The GardenWorks Project is a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit. Over 200 talented and passionate volunteers come together to build organic vegetable gardens at the homes of our neighbors in need of food pantry assistance.

July 14, 2017 - Learn more about our opening for a new Executive Director.

Could you be the next integral part of our team? We are currently looking for board and committee members to focus on our marketing, fundraising and technology. If you would like to be considered for a board or committee position, please complete our application or contact us for further details. 



David Rhodes, President
David started with The GardenWorks Project in 2016, and he’s been a gardener for almost 20 years. He finds building gardens and coaching clients a great way to apply that passion, helping to help others see how easy and rewarding growing your own food can be. David earned his BA from Rice University and his MBA from Texas Tech University. Most of his career has been leading software development teams in Chicago’s financial services. David will apply his passion and skills in growing food at home in his role as Director of Programs. He misses Texas during the cold months since that usually means sidelining both gardening and golf.


Kathy Hebert, Volunteer Management
Kathy started gardening as a hobby 8 years ago with a flower garden featuring native plants. She has since planted for pollinators, hummingbirds, and butterflies and has added vegetable gardens. She finds gardening to be relaxing, and her daughter (another GardenWorks volunteer) cooks with their harvests. Kathy is active in Special Olympics and Blessings in a Backpack. She became a volunteer with GardenWorks a year ago and enjoys seeing the excitement of the clients when a build is completed and when she goes back to visit the clients that she coaches. Kathy is a retired special education teacher and hopes to continue to use her teaching skills with GardenWorks.


Jess Buttimer, Information Technology
Jess has a long history of exploring and exploiting new technologies to digitize, organize, and optimize. It all began with a database for her dad's tools, transitioned to CRM systems for Nuveen Investments, and culminated in a custom intranet for User Centric (now GfK). Jess now tinkers with technology for The GardenWorks Project, Prairie Food Co-op, and her PTA. Fond childhood memories of eating straight from the garden and a desire for local, organic, and sustainable food prompted Jess to grow an edible and native landscape at her Glen Ellyn home. Her two daughters love to dig in the dirt, sight new blooms, and harvest fresh and flavorful produce. It's a taste and a memory Jessica wishes for all families so she has been volunteering with GardenWorks since 2014.

Matt Tansley, Secretary

Matt Tansley, Secretary
Since joining The GardenWorks Project team in 2013, Matt has helped to secure recognition for the organization as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. He has a Master of Urban Planning degree and currently works as a Land Use Planner for a local government agency with a focus toward protecting agricultural lands and promoting sustainable local food systems. In the warmer months, Matt enjoys exploring new places by bike and playing ultimate frisbee.


David Malecek, Treasurer
Dave is an Executive Division Associate at Apex CPAs & Consultants with expertise in business optimization and operational finance, with a focus on growing profitably. He is a Certified Public Accountant with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Masters of Business Administration from Northern Illinois University. Dave lives in the Fox Valley with his lovely wife Heather and their three remarkable children. When not working, Dave likes outdoor activities (fishing, hiking, skiing, & kayaking), spending time with friends and family, reading the Bible, and learning.

Jeannie Iseman, Education
Both sharing a passion for gardening and community building, Jeannie Iseman and her husband have spent many years using their backyard as an informal community garden for friends and neighbors. Upon hearing about the Gardenworks Project, Jeannie was fascinated by their vision and mission and joined the board in late 2016. Jeannie has a Masters Degree in Public Policy, and a background in social services, but most days you will find Jeannie chasing her three small children around or serving as a worship leader at her church. She is also an RYT-200 yoga instructor since 2011 and especially loves practicing yoga outdoors.


Amy Hebert, Member-at-Large

Amy Hebert, Member-at-Large
Amy started gardening 8 years ago because she wanted to start a vegetable garden to support her love of cooking fresh food.  It has grown from a few tomato and basil plants to a garden full of fresh vegetables. She has a BS in Health Science from Benedictine University and a PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology from UIC. She is an assistant professor of biology at Elmhurst College.  In her free time she enjoys playing with her 2 Labs, cooking, gardening, watching the Packers and Cubs, and volunteering with various non-profits.

Sabrina Lear, Member-at-Large

Sabrina Lear, Member-at-Large
Sabrina began volunteering in the fall of 2014 when she moved to Illinois with her husband, Quinn, who is in dental school. Originally from Oregon, she wanted to volunteer in the community and was looking for an organization that was involved in suburban agriculture. Sabrina graduated from Oregon State University in June 2010 with a bachelor's degree in Crop and Soil Science with a focus in Crop Management. Sabrina and Quinn have participated in several garden builds and strongly believe in The GardenWorks Project's mission. Besides spending too much time in her front-yard veggie garden, Sabrina currently volunteers with her church youth group, is the office manager at the DuPage Foundation, and is pursuing a master's degree in Nonprofit Administration from North Park University in Chicago, Illinois.


Laura Fletcher, Member-at-Large
Laura took up gardening about 8 years ago, planting mainly wild grasses and shade plants. She was hooked and before you know it she was spending much of her time researching books or hanging out at the local garden centers, purchasing different shade plants as well as flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. As a kid, she remembers always having fresh tomatoes and cucumbers during the summer months. So, two summers ago she decided to start a vegetable garden. When she’s not busy relaxing in her gardens, she spends her weekends at the race track as a crew member on her husband’s drag racing team. During the winter, she enjoys cheering on her beloved Chicago Blackhawks.


Tina Koral, Executive Director

Tina Koral, Executive Director
Tina founded The GardenWorks Project in 2011 and now serves as its Executive Director. Tina holds a Master of Public Health, a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, an Associates in Horticulture and over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Tina serves on the College of DuPage Horticulture Department Advisory Committee and volunteers with her PTO and Girl Scouts. In her spare time, Tina enjoys finding new places to hike with her family, gardening, raising her backyard chickens, yoga, and rowing crew on the Fox River.



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