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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

California ReLeaf

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Environmental Beautification, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection

Mission: California ReLeaf's mission is to empower grassroots efforts and build strategic partnerships that preserve, protect, and enhance California?s urban and community forests.

Results: California ReLeaf is a nonprofit organization working statewide and is dedicated to improving the health and livability of California’s cities by planting and caring for trees. With over 85 partner organizations around the state, California ReLeaf engages volunteers to take action to improve the environment where over 94% of people live: in cities, towns, and metropolitan areas. Together California ReLeaf member organizations have planted and cared for more than 1 million trees with help from over 3 million volunteers.

Target demographics: plant and care for trees and to create healthy, livable communities

Geographic areas served: communities throughout California

Programs: the California ReLeaf Network of urban forest nonprofits, urban forest pass-through grants, outreach and education, and legislative monitoring and advocacy.

Community Stories

112 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

The staff at California ReLeaf helped us develop and implement our tree planting project in the City of Avenal. After years of wanting to beautify and add shade to our public spaces, we were pleased to discover a supportive partner in California ReLeaf. With their advice, we were able to do everything from effectively select the best species for our environment to engage different key community leaders. Their responsiveness helped us adapt the project as new opportunities arose; in fact, most recently, we were able to expand our project and plant even more trees than we originally anticipated within the same time frame. Even as we continue to complete the project, we already see a community that is reinvigorated and encouraged by what their teamwork could accomplish.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

It is a great honor for me to work with California ReLeaf, as a partner and director. Over 25 years, California ReLeaf has built a reputation as a national leader in the field of urban and community forestry. As the umbrella organization leading over 90 community non-profit groups, ReLeaf focuses on increasing awareness and involvement in tree planting and stewardship of California's urban landscapes. Measured by the number of trees planted and surviving, the number of volunteers engaged, and the health of our urban and community forests, California ReLeaf celebrates statewide success year after year. Now engaged in the Save Our Water and Our Trees! campaign, ReLeaf is using its broad network of partners and volunteers to get the word out about saving our investment in trees, while saving water during California's drought.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked closely with CA Releaf. Their staff combine in-depth expertise on urban forestry with persistent advocacy, dedication to their mission, and a truly collaborative approach to working with allies. I strongly commend CA Releaf to anyone interested in trees.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

California ReLeaf has been a stellar partner and friend to the California Climate and Agriculture Network. Their efforts to unify various organizations around a common goal have been crucial to our own work, as well as that of countless other groups. California ReLeaf staff are driven, experienced, creative, professional, and -- most of all -- a blast to work with.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am the President of a non-profit in Riverside California called Victoria Avenue Forever. We are an all-volunteer organization that is dedicated to the beautification and preservation of a historic street (on the National Register of Historic Places) called Victoria Avenue. We plant trees and roses and plant and maintain "pocket park" gardens. CA ReLeaf has been a tremendous resource for us. Among the aid they have provided is helping us get liability insurance, providing funding for planting trees and providing support through their newsletters, Facebook page and website.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

California ReLeaf has offered consistent support for programs, funding, and general administration. They are a dedicated team working statewide to implement real change in our urban forest and committed to empowering local groups like Tree Davis to work efficiently and effectively.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

California ReLeaf provides services to urban forestry non-profit organizations throughout the state. As President of the Board of Tree San Diego, i can attest to the fact that ReLeaf has been extremely helpful. We are a relatively new non-profit and have benefited by many types of information that ReLeaf has provided us. Through their excellent network they have also provided access to knowledgeable people in other urban forestry non-profit organizations. We also have benefited by the advocacy they provide for the benefits of urban tree canopy in the state.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a long-standing member of the board of the Markham Regional Arboretum Society in Concord, CA. We raise funds for and help maintain a nature park in the very middle of the town. Despite its proximity to wealthy Bay Area locales, Concord is a vibrant but economically challenged community. As such, it needs a park like this so much more than you can imagine.

That said, CA ReLeaf is one of our go-to organizations, helping us with grants, advice, and a fabulous network of like-minded groups. They have helped us raise not only our awareness of how we can put our assets (i.e., the park, our volunteers, etc.) to more effective use, but working with them has also raised our game in how we approach our programming, our services, and our very mission: we had overlooked (!) our function as an urban forest, and this alone has given us new focus.

Each person on the very small staff is deeply dedicated, positive, and genuinely nice. I am proud to be associated with CA ReLeaf and can only hope that they get to do even more for California, and the world, for many years.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

California ReLeaf is a leader in the field of urban forestry and conservation. The staff is well respected, diligent, smart, strategic and attuned to the needs of the communities they work with and serve. They extend to form collaborative relationships that leverage their influence and mission to diverse sectors and communities, and create webs of advocates and partners that support each other. It is a pleasure to work with them!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am very proud to be associated with Cal ReLeaf. They are an outstanding group of advocates and experts who contribute so much to our communities to make them healthy and beautiful. They are a group of professionals who are dedicated to educating the public, beautifying the community, and empowering individuals. Their contribution helps ensure our state will be beautiful today and for future generations, passing on a legacy of conservation and environmental awareness.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an environmental professional and Sacramento lobbyist I have been consistently impressed by California ReLeaf's impact on state policy and funding decisions. It is an absolute certainty that the state budget would contain millions of dollars less for urban greening and other conservation efforts if California ReLeaf were not engaged in Sacramento.

CA ReLeaf is a valuable partner, with my unqualified support.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

California ReLeaf is a dedicated organization that supports much needed natural resources in California's urban communities. I've had the opportunity to work closely with them and believe their guidance on environmental issues has truly made a difference for California residents and our urban ecosystems. They continue to be a leader in their field.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

California ReLeaf has been a steadfast and purpose-driven ally in the environmental and environmental justice communities' efforts to bring about considerable change. In particular, their state-level leadership in conservation and natural resource advocacy related to climate change has been remarkable.

I count myself lucky to get to work with California ReLeaf.

Anne F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

California Releaf is the hub of communication and support for urban and community forestry efforts throughout the state. The Sacramento Tree Foundation is a founding member and greatly benefits from the network, its members, workshops and advocacy efforts. Specifically, California ReLEAF legislative advocacy efforts have elevated urban and community forestry as a legitimate strategy to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, local community efforts have a much better chance of receiving services or dollars they need.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am fortunate to work with CA Releaf on issues related to climate change and natural resources. Their leadership on these issues in California as made all the difference in forwarding climate change solutions that include solid investments in urban forestry.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I find California Releaf a much needed and effective voice for the grassroots nonprofit tree network throughout the state of California. Their advocacy efforts have resulted in vast new resources being dedicated to greening our communities by bringing recognition to the inextricable links between urban tree canopies and the many accrued benefits, such as carbon sequestration, urban heat island amelioration, cleaning the air we breathe, energy conservation, and improving the health and well-being of all California residents. For me their work in educating policy and decision makers, combined with providing net-working opportunities with my fellow urban forest community benefit organizations, has brought us much greater opportunities to make the communities we serve better, healthier and more livable communities.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I am new to the Housing Sector and knew very little about Urban Forestry coming into this field. On my first day and every week since, I have had the opportunity to work with Chuck Mills vial our multi-sector Sustainable Communities for All coalition. He has taught me so much about the critical work California ReLeaf does, how these issues connect to everything else, and how to effectively advocate for urban forestry as part of the package for building healthy, sustainable communities. California ReLeaf is a valuable, reliable partner who effectively advocates for the policy and resources necessary to advance urban forestry and so much more in California.

KathleenF

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a former employee of California ReLeaf and a current donor to the organization. In my 4+ years with the organization, I was consistently impressed with the organization at every level-- its professional staff and board, its wise use of resources, its integrity, and its effectiveness in advancing urban forestry in California. I am proud of the work they are doing to make California a better place to live and work.

Client Served

Rating: 5

California ReLeaf supports urban forestry statewide in California. Through communications, lobbying, and administering grants they have helped dozens of urban forestry groups across the state. Without them, the outlook for urban forestry across California would be much bleaker.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

California ReLeaf is a great non-profit that accomplishes a lot for the California urban forestry community. In the past, California ReLeaf has helped our organization (a very small urban forestry non-profit) receive grant funding on multiple projects that have really helped us work toward achieving our mission to plant and care for trees and educate our community.

Besides funding, California ReLeaf is always there to support us with outreach materials and press packets to make it really easy for us to communicate to our constituents and run really high quality programs without much front-end effort. This is key for us because we only have one half-time staff person to execute our programs.

California ReLeaf is also always on the front-line in Sacramento representing urban forestry interests on behalf of its members, many of them small non-profits like ours. We surely do not have the resources to ensure the interests of trees are represented in the capital city.

And it should noted that California ReLeaf achieves all this work with only a few staff people. They are a very efficient non-profit. Thank you for being awesome, California ReLeaf!

Board Member

Rating: 5

California ReLeaf has established a track record of success in its role as Volunteer Coordinator for CalFire's Urban and Community Forestry program. Since its inception, California ReLeaf has been a leader in urban forestry in California. Its Board is committed to continuing, and strengthening, that role.

Amelia O.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My journey into the world of urban forestry nonprofits has always had California ReLeaf with me. When I first began managing a small environmental nonprofit (1995), ReLeaf was my guide; offering advise, mentoring, reassuring. As that program grew, ReLeaf was more of a partner; providing grant opportunities, sharing tools of the trade, encouraging us. Later, when ReLeaf came to me and asked me for assistance, I was more than willing. I helped mentor other new network groups, shared our story, and served on various boards.

Currently I serve on the board of directors and have been a past president and treasurer. I enjoy sharing with other outside of the urban forest arena about the great work of California ReLeaf. Together the diverse network membership, the dedicated and energetic staff, and the knowledgeable board are advancing urban and community forestry in our state. I am proud to work with an organization that can make such a positive difference!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Urban Conservation Corps of the Inland Empire give California Releaf 10 stars! California ReLeaf is a great non-profit organization that operates statewide and truly helps grassroots and community based agencies protect the environment, as well as helps us build greater skills among inner city youth as it relates to caring for the land, trees and neighborhoods. For years, Cal Releaf has been instrumental helping some of the poorest areas in the Inland Empire breathe new life and excitement about urban forestry, air pollution and environmental stewardship.

In addition, California Releaf is also our right hand for advocacy and policy making as it relates to the environment and our neighborhoods. When this agency goes after change, they make it happen and it benefits the entire State of California. That makes them great!

Client Served

Rating: 5

CA Releaf has been instrumental in Woodland Tree Foundation's successful tree planting and Arbor Day events during the last several years. They have been a major source of funding for trees planted by our volunteers, allowing WTF to plant hundreds of shade trees at schools and along city streets. Their Arbor Day grants have provided funding for trees and publicity enabling this annual event to grow in popularity and volunteer support. Their staff regularly attend Arbor Day in Woodland to support our efforts. CA ReLeaf has also been a strong voice in Sacramento promoting the work of the ReLeaf network and the value of trees to combat global warming; they continue to advocate for additional state resources for tree planting. Through regular email communications and their newsletter CA ReLeaf keeps their membership informed of legislation at the state Capitol that is of importance to tree planting efforts; they also provide information about training workshops and profile the interesting and inspirational work of other tree organizations. We are proud to be a member of CA ReLeaf! Their organizational efforts give small tree planting nonprofits like Woodland Tree Foundation a stronger voice in all matters that pertain to trees and environmental enhancement of our communities. Their staff are very accessible and consistently provide high quality technical assistance.

Rhonda Berry

Client Served

Rating: 5

California ReLeaf rocks. Ever since it was founded under the leadership of Isabel Wade in the late 80's, California Releaf remains THE statewide advocate for both urban forestry and the nonprofits making it happen at the neighborhood level.

In addition to the valuable workshops and materials it provides to nonprofits, CaliforniaReLeaf continues to be a major influence in bringing millions of dollars of federal and state funds to California communities through intense legislative tracking and advocacy.

Thank you Joe, Chuck and Ashley, et al, for all you do to support the efforts of California's urban forestry nonprofits - "the boots on the ground".

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The mission of CalReleaf is an important one and the dedicated, savvy staff are doing exemplary work in serving that mission. From providing assistance, funding and direction to small local non-profit community action groups to advocating on the State or National level for government support, CalReleaf is truly a Great Nonprofit organization.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Urban Corps is proud to be partnered with California ReLeaf. We have worked together to plant hundreds of trees in San Diego County. In the process, we have raised awareness of the benefits of the urban forest and helped provide paid job training and a second chance to the at-risk youth we serve. By advocating for and planting trees, California ReLeaf is not only helping green our urban landscape, they are helping us achieve our mission of offering green job training and high school education to youth. This is a win-win for our community. Thank you CalReleaf!

Caitlin7

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have received a grant this term and working with the foundation has been great!!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

California ReLeaf has been a wonderful partner to work with over the past several years. Their commitment to urban forestry is inspiring. They are true leaders in the field.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to work with California ReLeaf on a planting project I helped organize at an elementary school. ReLeaf staff were always helpful and readily available to answer questions or offer support while I was preparing my application and planning my planting event. The organization has excellent resources for grantees putting together urban forestry projects. The entire grant process was easy to navigate and was an overall great experience.

Douglas8

Client Served

Rating: 5

California ReLeaf has been a consistent player in the community based urban forestry world since I've been involved back in the early '90's...that's a long time!

Through their educational programs and annual conferences to their networking of other urban forestry groups in California, Friends of the Urban Forest has been able to both share 'trade secrets' and gain them from other organizations.

In the past recent years ReLeaf has been a solid source of funding for several start-up innovative programs that simply would not have gotten off the ground with out such financial assist.

Another huge funding opportunity became available from ReLeaf when we proposed our tree planting, tree care and Youth Tree Care Programs as 'shovel ready' when Federal Stimulus money became available to urban forestry groups. ReLeaf worked very hard to bring those funds into the urban forestry world here in California.

With constant updates on potential Senate and Assembly bills which can influence funding to urban forestry, ReLeaf has successfully leveraged their member's connections to their local State leaders sharing language that groups like ours may use to persuade these leaders to use urban forestry as a solution in several successful bills on parks and clean water measures.

We appreciate the staff that work hard for our group as well as the smaller urban forestry groups in the State.

Thank you CA ReLeaf!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Koreatown Youth and Community Center has been working with California ReLeaf for several years now, and they provide a much needed service to the urban forestry community of California. Through great educational programs and webinars, print materials, and grant funding they help make my organizations work possible in the community. They also play a key role in advocating for the urban forestry community at the state level to ensure funding for the many tree planting, care, and educational programs being provided to our communities.
Very thankful to California ReLeaf for their support!

TreeMusketeers

Client Served

Rating: 5

I work for Tree Musketeers, a youth-led environmental organization located in Southern California. My group has been a member of the California ReLeaf Network since 1991. The benefits we have received range from first class conferences to grants, advocacy at the state capital and valuable resources. ReLeaf is a pivot point for California's urban forestry movement and brings nearly 100 groups together for an amplified voice.

I also have served on ReLeaf's board of directors since its incorporation. I can attest that ReLeaf is a soundly structured organization with a clear vision and viable mission. It's board comprises diversely talented members who are engaged and dedicated. Likewise, the small staff brings the right mix of professional skills to implement big programs with the utmost of precision in aggressive pursuit of the mission. I cannot say enough about the high esteem I hold for California ReLeaf and its people.

Client Served

Rating: 5

North East Trees is a small urban forestry non-profit based out of north east Los Angeles. Over the past 25 years we have planted over 100,000 trees and trained hundreds of at risk youth in the disadvantaged communities that we serve. We do big work for such a small organization. None of this would be possible without the ongoing support of our partner organization, California ReLeaf. As an advocate in Sacramento, California ReLeaf has helped our organization access much needed funding and has done an incredible job educating our elected officials about the importance of urban forestry statewide. They have been extremely efficient, competent and passionate about the work that they do. Without them, our communities would be less green and our cities less livable. California ReLeaf is a great friend of our urban forests and those who work with them. Thank you California ReLeaf. Please keep doing what you are doing!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We are the HB Tree Society, Inc. an all volunteer-run 501(c)(3) dedicated to increasing the urban forest in Huntington Beach, California and outskirts. We started in 1998 as a small grass roots organization. Throughout the years CA ReLeaf has provided us an extraordinary amount of support. They have donated generous grants throughout the years, offered amazing seminars and have always been there for advice and encouragement. Thanks to CA ReLeaf, our all-volunteer organization has become a viable part of the sourounding Huntington Beach community. We have planted/given away over 6,000 trees over the last decade.


We attribute our increase in green infrastructure to the support received from CA Re-Leaf. They have been tree-riffic and our partnership has been tree-mendous! Their statewide tree workshops have broadened our knowledge and been a tree-mendous asset on us becoming more efficient with the care of trees. The workshops have brightened our spirits and and fired us up to keep going through tough economic times.


When you are a small group its essential that larger groups take you under their wings. CA Re-Leaf has certainly done this and helped us FLY.

David127

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ReLeaf really does "empower grassroots efforts"..".that preserve, protect and enhance California's urban and community forests. No amount og praise for their work is enough. It is an inspiration to join with them in this most valuable work. - Dave Richardson

Bryan10

Client Served

Rating: 4

They work as a cohesive group. Great advocates for the Urban Forest!

Martha O.

Donor

Rating: 5

California ReLeaf is a wonderful organization that supports local tree nonprofits across California through community-based grants, education programs, mentoring, and advocacy. The staff is top-notch – very professional and friendly!

John131

Client Served

Rating: 4

Outstanding in all aspects: professionalism, advocacy, on the ground impact.

Tracy Lesperance

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a new and proud member of the board of directors for California ReLeaf. We are a fiscally sound organization providing a wealth of resources and support to grassroots organizations throughout California who are working to improve, enhance, and grow urban and community forests. Whether it is developing strategic partnerships, monitoring and working on legislation, or growing our community network, we are at the forefront of all things urban forestry.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I work for a outdoor sceintific education non profit called Kids & Creeks. We are based in Chico, California. Thanks to our 2012 grant from Cal ReLeaf we have been able to restore habitat at three city parks and will be planting 25 trees at those parks in January. More than 600 local elementary students have already participated or will participate in this urban forestry work for the city. They ranged in age from 4th grade all the way up to 8th grade students. We have been able to get students from low income schools on cost free field trips that they may not have been able to go on with the grant. Cal ReLeaf not only helped fund valuable tree care work, tree planting, and invasive species removal but also helped educate students about the importance of urban forestry. Our entire organization, the students who did the work and the whole community have benefitted from our Cal ReLeaf grant. THANK YOU from Kids & Creeks and the City of Chico!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As the head of an all-volunteer group whose goal is to make our city a city of tree-lined streets, I have found both moral support and technical expertise from the ReLeaf staff. They are extremely accessible; I have never known them to not return calls or emails immediately. And they are genuinely helpful. For example, they paid for a director of a larger tree organization to meet with us and talk about stepping up our efforts.The organization helps small groups in small towns like us to navigate larger bureaucracies like the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection at the same time as it funnels tree money from the state to us.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Thanks to California ReLeaf, volunteers in Oakland will be planting 25 California native trees in Wood Park. It beautifies while helping our watershed, the air the people!! It gives many youth volunteers a good opportunity to garden in our park and enjoy teamwork with stewardship. Thanks CA Releaf for your grant.

Cindy64

Client Served

Rating: 5

Cal ReLeaf has been a great resource, especially with respect to urban forest/urban greening advocacy and grants support. I would encourage any urban forest or urban greening grassroots organization to invest in the annual membership in order to have access to this great team of experts. They'll help build your knowledge base as well as your network of like-minded organizations.

Kenneth6

Client Served

Rating: 5

Goleta Valley Beautiful joined California ReLeaf in the 1990’s as a small all volunteer urban forestry organization, about the same time I became involved with both organizations. In those days, annual conferences were a homey affair, usually involving staying overnight at a college dorm in the summer when the facilities weren’t being used by students. As our organizations have matured, we’ve been able to stay on the forefront of what works best in urban forestry through the leadership of California ReLeaf linking us with a statewide army of volunteer organizations. The resources California ReLeaf develops on our behalf are the essential building blocks for sustaining the core of Goleta Valley Beautiful. But while the leadership has changed, and the conferences have become more polished, California ReLeaf is still the go to place for recharging your personal and professional batteries. Joe, Chuck, Ashley and those who have come before and the next generation to come have been treasured colleagues and personal friends. They listen, anticipate, and lead. They help us grow by sharing, and we all prosper because of it. We need more of them.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Without hesitation, I joined California ReLeaf’s board of directors in 2012. California ReLeaf is the only organization that assembles and coordinates a network of community-based groups to support urban and community forests throughout the state.

California ReLeaf is a fiscally responsible organization accomplishing its mission and goals with minimal overhead. The organization’s staff consistently monitors state and federal legislation to influence policy on behalf of urban forestry, and works tirelessly to assist their network members in increasing state-wide knowledge about the myriad benefits of trees in our communities.

In this era of increasing climate-change, the work of California ReLeaf to preserve, protect, and enhance our urban forests is more important than ever. Supporting California ReLeaf assures these good works continue.

Review from Guidestar

1 Rose10

Board Member

Rating: 5

When asked to join the California Releaf Board in 2009, I had only experienced the organization from a network member point of view. As a network member, I was really pleased with the level of support and opportunities provided for highlighting our local activities. During my time on the board, I have had the opportunity to witness and oversee the daily operations and activities of the team and have to say I am so impressed. The same support I received as a network member transferred to my board experience. Monthly staff reports, excellent follow up on questions and financials that demonstrate topknotch fiduciary care. It's a wonderful experience.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When Canopy first joined California ReLeaf, in the mid 1990's, we immediately benefited tangibly from the various programs offered such as access to a network of urban forestry nonprofits for advice and best practices, excellent newsletters and conferences, as well as opportunities to receive tree planting grants.
Since then, California ReLeaf has grown to become the main empowerment agency for our network.
In particular, ReLeaf's successful legislative advocacy efforts give a voice to California's urban forestry/ecosystem nonprofits or groups, most of which are small or volunteer-based.

Review from Guidestar