Cedar Tree's history


The Cedar Tree Foundation is a US focused family foundation created by the late pediatrician and entrepreneur, Dr. David H. Smith in the mid-1990s.  Dr. Smith believed in the power of individuals and organizations to make significant changes in the world and Cedar Tree’s grantmaking continues to reflect that belief.  The Cedar Tree Foundation supports change through two programs:  The David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship Program and The Cedar Tree Foundation Grant Program.  More information on each of these programs can be found below.


The David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship Program

In 1999, Dr. Smith created the David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship Program, a post-doctoral fellowship program which identifies and supports early career scientists working to solve real world problems.  The goal of the Smith Fellows program is to strength and support future world leaders and entrepreneurs in the application of conservation science.   The Smith Fellowship provides two years of postdoctoral support to outstanding early-career scientists, extensive training in communications, policy, and leadership as well as networking opportunities.  Cedar Tree funds 100% of the Program, which is currently administered by the Society of Conservation Biology.   To learn more, including how to apply, please click here.


Cedar Tree Grantmaking

Early Cedar Tree grants were given in support of local conservation issues, but in 2002, the Foundation established two main grant program areas: Environmental Health and Sustainable Agriculture, with an emphasis on environmental justice. 

Environmental Health interests supported by Cedar Tree grants include marketplace efforts to encourage industry to make voluntary changes that reduce human exposures to chemicals, and efforts to protect and empower those most vulnerable to environmental health hazards including women and children. 

In Sustainable Agriculture, the Foundation supports efforts to build the next generation of sustainable farmers, connect low-income urban populations with local, healthy food and agriculture, and promote market based solutions to expand the field.

Between 2002 and 2014, the Cedar Tree Foundation also made several smaller grants in Environmental Education, focusing specifically on increasing environmental education opportunities and learning for low-income communities of color in urban areas.

While the programs mentioned above represent the majority of Cedar Tree's grantmaking, periodically the Foundation supports compelling Civic Engagement opportunities as well as environmental projects in specifically targeted issue areas and/or geographic regions.

In 2015, Cedar Tree embarked upon a strategic planning process for future work.  This process is ongoing and will most likely impact future granting interests.   Please check Cedar Tree’s Letters of Inquiry page for up to date information about the Foundation’s current priorities.