PLATINUM2023

Friends of the Urban Forest

Greening San Francisco

aka FUF   |   San Francisco, CA   |  www.friendsoftheurbanforest.org

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Mission

Friends of the Urban Forest connects people with nature and each other by planting and caring for San Francisco’s trees and gardens.

Ruling year info

1981

Executive Director

Mr. Brian Wiedenmeier

Main address

Presidio of San Francisco 1007 General Kennedy Ave., Suite 1

San Francisco, CA 94129 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

94-2699528

NTEE code info

Environmental Beautification (C50)

Botanical, Horticultural, and Landscape Services (C40)

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

Given the harsh reality of the climate crisis and its potential local impact, a fully-stocked urban forest is vital for the health and well-being of San Francisco. Unfortunately, with an estimated tree canopy coverage of only 13.7%, San Francisco lags behind most major U.S. cities in the extent of its urban forest. City leaders have under-funded the municipal urban forestry program for decades, with the result that tree mortality has been outpacing tree planting, and existing street trees have been badly neglected. Friends of the Urban Forest must address the challenges of growing programs and staff, provide meaningful leadership in the use of urban forestry as a climate crisis mitigation strategy, and lead the effort to increase the city's tree canopy cover.

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?

Urban Forestry

Friends of the Urban Forest helps individuals and neighborhood groups plant and care for street trees and sidewalk gardens in San Francisco. This "green infrastructure" improves the city by beautifying neighborhoods, cleaning the air, and reducing polluted stormwater runoff. Since 1981, FUF has brought communities together to plant more than 60,000 trees, totaling almost half of the city's street tree canopy. We fulfill our mission through greening, community engagement, education, and advocacy.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups
Families
At-risk youth

Where we work

Awards

Champion of Trees 2018

Arbor Day Foundation

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Total percent of forest cover for the service area

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

Urban Forestry

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The San Francisco Planning Department performed an Urban Tree Canopy Analysis using aerial imagery and additional data sets to determine a canopy estimate for the City & County of San Francisco.

Number of individuals applying skills learned through the organization's training

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

Young adults, Adolescents

Related Program

Urban Forestry

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Green Teens program is one of the few paid urban forestry vocational skills training programs that provide opportunity and mentorship to youth in San Francisco, ages 14-19.

Number of trees planted

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

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We plant street trees in under-canopied neighborhoods in San Francisco, because they're a cost-effective tool for mitigating global warming, and because everyone deserves the benefits they provide.

Number of trees cared for

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

Urban Forestry

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We make scheduled "house calls" to street trees during their establishment period to assess their health and prune them as needed, and we provide emergency care for young trees that require it.

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 overall objective is to transform San Francisco’s urban forest by increasing tree canopy through community planting, removing the maximum possible amount of impermeable surface through sidewalk landscaping, and continuing our educational and community engagement programs to create new stewards of the urban forest. Our current specific objectives are:

Secure robust new funding for growing the urban forest
StreetTreeSF, San Francisco's municipal tree maintenance program, only funds the care of trees after they have become established (three years post-planting). Therefore we seek to secure dedicated public funding for tree planting, while we continue to build our own philanthropic capacity.

Mobilize public demand and support for growing the urban forest
We remain committed to community-based urban forestry, training and educating tree stewards, and furthering the profession of urban forestry. Changes in our planting model due to the passage of the Healthy Trees and Safe Sidewalks ballot measure (Proposition E) in 2016 require changes in FUF’s community engagement model; we must commit to ongoing experimentation and innovation with our outreach and engagement activities. Partnerships with government officials, community organizations, and community members will be critical to our success.

Build the systems and infrastructure needed for growing the urban forest
With the advent of StreetTreeSF, multiple large government grants, and increasing annual tree planting goals, FUF must scale up administrative systems and infrastructure to improve its efficiency and accuracy in data collection, project management, and grant reporting. FUF has excelled at implementing best practices for tree planting. Recent improvements (i.e. mulching and watering on planting day) continue to improve the quality of our work. We must also ensure that efficiency, safety, and staff well-being are re-evaluated and updated as needed. To meet both our internal needs and the requirements of funders, the city's Bureau of Urban Forestry, contractors, and large government grants such as StreetTreeSF, FUF must be able to collect, analyze, manage, and share data.

Continue to advance the practice of urban forestry
In past strategic plans we have developed new and innovative programming in sidewalk landscaping and education, and our commitment to those programs continues.

To secure robust new funding for growing the urban forest, our strategies are:

In collaboration with the Mayor’s office and District Supervisors, explore all possible sources for tree planting funding that will provide annual funding dedicated to tree planting beyond 2022.

Build robust and sustainable organizational annual philanthropic capacity for our organization through diversified revenue streams: foundations; corporations; major donors and individual gifts.

Build ongoing relationships with tech/corporate community in San Francisco to capitalize on place based giving and attract specialized funding.

Build an organization-wide culture of philanthropy and integrate fund development into all FUF events and programs.

Assure a steady stream of new funders by converting volunteers into members who then become renewable donors.

Involve the Board in all aspects of the Development process.

Launch a 40th Anniversary campaign initiative.

Launch a “Legacy Society” as a platform for estate and planned gifts.

To mobilize public demand and support for growing the urban forest, our strategies are:

Refine existing community engagement and education tools to build public support for the benefits of trees and StreetTreeSF.

Refine existing and develop new community engagement and education tools to train the next generation of volunteer urban forest stewards.

Develop a network of community groups, neighborhood organizations, district supervisors, schools, and other civic institutions to build awareness and increase support for urban forestry.

Develop, deploy, and evaluate a variety of materials, messaging and community engagement tactics.

Continue to work closely with Supervisors to build awareness of the importance of street tree planting in their districts and the need for funding for tree planting.

Increase our interactions with civic agencies, commissions, and councils.

To build the systems and infrastructure needed for growing the urban forest, our strategies are:

Audit FUF’s existing tools and systems for project management, mapping, reporting, invoicing, and the collection, management, and analysis of data, and review the corresponding tools and systems used by other urban forestry organizations and Cal Fire grant recipients.

Implement improvements in tools and systems identified by the audit/review process.

In collaboration with BUF, develop a system to improve the communication and reporting of tree planting data between FUF and BUF and contractors.

Assess FUF’s organizational strengths and weaknesses.

Based on the assessment of FUF’s organizational strengths and weaknesses, improve and promote employee wellness, safety, job satisfaction, and employee retention.

Evaluate the need for, and secure the use of, land for our tree nursery.

Evaluate the need for, and secure the use of, storage facilities and/or a satellite office.

Evaluate the feasibility of a partnership to reduce urban tree wood waste.

Friends of the Urban Forest has proved that it is well respected and loved in San Francisco; we are increasingly seen as a leader on the national and international level. We have shown that we are innovators in community-based urban forestry and community building. We have proved to be successful advocates and partners with the City in driving public funding and investment in San Francisco’s urban forest. We are participating in national and international dialogue about urban forestry and the role urban forestry plays in the health of a modern city, and as an important strategy in combating climate change. Operationally, we have invested in our human and physical infrastructure in order to be able to plant 2,000 trees per year—more than at any other time in over a decade—and as of 2019 we had more than $2.2 million in liquid assets.

Friends of the Urban Forest was founded 40 years ago after the City cut the budget for planting street trees. Since then FUF’s major focus has been on planting and caring for urban street trees. Ten years ago we began planting sidewalk gardens, expanding our reach to build what we call the “understory” of our urban forest.

For more than 20 years FUF has sought new ways to engage all of San Francisco’s communities, starting with the creation of the youth tree care program now known as Green Teens. Several years ago we launched a workforce development program in partnership with San Francisco General Hospital’s Wraparound Project to employ victims of violent crime for six month periods; this is now our Green Crew program, which provides permanent, part-time employment and training in urban forestry for young adults with minimal work history.

In our 2010 Strategic Plan, our three major goals were: to fundamentally change San Francisco’s public policy around street trees, to maximize our greening efforts, and to build our financial and operational infrastructure.

In line with these goals, FUF was an integral partner in writing the 2014 San Francisco Urban Forest Plan, which called for planting 6,000 trees per year over 20 years to fully stock our streets. FUF’s role under the plan is to plant 2,000 of those trees annually.

In 2016 we were wildly successful in our advocacy work with the passage of the Healthy Trees and Safe Sidewalks ballot initiative (Proposition E). With support of almost 80% of the electorate we helped usher in a renewed commitment to the care of street trees with permanent public funding.

And in the last few years we have determined that FUF needs to be a leader in growing the “whole urban forest.” One of the ways we can achieve this holistic goal would be to increase trees in parks and backyards and on other private property. In 2018 at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco the central importance of urban forests in fighting climate change was highlighted and FUF was featured as a national leader in this strategy.

Building on our successes, we are poised to increase our contribution to San Francisco’s urban forest. We will continue our advocacy efforts to achieve our highest priority: creation of a dedicated funding source for planting so we can grow our street tree population, while expanding our vision to drive growth of the urban forest in other public and private property. Given the harsh reality of the climate crisis and its potential local impact, a fully-stocked urban forest is vital for the health and well-being of our city. And by cultivating stewards of the environment through urban forestry, we can contribute to the health and well-being of the planet.

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 shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, 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

  • 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 look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback

Financials

Friends of the Urban Forest
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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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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

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.

Friends of the Urban Forest

Board of directors
as of 12/19/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Ray Schreiber

Josh Bagley

Community Member

Lara Hitchcock

Community Member

Katie McCloskey John

Community Member

Shaila Parikh

Community Member

Lindy Patterson

Community Member

Victor Ruiz-Cornejo

Community Member

Ray Schreiber

Community Member

Alison Torbitt

Community Member

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? Not applicable
  • 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? Not applicable
  • 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 12/8/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 12/08/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.