Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification


  • Palo Alto, CA
  • www.canopy.org

Mission Statement

Founded in 1996, 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. Tree Planting & Tree Care
  2. Outreach & Advocacy
  3. Education

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 brings the life-giving benefits of trees to places where they are needed the most - to the schools, neighborhoods, and public spaces of the San Francisco Mid-Peninsula.

Canopy's tree planting and care programs and innovative educational programs have greatly increased the urban tree coverage throughout communities of the San Francisco Mid-Peninsula. Canopy's proven success of tree survival rates, as published by a study in the Urban Forestry & Urban Greening journal, ensures that the communities Canopy works within will benefit from the life-giving benefits of trees for many years to come.

Programs 2014/2015:
Trees Planted: 269
Trees Cared For: 1,716
Students Inspired: 1,183
Volunteers Engaged: 1,269


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

Self-reported by organization

Program 1

Tree Planting & Tree Care

Canopy's team of community volunteers, planting leaders, Teen Urban Foresters, and staff work to plant and care for trees at schools, parks, neighborhoods, and public spaces.

After trees are planted they are cared for by Canopy volunteers for three years to ensure their long-term health and survival. Care involves pruning, watering, mulching, and surveying.




Population Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)



Program 2

Outreach & Advocacy

Canopy is the community advocate for trees. Canopy brings awareness of the environmental, social, and economic benefits of the urban forest.

Canopy also advises the city of Palo Alto on how civic projects impact existing public trees, and communicates the importance of selecting climate-appropriate , site-appropriate new trees.

Our outreach efforts inform the community of upcoming education projects and meetings, and the various ways they can get involved as advocates or volunteers.




Population Served

General Public/Unspecified

Program 3


Canopy's educational programs work with K-12 students, families, and communities both in the class room and out. The programs are designed to inspire action for healthier schools and communities.

K-12 Class Lessons: Canopy provides hands-on, science-based education lessons tailored to the K-12th grade audience, using nearby nature to spark kids' interest and curiosity about trees and the environment.

Teen Urban Foresters (TUFs): Canopy hires high schools from East Palo Alto to work part-time 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.

Tree Walks: Each month around 30 residents join in a certified arborist led Tree Walk for a two hour walking tour of some of the most interesting tress specimens in Palo Alto neighborhoods. Tree Walks often provide a first-time opportunity to observe, appreciate, and learn about community trees and their role in creating healthy, vibrant communities.

Planting Leader Training: Every fall, Canopy holds a planting leader training for volunteers that includes an introduction to trees, proper planting technique, early tree care methods, and a hands-on field day where trainees can practice their new skills. The Planting Leaders then become a skilled core group who lead community volunteers at tree planting events.




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 envisions a day when every resident of the San Francisco Mid-Peninsula can step outside and walk, play, and thrive under the shade of a healthy tree.

    To accomplish this Canopy's long term goals include:

    1) Help the City of Palo Alto attain the canopy coverage goals described in the Palo Alto Urban Forest Plan.
    2) Play an active role in planting street trees and trees at schools and parks in East Palo Alto.
    3) Increase the impact of our programs by expanding into adjacent communities.
    4) Encourage residents to plant trees in their yards to increase canopy cover.
    5) Maintain the active youth environmental education program.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Canopy has successful partnerships with local City governments, schools, and funders ensuring a coordinated and innovative approach to urban tree planting and care. Canopy has three strategic initiative areas:

    Strategy 1) To enhance local urban forests, Canopy will continue to plant trees along streets, in parks, and at schools. A new campaign will encourage residents to plant drought-tolerant trees in their yards. Stewardship, also known as tree care, will play an increasingly important role in Canopy's future as Canopy takes responsibility for providing care for three years to many of the trees it plants.

    Strategy 2) To create the next generation of environmental stewards, Canopy will provide more youth education programs and increase the breadth and depth of its Teen Urban Foresters program.

    Strategy 3) Community engagement continues to be a large part of Canopy's work as it educates, inspires, and engages residents, schools, businesses, and government agencies to protect and enhance local urban forests. In the next three-and-a-half years Canopy will expand its education and training programs to provide additional education resources and training programs for the public, landscape and tree care professionals, and Canopy volunteers.
  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:
    - Great NonProfit 2015 Top Rated Nonprofit
    - Bay Area Green Business Award
    - 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 Canopy partnered with schools, parks, and cities to plant 269 drought-tolerant trees and survey and care for 1,176 trees with the help of 1,269 engaged volunteers. Over the last four years Canopy has addressed the “green gap" in East Palo Alto by engaging the community and youth in transforming 27 barren schoolyards with the planting of 1,070 trees to provide much needed greenery and shade for students. The long-term health of those trees was ensured by educating over 5,000 students on how to care for them - and to also value trees in the wider community.

    Canopy provides science-based education lessons to thousands of K-12th grade students each year. In 2015 alone, 1,183 students were reached. The California Blueprint for Environmental Literacy aligned lessons are hands-on and provide exposure to nearby nature, along with incorporating bilingual English/Spanish tools and culturally relevant instructions and references. Throughout the school year and summer each year, thirteen high school students from East Palo Alto are hired part-time to learn about tree care and planting, gain urban forestry skills, and develop leadership skills.


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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 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Knowledge Base Search
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.


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


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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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