Friends of Trees recognizes that not everyone has equal access to the benefit of trees.
As a community driven organization we foster an atmosphere of inclusion and support, and we strive to build places that are safer and healthy for all. We accomplish this through authentic community conversation; unique partnerships; relevant programming; and attracting and retaining diverse staff and supporters.
Friends of Trees’ Equity and Diversity Inclusion Committee is a standing committee comprised of board and staff who recommend readings and workshops, organize trainings, and review our programs and materials through an equity lens. We use deliberate outreach and communication strategies toward engaging a diverse range of volunteers and tree-recipients.
Our community tree planting events have varying levels of accessibility. Learn more about our accessible events here.
Friends of Trees will always strive to be a welcoming and safe place for everyone, regardless of age, ability, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, political views or economic status. Without our volunteers, we are nothing. But together we do amazing things.
This statement is included at the beginning of all Friends of Trees public planting events
Equity is woven into the fabric of Friends of Trees’ programs, which rely on a number of community partnerships in order to share trees + community with as many communities and people as possible. Many of these partnerships involve financially investing in the community: Since 2010 Friends of Trees has invested more than $1 million in our partnerships, through contracts and other shared funding arrangements.
A sample of current community partnerships:
- We contract with Verde and Wisdom of the Elders for help with planting site preparation, tree planting, and maintenance.
- Utilizing the services of Lara Media Services for focus groups and video.
- Chemawa Indian School students participating in every Salem-area planting event.
- Youth interns from Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center and The Blueprint Foundation’s Grounding Waters Program receive stipends for job-training—including leadership opportunities—with Friends of Trees.
- Growing east Portland’s canopy with APANO.
Our Strategic Values
These values form our commitment to action and guide our programs and priorities.
Friends of Trees recognizes that the best way to serve our mission is to work within our capacity. A forward-looking accounting of our resources—human, economic, and environmental—must guide our decisions and actions. Especially in the face of a changing climate, we need to be considerate of what, where, and how we plant. Taking care of our staff’s well-being and our organization’s financial health, while being adaptable and mindful of our environmental footprint, will enable us to adhere to our organizational values and do meaningful work in perpetuity.
We know that long-term care and engagement is key to the success of trees and green spaces, and that’s the approach that Friends of Trees takes to its relationships, too—with staff, volunteers, partners, supporters, and neighbors. Through connection, accountability, and knowledge sharing, we want to foster a community of care for both people and the natural world.
Friends of Trees strives to prioritize and plan for the physical and mental well-being of all our staff, partners, and volunteers. Working in the world always carries some level of risk, but it is paramount that we do what we
can to minimize that risk through active planning, training, and evaluation, while making our workplace and events as welcoming and inclusive as possible.
We believe that working together to improve the places we call home has the power to create a sense of community. Our programs and events give people a chance to meet neighbors, create more livable neighborhoods and accessible green spaces, and engage in a collective effort to improve the natural world and the lives of others. We want our community partnerships to be truly collaborative, rather than merely transactional, because conversation and action are vital to authentic and productive relationships.
Friends of Trees has not always planted with a lens toward combating systemic injustices. Now, it is a priority that we thoughtfully consider our impact, create authentic community partnerships, and contribute to building a more equitable urban forest by expanding access to urban nature and the benefits it provides. Trees and green spaces are environmental tools that many communities have been historically denied, and they are useful toward making homes and neighborhoods healthier and more resilient.
We recognize that our organization values are constrained by the boundaries of our mission, and do not reflect the breadth and depth of the values of everyone on our staff. By making volunteer time available to our staff members, Friends of Trees is committed to giving them space and capacity to get involved in issues they care deeply for.