Cedar Tree's history


The Cedar Tree Foundation is a U.S. 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 a suite of grant programs.  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 strengthen 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.



Early Cedar Tree grants were given in support of local conservation issues, but from 2002 to 2016, the Foundation established two focused multi-year strategy program areas:

Environmental Health: Cedar Tree supported efforts to protect and empower those most vulnerable to environmental health hazards including women and children through a variety of campaigns and strategies, including marketplace efforts to encourage industry to make voluntary changes to decrease exposures to toxic chemicals; and

Sustainable Agriculture: Cedar Tree supported efforts to build the next generation of sustainable farmers, connect urban populations with local, health food and agriculture, and promote market based solutions to expand the field. 

During these years, Cedar Tree also funded select opportunities in Environmental Education, and Civic Engagement along with other more general environmental issues. To read details around historical grant themes click here.

In 2016, the Foundation completed an intensive strategic visioning process which informed the selection of new programmatic funding areas.   In June 2017 the Cedar Tree Foundation launched two grantmaking programs: the Children’s Environmental Health Initiative and the Regenerative Grazing Initiative, both of which have their own grant guidelines and application processes, available for review in Cedar Tree’s Current Funding Priorities Tab.  

In addition, Cedar Tree maintains a list of current funding priorities in specific geographic and environmental issue areas.   It is likely that new areas of programmatic interest will be added over time, so check back to this site often (or sign up for our email notifications and we’ll contact you as the site is updated).



Updated 9/2019