Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification


  • Palo Alto, CA
  • www.canopy.org

Mission Statement

Canopy plants and cares for trees where people need them the most. We bring the life-giving benefits of trees to the schools, neighborhoods, and public spaces of the San Francisco Mid-Peninsula.

Canopy serves the communities of the San Francisco Mid-Peninsula including Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Mountain View, Redwood City, and Menlo Park.

Main Programs

  1. Teen Urban Foresters
  2. Healthy Kids, Healthy Trees!

ruling year


chief executive

Catherine Martineau

Self-reported by organization


Canopy, Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, tree planting, tree care, urban forest, environment, education, environmental education, environmental science, school trees, tree walks, workshops, lessons, schools

Self-reported by organization

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Physical Address

3921 East Bayshore Rd.

Palo Alto, 94303


Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C. (C99)

Forest Conservation (C36)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Impact statement

Canopy plants, tends and grows the urban forest, creating healthier communities for everyone. No other initiatives simultaneously address the societal 'green gap' and offer environmental education through the planting of school campus trees. Canopy jointly delivers social and environmental impacts of immediate relevance to the school communities.


What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Self-reported by organization

Program 1

Teen Urban Foresters

Canopy’s Teen Urban Foresters (TUFs) serve as stewards and leaders in local urban greening. These students from high schools in East Palo Alto work part-time during the school year and summer, and participate in every facet of Canopy’s tree planting and tree care programs—planting, pruning, and caring for trees; leading volunteer groups; assisting with events; and more. Beyond learning marketable skills and gaining job experience, the TUFs work together to improve their neighborhoods in tangible ways.


Youth Development


Population Served

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Program 2

Healthy Kids, Healthy Trees!

Canopy’s Healthy Trees, Healthy Kids! program successfully planted 1,000 drought tolerant shade trees and fruit trees on school campuses, and engaged children and volunteers in educational activities and the planting of hundreds of trees.

The plantings targeted tree-poor school campuses and nearby open space areas in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and neighboring communities.

Trees create better learning environments for students, bring much-needed shade to play areas, increase energy efficiency of school buildings, break up heat islands on campuses and even provide healthy snacks. Our tree plantings aim at increasing "canopy equity" in our region.


Environmental Education


Population Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)



Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Self-reported by organization

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Canopy aims to plant more urban trees, ensure their survival and healthy growth, and teach more people about the environment.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Canopy has successful partnerships with local City governments, ensuring a coordinated and strategic approach to urban tree planting and care.

    Canopy offers a comprehensive, coordinated approach to delivering tree planting with built-in educational units at area schools along with ongoing long-term tree stewardship activities that progress along the curriculum. This innovative cycle: 1) reinforces students' science and environmental knowledge, 2) improves school campus environments and public health.

    Another innovative aspect is our Canopy Youth Staff that comprises 4-6 disadvantaged EPA students whom we employ on a part time basis. These students are trained in all aspects of urban forestry, are taught leadership skills, and are given leadership responsibilities--directing volunteer activities during tree planting and tree care workdays.

    Volunteers play a vital role in Canopy's programs and are particularly critical to the success of our tree planting, tree care, and education efforts. Canopy's small staff has been able to mobilize, train and organize large numbers of students, parents, community members, and corporate volunteers to support our tree planting efforts.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Canopy has the track-record, credibility, partnerships and capabilities to share its tree planting and education programs with local communities that lack urban tree canopies and environmental-science education.

    The Canopy staff is established and well prepared to execute tree planting and education programs:

    Executive Director: Establishes and leads relationships with key partners including school board members, district superintendents and principals, and community partners.
    Program Director: Develops planting plans for each school, coordinates plans with school administrative and facilities personnel, schedules plantings, selects and implemenst the educational modules, and manages all planting activities.
    Program Coordinator: Helps coordinate planting activities, manages the Canopy Youth Staff, and manages the tree care program that follows planting, including workdays.
    Volunteer/Outreach Coordinator: Coordinates all aspects of school and community volunteer recruitment necessary for planting, educational, and tree care activities.
    Canopy Youth Staff: Help with all planting and tree care activities including leading volunteer groups.
    ISA certified arborists: Provide additional support for the selection of optimal tree species
    Senior Canopy volunteers: Help lead volunteer groups.

    Canopy has been recognized for our successful tree programs, effective community outreach and reputable education programs with the following awards:
    - Silicon Valley Water Conservation Award
    - Palo Alto Tall Tree Award for Outstanding Nonprofit
    - California Urban Forests Council Outstanding Education Programs Award
    - Stanford University Community Partnership Award
    - Alliance for Community Trees NeighborWoods Award

    Visual illustration of Canopy's program execution can be seen at the following links:
    - HT, HK! environmental-science lessons: http://www.canopy.org/pages/programs/tree-planting/healthy-trees-healthy-kids.php
    - Tree plantings: https://flic.kr/s/aHsjVRkmEy
    - Creating healtier schools: http://youtu.be/NkZBQE9FD5k
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Tree survival is a critical indicator of our planting success. Canopy's trees have an exceptionally high survival rate of 98% due to the three years of initial care that all our young trees receive.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    In 2015 alone, Canopy planted over 269 drought tolerant trees; surveyed and cared for over 1,716 young trees; held 127 tree planting, care, and educational events; reached over 1,183 children with nature lessons; and engaged over 1,200 volunteers.

    During this time of intensified drought in California, in May 2015 Canopy helped initiate the statewide Save Our Water and Our Trees campaign that sparked media attention and reached thousands of California households, conveying the message that urban trees are well worth the water.

    We continued to grow and strengthen our youth education programs, delivering 41 hands-on, standards-based environmental science lessons to K-12 students during 2014/2015. We expanded our Teen Urban Forester program, employing 7 low-income high school youth through paid internships that provide job training and leadership experience. In total, we engaged nearly 1,200 youth, encouraging and empowering them to become the next generation of environmental stewards.


Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30


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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.




Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Knowledge Base Search
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Catherine Martineau


Catherine Martineau, Executive Director, has been a leader in the nonprofit urban forestry field for over a decade. She serves on the board of California Releaf, a statewide urban forestry organization. She brings to her role extensive professional experience in both the financial and management consulting sectors. Leading Canopy, she draws on her professional experience as well as her personal interest in community service, education and the environment.



David Collins


GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization



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Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


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