Tina Koral, Founder and Executive Director of The GardenWorks Project, lists her ten favorite 2014 accomplishments for the organization below.
1. Built 22 new spring gardens, giving 169 people access to the fresh, organic, homegrown produce. Later, we provided families with fall plants and seeds, extending their harvests beyond summer.
2. Worked with over 100 fantastic volunteers who were so eager to help build gardens, raise funds, do administrative work, and anything else that needed to happen so that we could continue this work that means so much to us.
3. Achieved 501c3 nonprofit status from the IRS, allowing our donors to claim tax exemptions for their contributions.
4. Held our first community garden gleaning event, rescuing over 100 pounds of produce that would have otherwise been left to rot. It was donated to the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry to feed the hungry in our community.
5. Appointed our inaugural board of directors who are already taking the organization to the next level!
6. Strengthened our development program and received grants from Applegate, The Home Gardening Foundation, and the Fermata Charitable Foundation.
7. Forged a new partnership with the Neighborhood Pantries at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, bringing gardens to Warrenville families in need.
8. Volunteer educators taught our clients and the public how to start seeds indoors, compost, grow food organically, prepare and preserve their harvest, and grow into the fall and winter.
9. Received our first corporate sponsorship from LUSH Handmade Cosmetics, who shared our program information on thousands of containers of their Charity Pot lotion in 176 stores across the country.
10. Participated in the WBEZ and Chicago Cares Day of Service.
We could not have done this work without our truly dedicated volunteers, generous donors, and courageous clients. Thank YOU, and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2015!