Establish a voluntary Tree Fund people can donate to that will go towards strategically planting more storm resilient trees in city parks and along the waterfront

By having the resources to plant more trees in your community, your city or town can improve storm resiliency, reduce stormwater runoff, improve air quality, reduce air conditioning costs, and improve the community’s aesthetics, while promoting economic development.  Establishing a tree fund allows the costs associated with planting these storm-resistant trees to be passed on to those willing to donate funds. Any municipality can create a Tree Fund by simply adopting a local ordinance.

Use these materials to advance this solution in your city:

POLICY MEMO Re: Establishing a Tree Fund

Tree Funds provide multiple benefits without adding to the budget problems that affect our towns and cities in New Jersey and around the country. Planting shade trees reduces the amount of stormwater runoff and improves air quality, reduces air conditioning costs, and improves a town or city’s aesthetics while promoting economic development. Shade trees cost money to plant, however, and funds are not easy to come by. 

Establishing a Tree Fund makes it possible to collect money from private sources to plant the trees by providing an incentive for individuals and business entities to sponsor tree growth in their communities. Planting shade trees is important to the local environment. Shade trees help to absorb rainwater, preventing the runoff from flooding local drainage systems and infecting our water supply. Trees produce oxygen, improving the air quality and, subsequently, the overall health of the community. Furthermore, trees and vegetation add to the aesthetic look of a town or city, which helps improve the perception of a given area. They also absorb carbon, reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases. Therefore, it is in the best interests of a municipality to invest in the planting of shade trees and other vegetation. 

Establishing a tree fund allows the costs associated with planting shade trees to be passed on to those willing to donate funds. When a municipality establishes a tree fund, it can allow individuals and businesses to sponsor a tree to be planted in their name or someone else’s name. For businesses, this is a simple way to show that they are invested in a community. For individuals, a shade tree can represent a small dedication or memorial in a loved one’s name. Meanwhile, the municipality is not spending its own money. By establishing a Tree Fund, a municipality takes steps towards improving the local physical and economic environment without hurting the budget.


WHEREAS, the Governing Body recognizes that aside from the social and communal benefits associated with tree plantings, a municipal tree planting program also improves the air quality and reduces stormwater runoff; and 

WHEREAS, this reduction in stormwater runoff generates a cost savings to the municipality; and WHEREAS, the Governing Body has an interest in creating opportunities for residents and other individuals to assist the municipality in achieving such cost savings and also contributing to the social and communal health of the [enter form of municipality, i.e. township, town, borough, city]; and WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:5-29 allows for the acceptance of gifts, and requires that the gifts be utilized in accordance with the donor’s conditions, as long as they are lawful. 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT ORDAINED by the [name of municipality], of [name of county] and the State of New Jersey that [enter new section being created] is hereby established as follows: 

SECTION 1. There shall be established by this article a Shade Tree Trust Fund for the purposes set forth in this article. 

(1) Dedication of funds. All funds collected as a contribution shall be deposited in a dedicated account clearly designated as the “Shade Tree Trust Fund”. All funds so deposited shall be used for the planting and maintenance of trees. 

(2) Administration of funds. The “Shade Tree Trust Fund” shall be administered by the Chief Financial Officer, who shall report to the Governing Body and the Shade Tree Commission on a quarterly basis detailing the use of the fund. 

SECTION 2. Contributions To The “Shade Tree Trust Fund” (1) Any resident, individual or corporate entity may make a contribution to the “Shade Tree Trust Fund” which contribution shall directly fund the acquisition, planting and maintenance of a tree. (2) A contributor may request the contribution memorialize a family member or other individual who is a resident or former resident of the community (Optional – and an appropriate memorial shall be provided) 

SECTION 3. Selection of Trees and Planting Location (1) The selection of tree species as well as the location of plantings shall be coordinated and administered by the municipal Shade Tree Commission or, if there be none, by the Department of Public Works. 

SECTION 4. All ordinances or parts thereof which are inconsistent or in conflict with the provisions of this ordinance or any part thereof are hereby repealed to the extent of said inconsistency or conflict. 

SECTION 5. Severability and Effectiveness Clause: If any sentence, paragraph or section of this ordinance, or the application thereof to any persons or circumstances shall be adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, or if by legislative action any sentence, paragraph or section of this ordinance shall lose its force and effect, such judgment or action shall not affect, impair or void the remainder of this ordinance. 

SECTION 6. This Ordinance shall take effect as provided by law.