers to inspect and prune trees, and volunteers are crucial to effectively mulching thousands of new trees at tree care events. All told, we care for and monitor more than 54,000 trees a year! We visit our newly planted neighborhood street trees twice during their first summers, and we monitor our natural area trees for 10 years. ENGAGING COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERS We bring people together. Inspiring our community members to plant, care for, and learn about trees is key to our mission. We welcome individuals, families, and businesses throughout western Oregon and SW Washington to help restore and beautify our region. Volunteering for a Saturday morning tree-planting is a great way to give back to the community and make a difference in a few short hours! Groups of all sizes are welcome (companies, schools, churches, birthday parties, scouts, etc). Friends of Trees recognizes that not everyone has equal access to the benefits of trees. As we work to remedy that, we strive to be a welcoming and safe place for everyone, regardless of age, ability, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, political views, or economic status. Without our volunteers, we are nothing. But together, we do amazing things. We are always looking for more people to get involved with this work! Please visit our Volunteer Page for the most up-to-date volunteer opportunities. We hope to meet you soon!

Community Stories

24 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Ruth55

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We love planting trees with FOT. Rain or shine, we believe every neighborhood deserves baby trees.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Friends of Trees in Portland, Oregon engages adult community members and youth in their own neighborhoods, trains them to train leaders in other neighborhoods, facilitates planting of street trees, and does other valuable restoration work in the metropolitan area.

This is cost effective for the city, reduces storm water, reduces homeowner cooling costs, and has spillover effects through ongoing civic engagement of community members in other areas.

FOT also sponsors, organizes and otherwise supports educational events and speakers on related topics.

It's amazing how something as simple as planting trees has so many economic and social benefits. Top 5 best non-profits in the city for sure.

Kristin14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for Friends of Trees since 2006, first as a Crew Leader helping teams of other volunteers plant street trees in our neighborhoods, then as a Neighborhood Coordinator, planning my own neighborhood's annual tree planting. I keep coming back because the work feels so beneficial--to have more trees in our urban environment. But mostly I keep coming back because Friends of Trees makes volunteering so enjoyable--the staff sets a fun, upbeat, lively tone to every event. We get important work done AND we have fun doing it, which makes continuing the work easy.

Review from Guidestar

Linda71

Client Served

Rating: 5

I bought two (very reasonably priced) trees from FOT for my parking strip. This involved some special steps, and the organization helped me all along the way to get them done! FOT arrived on time on the day designated and planted my trees. I volunteered afterward in the kitchen at the site where volunteers met for lunch. I met some great neighbors I didn't even know I had. My trees are blooming now. It was a great experiene over all!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wow! Adding green to my neighborhood and condo complex was easy with Friends of Trees! A true grass roots organization helping to add nature back to the city. They make it affordable so that everyone can enjoy some more nature, more wildlife and better air.

Jeff C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

First I ordered trees for my own house and helped plant them along with neighbors. Then I became a crew leader on plantings. Now I'm a neighborhood coordinator and it's been rewarding every step of the way. Friends of Trees (FOT) builds community is many ways, not only in improving the canopy of trees along our streets, but connecting neighbors and volunteers with their own places of living.
You can't plant a tree and not think about them a little differently afterwards. The hands on aspect is key.
FOT's mission is growing, and keeping up with that is the biggest challenge of all.

Conan H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering for Friends of Trees around 15 years ago, but I have had such a positive experience that I keep coming back every year! They are always well organized, positive and dedicated to increasing the tree canopy in the greater Portland metropolitan region. They are constantly challenging themselves to improve their processes and they also work hard to connect with all of the communities in the region. Thanks to Friends of Trees, the Portland/Vancouver area is gaining tree cover instead of losing it! I will be back for as long as they keep it going!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a crew leader for the Neighborhood Trees program. This means I spend four or five Saturdays planting about a dozen trees. This experience never fails to make me happy. You would think the focus would be on the trees, greening the city and reducing global warming. But actually, the best part is getting to know the folks I am planting with, finding out why they decided to volunteer and what their life is about. Portland, Oregon is a big city, but this is the greatest way I have found to find new connections with others. I love to see neighbors who didn't know each other, become friends by the end of the planting. Then we go back to where we started and have a great lunch, prepared by other volunteers. In the end, the trees get in the ground, and everyone is excited to watch how they grow.

Michelle W.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I really love what Friends of Trees does. I gave my brother a gift tree for Christmas this year and I enjoy all the wonderful trees all over Portland that Friends of Trees and their hard working volunteers have planted. Having more trees makes my bike ride along the I-5 multi-use path so much more enjoyable, and my neighborhood has trees filling in dead space, with the Friends of Trees tags fluttering in the wind! They are a great, hard working bunch, thank you Friends of Trees, thank you for making my air more breathable and our communities more beautiful.

Linda R.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've been involved with Friends of Trees, off and on, since its founding in 1989. I still volunteer once or twice a year, despite my advancing age and physical limitations. I'm always impressed with how well organized the planting events are. Planting of trees is the most visible benefit of their work, but the bringing together of people in the neighborhood is even more important.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I couldn't wait to request that Friends of Trees plant a tree in my yard. I loved the idea that there is a group who would do that. As I was welcomed into the process, I found out that I myself, and my neighbors, are that group! When you connect with F.O.T you become part of something larger: a community effort where you meet new friends and neighbors, enjoy part of the day working outside in the fresh air. There is a wonderful satisfaction in having joined together to plant hundreds of trees.

Friends of Trees staff are friendly, capable stewards who are passionate about planting trees in Portland neighborhoods. As soon as I made my inquiry, my local representative connected me with the beautiful F.O.T. website, where I learned about many new varieties of trees, and easily select the one I wanted. The price was extremely reasonable.
F.O.T. communicated the timeline clearly, giving me lots of notice to reserve that day for volunteering. They gave clear instructions on where and when to meet, and which task I was requested to volunteer with. I saw that they could use snacks, so I was happy to contribute.

I was really struck by the overall spirit of cooperation fostered by this amazing organization. I see new trees frequently in my area and they dramatically improve the quality of the area.

I'm happy to have been part of the planting. I may volunteer for another day in someone else's neighborhood. This group does such important work!

Lacy C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I ordered two trees from Friends of Trees and honestly had an amazing experience throughout the process. From the great website, to the volunteer who came to our house to tell us what trees would go good where and the emails reminding us what to expect made it a very positive experience! The day of the plant I was unable to volunteer because of a lack of childcare BUT when the volunteers showed up to plant our trees I was able to help out and everyone seemed to be having a great time! One mother brought her 6 year old whose job it was to "stomp the dirt in"! I was able to meet two neighbors whom I had seen around but it gave us a chance to actually talk and create community. I know wave and say hi every time I walk the dogs past their homes. Now a month later both my trees are doing great, and are daily reminders of such a great experience. I can't wait until they come back to our neighborhood! I am going to order some more fruit trees.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Until volunteering with Friends of Trees, I was mostly an indoor-type person and wanted to change that. So I had been on the lookout for a well-run, professional, environmental, and community-building focused organization to which I could volunteer my time. Friends of Trees is precisely that. The staff knows their stuff when it comes to trees and they know how to expertly organize and manage volunteer, community-based events every single weekend during the planting season. And there's just something fundamental about putting trees into the ground and wondering what they will become 10, 20, and 50 years from now and knowing the benefits trees provide to future generations. Friends of Trees is simply fantastic!

Albert K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We planted 212 trees yesterday in Irvington, Portland, Oregon, USA

We love Friends of Trees. Efficient, friendly, organized, and creating a lasting changing in our City. Every city should be so lucky to have such an amazing group in their town.

Here is my write up of our planting on March 12th, 2011 with a slide show of pictures!

http://albertideation.com/2011/03/15/trees/

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We were able to buy discounted trees through Friends of Trees. At first, we thought that was the best part. Then we volunteered to help plant... Meeting people in our neighborhood, learning how to properly plant trees, getting to be part of an amazing organization, etc... it was an a memorable experience! FOT helps our environment, our community, and every individual who has the opportunity to be a part of it.

Matthew N.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I've volunteered with Friends of Trees several times now, and I'm always impressed with how well the events are organized. Friends of Trees is a great organization that really benefits livability in Portland's neighborhoods.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love being able to boost the urban forest while getting to know awesome people! And the home made food is the best. The FOT employees are also pretty great.

Katie B.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Friends of Trees here would be a stellar organization if its accomplishments were a tenth of what they have been. The average non-profit would be proud of enlisting one tenth their number of working volunteers, and any organization that planted one tenth as many trees would be considered a rousing success.

Many organizations have studied the concepts of "flat" and "agile" and tried to implement them, but Friends of Trees here eats and breathes them. For that reason they run circles around everybody else with a fraction of the resources.

From professional study, I know that there is no more important environmental remedy for cities than creating a lush tree canopy --nothing better for urban and global warming, air quality or water quality.

Laura S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I helped to plant trees with Friends of Trees recently and it was an amazing experience. I learned a lot about planting trees and it was so much fun connecting to member in my community while helping to increase the much needed tree canopy in our city. I will be volunteering again in the future for sure. I love what they do!!

17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

organization is very well-run overall, i've never experienced a major hitch, everyone is very friendly and professional and hard-working! they are very appreciate of their volunteers and the homeowners are ecstatic about receiving their trees.

17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered two and a half seasons with Friends of Trees as a crew leader for the natural areas plantings. I enjoyed every minute of it. It was a wonderful feeling knowing that each season I was responsible for getting at least 200 new trees planted. Every volunteer that I was a crew leader for was enthusiastic and interesting. I think FOT attracts caring, kind and seemingly very bright people : ). I also all the crew leaders that I met and worked with. It has so far been one of my favorite volunteer experiences in the Portland area.

14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What I love about this group, in addition to its admirable mission and friendly staff, is the focus and organization of its events. Volunteers who show up for neighborhood tree plantings are efficiently assigned to small groups which spread out and systematically plant trees--If you like a sense of accomplishment and teamwork and don't mind dirt--join this crowd. (You also usually get snacks)

17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am currently volunteering at Friends of Trees. Nothing makes me feel better than tree-planting! It's so much fun, and the people who both work and volunteer there are really nice, down-to-earth and happy people. I'm really enjoying my experience there!

14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Friends of Trees is an amazingly great organization - as a 3rd generation Oregonian, I really appreciate their mission and their passion for grass roots community involvement.