Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q.  What does “TREE Fund” stand for?

A.  Tree Research and Education Endowment Fund.

Q.  Is TREE Fund a non-profit organization?

A.  Yes, it is a 501c3 charitable organization incorporated in Illinois. The IRS determination letter and TREE Fund Articles of Incorporation (“bylaws”) can be found here. TREE Fund’s tax ID number is #37-1018692

Q.  What does TREE Fund do?

A.  Primarily, TREE Fund gives grants to scientific researchers studying tree health and the connection of trees and people. TREE Fund also offers several scholarships for students entering the field of arboriculture. TREE Fund offers a series of free webinars on the findings of tree research. Each webinar offers one (1) continuing education credit (CEU) to arborists working toward certification by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).

Since its founding in 2002, the TREE Fund have given more than $5.4 million for tree research and education.

Q.  Since it’s incorporated in Illinois, are all of its grants given in Illinois?

A.  No. Thus far, TREE Fund has made research grants to fund tree science in 37 states and 15 foreign nations.

Q.  Who owns TREE Fund?

A.  No one. By law, a public nonprofit–like TREE Fund–cannot be owned by a person or a group of people. Nonprofit organizations are separate legal entities from their founders, incorporators, directors, officers, and employees.

Q.  Who runs TREE Fund?

A.  TREE Fund is governed by its volunteer board of trustees, the members of which are elected by the board. The board sets high-level policy and strategic plans to achieve TREE Fund’s mission. TREE Fund is directed by a staff of paid, nonprofit professionals who advise the board, implement the board’s directives, and manage day-to-day operations.

Q.  Who serves on the TREE Fund Board of Trustees?

A.  Traditionally, the board has been composed of arboriculture professionals, researchers, and college-level educators. In recent years, TREE Fund has recognized the wisdom of greater diversity and joined the nonprofit movement to recruit trustees from beyond the traditional groups. The chief criteria are now an ability and willingness to advance TREE Fund’s mission and a preference and capacity for high-level, strategic thinking.

Q.  How is TREE Fund funded?

A.  Charitable donations and the investment earnings on endowed funds; the endowments were created by charitable donations.

Q.  Are donations to TREE Fund tax deductible?

A.  Yes. TREE Fund’s tax ID number is #37-1018692

Q.  Can I purchase a membership in TREE Fund?

A.  No, TREE Fund is not a membership organization.

Q.  How do I know I can trust TREE Fund as a charity.

A.  TREE Fund has earned the highest rating for transparency from Guidestar/Candid.  TREE Fund is independently audited every year (find audited financial reports and annual tax filings here). The minutes of TREE Fund’s governing board meetings and TREE Fund’s annual reports are made public here.

Q. How do I know my donations are being used effectively on behalf of tree science and education?

A.  TREE Fund recently commissioned a study of its history, effectiveness, and accomplishments.  The report of that study can be found here.

Q.  How can I learn about the research and projects TREE Fund has supported?

A.  Go here. 

Q.  To whom is TREE Fund accountable?

A.  As a public nonprofit, TREE Fund is accountable to many constituencies, including:

  • Donors. TREE Fund must honor the wishes of the generous people and organizations that set up endowment funds or make restricted gifts. Even unrestricted gifts create an ethical obligation to ensure they are used to further TREE Fund mission.
  • The general public. Like most nonprofits that are created to provide a charitable purpose to the public good, TREE Fund is obligated to serve the public good through funding scientific research and education.
  • Illinois. Nonprofits must comply with certain regulations and requirements in the states in which they are incorporated. Because TREE Fund is international in both grant-making and fundraising, it must also comply with the regulations of a great many state governments.
  • The IRS. TREE Fund must follow rules set by the IRS to keep its tax-exempt status.