“Guiding Our Growth”:
Our 2024-2026 Strategic Plan

Since the founding of Speak for the Trees in 2018, our mission has been to grow Boston’s tree canopy as a way to support social, environmental, and racial equity throughout the city.

After 5 years of growth, the board and staff recognized the need to examine our past work and chart our future path.

Over the course of nine months, our team of staff, consultants, and board members interviewed over 40 individuals throughout Boston, analyzed five years of our finances, and spent hours in conversation thinking through the challenges and opportunities that the organization faces. We want to thank all of the people involved for their time, insight, and expertise.

Our New Mission Statement

Our original mission statement from 2018 — to improve the size, health, and equity of the urban tree canopy in Boston, with a focus on under-resourced and under-canopied neighborhoodsdid not fully capture the values and goals of the organization. To guide our strategic planning process and our collective work, the staff and board worked collaboratively to reimagine the mission statement in a way that better captured the intent and focus of why and how we do our work.

Our new mission statement now reads:

“Speak for the Trees works together with Boston community members to plant, preserve, care for, and advocate for trees and expand canopy in order to rebuild resilient neighborhoods and safeguard the health of all residents, repairing historic injustices that persist today as environmental inequities in urban communities.”

Our strategic priorities – Programs That Make a Difference, Partnerships for Impact, Diverse Funding, and Holistic Operating Practices – flow from this updated mission and were designed for tangible impact. We invite you to explore them in further detail below.

Our Strategic Priorities

The Goal

Work collaboratively with partners to preserve, maintain, and expand the tree canopy in low-canopy communities by engaging, educating, and empowering residents.

Guiding Strategies

  • Tree Canopy Growth Through Planting: Increase tree canopy through the planting of 150 climate-appropriate trees per year and the distribution of 900 free trees pear year, empowering residents to contribute to a greener city
  • Educational Programs: Provide career exploration and lessons about urban forestry by offering age-appropriate indoor and outdoor curricula and nine place-based tree walks to Boston Public School students
  • Distributed Tree Care: Train six youth groups by 2026 on how to properly care for trees in their communities
  • Community Engagement: Provide ongoing and regular learning and volunteer opportunities for residents to learn about, steward, and advocate for trees in their community
  • Advocacy: Position the organization as a leading voice in Boston for sustained and improved tree canopy coverage

The Goal

Develop mutually beneficial, collaborative, respectful, and impactful partnerships to further awareness about, sustainability of, and capacity for the mission.

Guiding Strategies

  • Increase Partnerships: Add 15 new community partners in environmental justice neighborhoods by the end of 2026
  • Community-Centric Approach: Center community feedback and needs and ensure that outreach is culturally and linguistically appropriate to make a meaningful impact
  • Diverse Collaborations: Build and deepen partnerships with local and national organizations and funders by attending five community meetings per month
  • Strengthen Government Relationships: Improve and maintain ties with government entities through regular communication with elected officials and municipal employees and through annual audits of organization alignment with Boston’s Urban Forest Plan

The Goal

Increase annual revenue to $1.45 million by 2026 through the development of a sustainable, robust, and diverse revenue portfolio.

Guiding Strategies

  • Increase Unrestricted Funds: Grow individual giving by 10% annually through fundraising campaigns, including annual appeals and fundraising events, and deepen and increase donor giving
  • Board Participation: Increase board giving by 10% annually through engagement in development activities that ensure a collective effort in securing the necessary resources to support organizational growth
  • Strategic Communication: Develop a robust communication system that enhances engagement with funders and fosters long-term relationships
  • Grow Government Corporate, and Foundation Grants: Increase grants by government, corporations, and foundations by 10% annually

The Goal

Create, nurture, and regenerate operating practices and organizational structures that are adaptable, allow for intentional growth, and develop a trusting culture while supporting the health and foundation of Speak for the Trees, its programs, partnerships, and employees.

Guiding Strategies

  • Adaptable Operations: Create streamlined, integrated, and measurable collaboration systems rooted in organizational values of equity to ensure effectiveness and efficiency
  • Inclusive Culture: Cultivate a culture of openness, acceptance, growth, and learning to foster success and innovation through ongoing conversations, pulse surveys, and culture audits
  • Equitable HR Systems: Increase commitment to racial equity internally through HR systems that support staff well-being, diversity, and personal and professional growth
  • Community Representation: Develop responsive community committees and inclusive board and staff structures that align with the mission and the needs of the communities served

Our Plan for Growth

Scroll between the graphs below to explore our operational and programmatic plans for growth.


You can also download it as a pdf.

Thank you

A heartfelt thank you to all who helped develop this strategic plan:

  • Empower Success Corps (ESC) Consultants: Charlie Arsenault, Jane Mann, Randy Mason, and Jon Reuman
  • Speak for the Trees Staff: David Meshoulam, Claire Corcoran, Mekhi Edge, Jerel Ferguson, Victoria Frothingham, MarS McCormick, Joshua Reed, and Julia Rudolph
  • Speak for the Trees Board: Liz Luc Clowes, Christine Araujo, Danielle Kaplan, and Tracy Sopchak
  • Everyone who donated their time, suggestions, and feedback
  • And you! Your continued involvement and support will ensure that we can continue to preserve and expand Boston’s tree canopy, foster environmental awareness, empower communities, and improve the lives of all residents. We invite you to join us in our growth. You can donate at treeboston.org/donate/online/