Trees for the Future, Inc.

Planting trees changes lives

Silver Spring, MD   |  www.trees.org

Mission

Trees for the Future is working to combat poverty, hunger and climate change by training farmers in regenerative agriculture.

Ruling year info

1989

Executive Director

Mr. John Leary

Main address

1400 Spring Street. Suite 500

Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

52-1644869

NTEE code info

International Agricultural Development (Q31)

Forest Conservation (C36)

International Environment, Population & Sustainability (Q38)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa often face challenges to provide for themselves and their families which results in the use of harmful agricultural methods that allow farmers to meet short-term survival needs but destroy their lands long-term. Harmful methods include planting monocultures that drain the soil of natural nutrients, resulting in continually worsening yields as the years continue. This prevents farmers from feeding their families nutritious foods, as they only grow a limited number of crops and do not generate enough income to buy more. Before starting TREES’ 4-year Forest Garden Approach (FGA), TREES’ research shows farmers were growing an average of 2.78 food crops per hectare with even fewer marketable products. These are easily doubled by the FGA. Farmers also had very high food insecurity levels and low dietary diversity scores shown on TREES’ baseline surveys. Lastly, farmers must guard against outside threats to their land, such as animals and theft.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Technical Training

We provide farmers with the necessary technical training to plan a locally appropriate Forest Garden, to seed and nurture tree and vegetable nurseries, to plant the trees and vegetables in the Forest Garden, and to sell and market the products from their Forest Garden at local markets. Our training provides local participants with the important skills on how to care for their Forest Garden's trees and crops, as well as help them to promote, sell, and market their products in order to boost their incomes and make their families and communities more environmentally sustainable and more food secure.

Population(s) Served
Farmers
Economically disadvantaged people

Trees produce seeds in a variety of ways. Most often, they are produced in seed pods, flowers, or fruits. In any case, be sure the seed is fully-developed before harvesting them. The optimum time for collecting seed is as soon as the seed is mature. Seed pods are generally mature when the pods turn brown, just before or after they open. On flowers, the seed is mature just before or after they fall from the flower. Fruit seeds are generally mature in a fruit when the fruit is ripe for eating. Collecting seeds that fall to the ground is sometimes easier than collecting seeds that are still on a tree, especially for larger trees that produce seed from pods or flowers. However, seeds on the ground are often more exposed to insects, moisture, and other environmental factors that can decrease their quality or viability.

Population(s) Served
Farmers
Economically disadvantaged people

It is extremely important to manage the trees in your Forest Garden properly to promote healthy, vigorous growth. Leaving trees unmanaged weakens them, reducing production and increasing the risk of disease damage. Good tree management requires regular pruning. Pruning can be quite technical and labor-intensive, requiring different practices and considerations depending on the species, variety, and climate. Regular pruning strengthens trees by focusing growth on the root system and the branches you want to grow. Pruning improves health and encouraging bud growth, and increases the quantity and quality of fruit and nut production.

Population(s) Served
Farmers
Economically disadvantaged people

We provide business management resources and training to farmers so they can better understand how to manage their Forest Garden as a functioning business with a focus on financial management and marketing.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Farmers

Where we work

Awards

THE INTERNATIONAL AWARD 1990

National Arbor Day Foundation

EARTH TRUSTEESHIP AWARD 1994

The Earth Society

Commendation Winner 1999

GREEN GLOBE

Best of Silver Spring Award in the Environmental Consultants category 2009

U.S. Commerce Association

Recognition for service 2010

Maryland Legislature

Affiliations & memberships

Aid for Africa 2018

Great Nonprofits 2020

Great Nonprofits 2021

Charity Navigator 2021

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of trees planted

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Tree Nursery Promotion & Management

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Trees for the Future has planted over 200 million trees in our entire lifetime as of October 2020.

Number of participants engaged in programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Farmers, Families, People with HIV/AIDS

Related Program

Technical Training

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This metric is measured based on the number of farmers that are engaged in our Forest Garden Training Program.

Number of training workshops

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Farmers

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Farmers receive continuous training from TREES technicians both remotely and in person. Community workshops are also organized so the community can learn more about the FGA.

Percentage of farmers reporting food security after four years in program

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Farmers

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This metric measures how many farmers feel confident that they will be able to feed their families more than one meal today and into the future. This metric is gathered right before the last harvest.

Number of clients who attain economic stability within two years of training

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Farmers

Related Program

Technical Training

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Percentage of farmers who are confident in their economic resiliency to cope with their future.

Percentage of women participating globally in Forest Garden projects

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Farmers

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our goal is to ensure +30% of farmers in our programs are women. We strive to include women in our programs and we hold trainings at times convenient for them so they can participate.

Total number of acres of area indirectly controlled under cultivation

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Farmers

Related Program

Technical Training

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

All the land that is restored, reforested and protected through tree planting is owned by the farmer participating in our Forest Garden Training Program.

Number of clients reporting increased knowledge after educational programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Technical Training

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

These numbers are calculated by looking at the number of participants who have a higher number of agroforestry techniques observable in their Forest Garden.

Number of carbon emissions prevented (estimated by CO2 equivalent)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Estimated amount of CO2 to be sequestered in land under Forest Garden management over a period of 20 years

Number of evaluations conducted

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Trees for the Future field and headquarters staff conducts annual assessments of with each farmer to track their progress in with Forest Gardens.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

Our mission is to end poverty and hunger in vulnerable communities through regenerative agriculture- a model called the Forest Garden Solution. Agriculture as we know it today is one of the leading contributors to climate change- accelerating deforestation, soil erosion, and biodiversity loss. Our Forest Garden Approach revitalizes soils, and regenerates land in a way that efficiently uses space and retains water. This approach is also supporting farming families to increase their food diversity and yield, thereby working to end hunger and poverty in the process.

By 2030, we will use our training program to plant 1 billion trees through Forest Garden approach and other strategic planting initiatives. You can read more at: trees.org/decade/

Using over 30 years of entrepreneurial and practical, on-the-ground experience, TREES developed a teachable, scaleable, and resource efficient farming method that uses the common sense entrepreneurial abilities and desires of our farmers to gain self-sufficiency, hope, and prosperity: The Forest Garden Approach. We can break the cycle of poverty for millions of African farmers by helping them plant a Forest Garden, a small yet diverse mix of trees and vegetables that provides food to eat, fuel for cooking, and tools for daily use, while simultaneously improving water tables, nourishing the land, and providing shelter to wildlife. Furthermore, it provides multiple paydays for farmers as they sell the crops they grow at markets.

We recognize that there isn't a one size fits all approach to ending climate change, hunger and poverty, which is why we have three categories for implementation that meet the needs of each community based on geography, climate, culture, infrastructure, and local resources and partners.

Expansion – This is the type of Forest Garden project you hear us talk about most frequently. TREES staff work with farmer groups to establish Forest Gardens over a four-year period. There are typically between 150 – 300 farmers in these projects.

Collaboration – We don’t want to reinvent the wheel. When another organization or group is doing great work in a region but would benefit from agroforestry training, we collaborate with them to bring agroforestry and permaculture to more farmers.

Replication – This is when the students become the teachers. Once farmers go through our Forest Garden program, they can “Plant it Forward” and train neighboring farmers in a condensed version of the program.

Our three-category implementation approach gives us greater capacity to share our resources and implement Forest Gardens throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Replication is the key to our sustainable implementation model, in which students become the teachers and implement Forest Gardens throughout their community. By training farmers in a hands-on approach for over four years, they become experts in Forest Garden agroforestry and permagarden techniques, and have the capabilities to pass along their knowledge to their neighbors. This approach is the key to our sustainable growth model, and shows that our model can not only be passed from trainer to farmer, but from generation to generation.

We also have collaborative projects, in which we partner with other nonprofit organizations in the area in order to minimize replication of efforts while coming together to support our goals.

We have the mission, the vision, the training and the tools. All we need is support from our partners and donors so that we can continue to plant trees and change lives.

TREES currently has over 100 on-the-ground projects in 9 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with 150-300 farming families per project. We have brought thousands of farmers out of poverty and planted over 215 million trees in our history. Furthermore, we created the Forest Garden Training Center, which gives access to all of our Forest Garden training materials to farmers and practitioners globally, allowing them to implement their own Forest Gardens and take exams to become certified to train farmers on the FGA. It is currently available in both English and French, and will be translated again in the coming year. Our programs are continuing to expand and we are adding in more projects in regions we currently work in.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Our programs serve impoverished farmers throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    The feedback that we receive from the farmers we serve allows us to adjust our programs based on their needs and their observations. Overall, this feedback empowers the farmers we serve because they can witness their feedback adjust the programs they are executing. In some cases, their feedback has led to the creation of new programs, which proves their power. Overall, our program is farmer-led, meaning they make decisions every step of the way of their training so that the program can be catered to their needs. We empower farmers to become leaders in their training, and their feedback is vital in community-led training.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

Trees for the Future, Inc.
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Trees for the Future, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 11/22/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Mark Brown

Thomas P. Brown Management, Inc.

John Leary

Trees for the Future

Shannon Hawkins

FBR Capital Markets

Mark Brown

Strayer University

Michael Gumbley

Charity:Water

Humphrey Mensah

Calvert Foundation

Ariana Constant

Clinton Foundation

Steve Hansch

International Business & Technical Consultants

Kaylin Nickol

Nickol Global Solutions LLC

VC Lingam

Check Point Software Technologies

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/22/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data