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2020 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

110 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wonderful volunteers, project managers and a very important cause! It's better to dig the planting holes by machine \uD83D\uDE0A

Client Served

Rating: 5

Contributing to the environment and wellbeing of people. Wonderful volunteers. Could drill planting holes by machine rather than by shovel.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We're very grateful to Canopy for planting an avocado tree in our front yard. I ended up volunteering to help with the tree planting, and I was impressed by the organization of the event. Every staff member I met was friendly, knowledgeable, and more than willing to answer tree-related questions. Thanks, Canopy, for the great work!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A great way to get outside, be active, and meet great people who also care about the environment and giving back to the community. I used to work at Canopy and continue to volunteer there because of the people-- the staff and other volunteers really create a sense of community. Canopy provides all the tools and training so it's great for people who are just getting into volunteering, who like hands-on tasks, or students who need hours for school. There are opportunities year round so you can go once or multiple times, but you'll always feel accomplished at the end of the day because you actually do work and get to see the result of your labor at the end. Sometimes there are miscellaneous tasks or opportunities for volunteering in their office, so don't hesitate to reach out to them if you are interested in other tasks besides tree planting. Also, if you are not into volunteering and just need information, they are a great resource to learn about tree species, tree issues, and for drought information. In my experience, the people at Canopy are always happy to hear from the public and answer questions.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Helped plant trees with them this Saturday. They were very nice about teaching me what to do and offering any help I needed. Had a great time!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Canopy is an outstanding example of a tree-focused community-benefit organization.
I have worked with Canopy (for three years, as of Oct 2016) on technical aspects of tree planting and care, and have noticed that they are remarkably proactive and forward-thinking in ensuring that the planted trees survive, grow, and actually provide the benefits that urban trees can provide. I note that Canopy not only has great links and is actively engaged with the local communities they serve, but the organization is also well-connected to local experts and arborists (and, not surprisingly, those two reasons are a part of why Canopy-planted trees look and perform great!).

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Today Canopy led a terrific planting event at one of our local middle schools. They brought together volunteers including school parents and children, Canopy volunteers, Boy Scouts and congregants from a local church. The event was perfectly planned from A to Z, putting dozens and dozens of adults and children to work on beautifying the school property. Thanks for your ability to organize so carefully and to make the experience both enjoyable and a good use of our time.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Canopy plants and takes care of a lot of trees! I have been to two of their training programs, and they are approachable and dedicated. I am so glad for the education they provide to children and for the work they do in the world.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a board member at Canopy for a year now and hands-down this is one of the best nonprofits that I have worked with so far. The staff are amazing and dedicated to Canopy’s mission and they do an exceptional job of stretching every dollar donated to the maximum extent possible. The staff work really hard and go the extra mile to make every project a success. Their Teen Urban Foresters program has been phenomenal in cultivating new youth leaders who start playing a very active role in the community and in being great stewards care of the environment at such an early age. Canopy’s tree planting and tree care educational programs have been instrumental in ensuring healthy trees in the communities that they serve. Great programs, Exceptional people, Strong focus on the mission leads to Healthy Trees, Healthy Communities!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been planting with Canopy for some years, but not for some time until this past weekend. In the interim, the organization has become stronger, the staff has gotten even professional, and the volunteers more energized. And many of those were young folks from neighboring schools willing to come out on a Saturday morning, rolling up their sleeves and contributing their efforts to improve our urban canopy. Thank you Canopy.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Canopy is made up of an amazing group of dedicated professionals who know how to plant trees where they are most needed while also educating students and volunteers how to be stewards of the environment. Canopy is also successful at pulling together a variety of groups to leverage resources to maximize their positive impact. Over the last two decades, they have done a lot to improve our urban forest.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have loved working with Canopy. Their dedicated and skilled volunteers, and their ready partnerships with other organizations, and their follow-through will benefit our Head Start center's children and families for years to come. Though it took over a year to receive all the approvals needed, and jump through all of the bureaucratic hoops of a federal contractor, Canopy was able to plant over 10 trees and rescue several others that had been previously planted incorrectly. It warms my heart so much to think that the children and families and teachers at Laurel will, for years to come, enjoy the trees, have some shade, learn from their seasonal changes and the gifts of fruit they will bring.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

With a relatively small, well-organized staff, lots of volunteers, a can-do attitude, strong partners and a clear vision, Canopy has shown how successful it can be in changing neighborhoods and cities like Palo Alto and East Palo Alto. They've been at it almost twenty years and have enriched those cities with close to 4,000 trees, not to mention the countless hours of advocacy. Yes, I am a huge fan of Canopy.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Canopy off and on for nearly 15 years and it all started with a class on trees at Stanford taught by Drew Oman with a guest speaker from Canopy. My budding love of trees leafed and grew because of the wonderful people I met. I love and value the organization for so many reasons: the people who run Canopy, the community and families we touch, the education and fun programs provided, and for all that I have learned. Thank you, Cristy Carlson Osborne

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went to the Trees of Stanford event sponsored by Canopy. This included a panel discussion of tree experts as well as a tree walk of part of the Stanford campus. I am so glad I went - I learned a lot and met a lot of other people passionate about trees. Canopy does a great job at bringing events like this to the public and promoting education about trees. With Canopy's efforts we can continue to build a tree-valuing culture in Palo Alto and beyond. Thanks Canopy!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Canopy works closely with community to invest in urban forestry. I have been to a number of volunteering events in the past 5 years. All the events are very organized and run by a friendly staff. The volunteers I have met are friendly and very hard working. It's a great place to connect with the community and give back. This is an exemplary organization where donations are so effectively converted into lasting impact in our community.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered with Canopy for many years, since my children were young. They just get better and better in fulfilling their commitment to plant and care for trees and advocate for the urban forest. They're also a great group of people to work with. It's such a pleasure to work with a volunteer-based group that accomplishes a lot and makes it fun for everyone.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This was a great experience. The folks were helpful and friendly. They explained the process real simple for folks with no experience to understand. I felt real good, knowing I was giving back to the community.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I recently led a tree planting with Canopy at the Willow Oaks Elementary school which has a largely Spanish speaking student body – it was inspiring to see these kids getting their hands dirty, fighting climate change and improving the air and environment around their school by planting the trees that will be there for decades (some of the trees we planted can easily live over 100 years). We got my employer and a local law firm to donate to this effort, too.

2 Tree Dockter

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Re: a Thank you from the Dockters, responding to the Canopy Board Match, Silicon Valley Gives program, connecting people with nature, like your friend, the late Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai: "When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of hope and the seeds of Peace".

Catherine & Board: Thank you for the gratitude email to Eileen and I.

You enable us to be directly involved with nature-based programs in a way that ‘without you’ we would probably not be engaged in a similar way.

You guys are the best at what you do--seemingly always keeping things fresh, up-to-date and on pace with the technology speed of Silicon Valley.

I thank you for the leadership you have utilized thru the 2007-2014 economic season, and support you to flourish in the new season of growth for the community.

Sincerely,

David & Eileen Dockter, Canopy Contributors


Dave Dockter
Urban Forestry Group, ASCA, ISA, APA
City of Palo Alto Public Works - Urban Forestry Section
Email: dave.dockter@cityofpaloalto.org
http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/gov/depts/pwd/trees/default.asp

Previous Stories
2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

The City of Palo Alto urban forest has been growing in private yards and city land for more than a century. The most critical time for all of the trees has been in the last decade. The involvement of the Canopy organization with the community as well as city tree programs has filled a critical gap and continues to do so. Canopy has become a regional resource for many cities in the Bay Area because their leadership vision is broad, their services are beneficial and contractor referral services are sought after by residents, architects and cities alike.

2 walt1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I remember when Canopy first started, with big ideas and a tiny budget. I’ve had the privilege of working with them off and on ever since—serving as a leader in planting trees in our neighborhood, collaborating with them in persuading the school district to adopt and implement a good tree policy, loaning them my pickup, and working with a Latino mom and her kids in planting trees at an East Palo Alto school as part of a Rotary project. It is totally inspiring to see how they’ve grown and what they’ve accomplished and there are few experiences more rewarding than planting with young people and witnessing their emotional connection to nature.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered for Canopy for over 10 years and keep coming back because of the benefit they provide to the community and because of the quality of the people associated with the organization. Their efforts to enhance the urban forests of Palo Alto and East Palo Alto are widely recognized appreciated by the citizenry of both communities. One of the major projects I supported was the planting of over 1200 trees in East Palo Alto since 2007. This has provided both an aesthetic benefit and the well-documented many environmental and economic benefits associated with planting trees.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

My involvement with the Canopy Board has been very rewarding. The Board members are dynamic and creative with good communication skills. Canopy has grown considerably since my involvement, not so much in dollars or volume, but in savvy and wisdom. We are really fortunate to have Catherine Martineau as our Executive Director, and our growth is in a large part to her credit.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Canopy has something for everyone, and everything it touches is superbly organized. It provides turnkey volunteer activities such as tree plantings and monitoring young tree health for people who want to spend a few hours. It presents accessible educational programs such as neighborhood tree walks. It offers trainings for people who want to be more involved. It supports neighborhood initiatives to plant street trees. Its programs engage everyone from school kids to older adults. It also brings exceptional environmental leaders to our community from Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai to E.O. Wilson. In short it is a powerful force integrated into our community in countless ways.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been very impressed not just with the professionalism of the Canopy staff -- great use of technology -- but also with the creativity exhibited in many of the programs and activities. The scope of what Canopy does is stupendous -- everything from inventorying native oaks to conducting neighborhood tree walks -- but there's never any loss of focus on its mission of protecting Palo Alto's trees.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a certified arborist that helps Canopy out on planting and work days. Working with Canopy has been a great experience. The staff, board members, and volunteer leaders are all committed to educating the public about the numerous environmental and economic benefits of planting trees. We teach all volunteer workers how to plant properly ~ especially important with trees ~ from digging the hole to mulching, staking, and watering. We teach the public about proper tree care and proper tree selection. Planting trees is one of the best things we can all do to help heal the planet. Canopy advocates for trees, helping to assure everyone does right by the trees in Palo Alto and neighboring communities needing help. Fantastic organization!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Partnering with Canopy is a pleasure and always productive. The staff and board go way beyond the call of duty to partner with other nonprofits. I have learned a lot from the experience and appreciate the expertise and generosity of the volunteers and staff.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Canopy has facilitated the planting of many hundreds, maybe thousands, of trees since I have been involved with the organization. People may not see them because of our busy lives, we go by too fast, but those new trees will benefit many generations to come, just as we have benefited from the trees planted by foresighted people 75-100 years ago. Canopy makes a difference and leads the way!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was very impressed not only by the dedication and professionalism of the staff, but of the volunteers themselves. Everyone takes great pride in their contribution to this historic event. I am very pleased to have been a part of this wonderful organization and I look forward to working together again.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After the clearcutting of the oak trees on California Avenue in Palo Alto, I looked around for an organization that protects trees in Palo Alto. Canopy wasn't hard to find, and I joined it immediately. Saturday's event (the replanting of trees) convinced me that I made the right decision. Canopy shares with residents Fred and Ann Balin the credit for leading the movement to redirect the city's ill-advised replanting plan to what was finally achieved. I think everyone who wishes to prevent another fiasco like last September's tree cutting needs to get involved with their neighborhood association. I believe that if more people had been involved it wouldn't have happened. In addition, please support Canopy.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This was truly an awesome experience! I was so heartbroken, as was so many other people, to see our lovely trees go... Now, my heart is absolutely filled with such joy, gratitude and thankfulness that I was given the opportunity to give back to nature and help heal a little piece of Mother Earth! Our tree was planted directly in front of Bistro Elan and... her name is Linda! Please support her and the other trees and watch how beautifully they grow! Thank you Canopy and our lovely City! This was truly a good deed... indeed!!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Canopy organized a fun and engaging Arbor Day celebration for kids and families in Palo Alto--teaching kids and adults about the value of urban trees through simple activities associated with trees.