Customer Story

Friends of the Urban Forest

Friends of the urban forest

WhereSan Francisco, CA
FieldsYouth, Environment, Workforce & Community Development
Team size17
Problem to solve“We knew there was a lot of money out there, but didn't know how to find it. I had exhausted all of my sources and was ready to try something new.”
Grant awarded$30,000 from the Joseph & Vera Long Foundation

Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) is a San Francisco-based nonprofit that believes climate change is happening now and the key to a truly sustainable city is a robust and healthy tree canopy in every neighborhood.

Since its founding in 1981, FUF has grown to over 17 team members and has helped San Francisco nearly double the size of its canopy.

$30,000 from the perfect foundation

FUF Grants & Corporate Partnerships Manager, Aine Kimsey, felt like she had exhausted every last resource that could connect her with new grant opportunities.

When she heard that Instrumentl had launched, she signed up for the service right away. “I felt like I had been getting the same foundations in my searches. I was so excited about Instrumentl because it brought in a whole new scope of opportunities.”

Instrumentl matched FUF with a few dozen active grant opportunities including a private grant from a family foundation in Walnut Creek, California, only 30 miles from FUF’s office.

“That’s one of the things I love about Instrumentl, I’ve used the Foundation Center and I’ve never even heard of the Joseph and Vera Long Foundation, but they’re right in our backyard!”

The Long Foundation awarded FUF $30,000 for their Green Teens program to introduce disadvantaged youth in San Francisco to the green jobs market through vocational skills training and workforce development.

Winners do their homework

When Aine learned about the Long Foundation on Instrumentl she quickly reached out to them with a paragraph introducing FUF and a request for a phone call.

“If I see alignment with a funder, I want to find out what excites them about what they’re funding and what proposals stand out to them.”

If you do get a phone meeting with a prospective funder, Aine recommends bringing honesty and transparency into those conversations. “Transparency goes a long way with funders. It builds trust.”

A perfect alignment

Writing grant proposals is hard, but Aine has learned to tell a powerful story by leading conversations with “why” FUF does the work they do. Only after that does she move on to explaining “what” FUF does and “how” they do it.

A match is made between a grant-seeker and a grant-maker when they align on the “why,” but finding your “why” match isn’t easy and it can vary from project to project.

“One of my favorite things about Instrumentl is that you can really customize the recommendations. You can get matched for specific projects or you can be more broad.”

Instrumentl is proud to align with FUF and the Joseph and Vera Long Foundation on “why” greening our city, combating climate change, and supporting our residents matters.

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