Interview with Brian Kempf

Current Position? Director, Urban Tree Foundation

What is/was your relationship to ReLeaf?

1996 – Marketing the Reddy Stake to the Network

1999 started Urban Tree Foundation in Albany area with Tony Wolcott (Albany)

2000ish to present – Network member

2000 – moved Urban Tree Foundation to Visalia.

What did/does California ReLeaf mean to you?

ReLeaf is able to provide different benefits to a diverse collection of nonprofits. Each nonprofit has their own specific set of skills and needs. For me and the Urban Tree Foundation, California ReLeaf’s primary benefit is the lobbying they accomplish. They are paying attention at the capital, day in and day out, for the network groups. They are keeping track of funding and what’s going on in Sacramento. This is a good thing for the network so that we can each concentrate on our own projects!

ReLeaf has been a great partner on our statewide projects which include education for professionals.

ReLeaf offers a sense of camaraderie especially at the network retreats. It’s fun to see people with similar vocations.

Best memory or event of California ReLeaf?

Way back – a favorite and fun conferences was the one in Santa Cruz. The conferences used to offer an opportunity to check in with other groups and have fun. It’s not always about the technical stuff. I miss the old format of the network conferences.

Why is it important that California ReLeaf continue its Mission?

Political winds change regularly. If somebody isn’t paying attention we may lose opportunities and it is hard to unwind decisions already made. It’s great to have ReLeaf paying attention, watching the policies and representing the network. They give the network a voice.

Also, there is sometimes a sense that nonprofits can’t not get along with cities. The ReLeaf network could benefit from learning to develop effective strategies for working with cities.