Master Gardener Foundation of Washington State
–DRAFT MINUTES– Executive Board Meeting
March 6, 2024

Held on Zoom


Present were: President Tana, Exec VP Cathi, Treasurer Gilbert, Secretary John, State Program Lead Jennifer, Past President Don, Erin Hoover, Debbie Benbow, Melody Westmoreland, and Kathy Brenberger


President Tana opened the meeting at 4:00 pm. Some members notified they will join late, so the sequence of agenda items will adjust accordingly.


Gilbert presented the Balance Sheet and Income Statement. Details he pointed out include:

  • Two new CDs for $10,000 each were purchased
  • Accounts Receivable for $9,500 includes billings for 2024 UFW fees, and $8,500 for Ohio State Univ. Extension Master Gardener National Committee (EMGNC).
  • Accounts Payable includes $20K remaining to LiveOak, to be paid after AEC, and $6K for this year’s NW Floral and Garden Festival (NWFGF)
  • Also, a $3K advance payment for 2025 NWFGF (contingent on full board approval in two weeks.)

In regard to NWFGF, Jennifer commented that WSU Extension is encouraging collaboration among county programs, and with programs from other states. NWFGF is a prime example of that kind of collaboration. She appreciates our participation and encouragement of this activity.

  • About one third of the comments made by visitors to the NWFGF booth were inquiries about becoming a MG.
  • Understanding of our nine priorities was greatly increased.
  • The Endowed Chair appeal was significantly enhanced.

Cathi L suggested we propose making the NWFGF an annual event, notifying all local presidents and Program Coordinators, so their participation and contributions can be planned / budgeted in advance. It was agreed to present that idea at our full board meeting this month.


Jennifer described in some detail how she is organizing her Program Advisory Committee. This group will help her with data, new activities and projects, outreach, evaluation, communication and program/foundation relations.

Requirements to volunteer for this committee include:

  • Must be current or emeritus certified master gardener in Washington, or a member of WSU Extension staff
  • Possess good communication skills
  • Able to think strategically and analyze facts and inputs
  • Willing to commit an average of about 3 hours per month
  • Able to maintain strict confidentiality

Diversity, both ethnic and geographic, is important. Representation on this committee will be from each of four regions of the state, plus one from MGFWS.

Interested volunteers should submit a letter of interest, with qualifications, to Jennifer by March 24th. Please spread the word in local areas.

AEC 2024

Cathi reported that the program committee’s work will heat up soon, with presenter proposals coming in already, and a deadline of March 11. The committee will begin reviewing them on March 22.

  • Debbie will schedule the first AEC Planning Team meeting for March 13, at 10:00 am.
  • More help is needed with sponsors. The effort to recruit sponsors must be spread statewide. The AEC website contains complete sponsor information and the ability to donate.
  • We have a volunteer to head up communication and marketing. A marketing idea to encourage registration is that the conference presents the opportunity for 35 classes (CE) at an average of only $3.00/class. (Registration will be $109.)
  • An MOA with Extension is in the works, with Jennifer’s help.

Cathi notes that it is important to begin work soon on AEC 2025. Tana asked that John begin to investigate technology requirements for different conference ideas. Jennifer noted that WSU has launched plans to have dispersed education sites around the state, particularly in rural areas, with high-level technology. She will send that information to John.


Tana asked for input on the goals put forward in her list of MGFWS Structure and Bylaws Thoughts. It was noted that all of the goals are interrelated and important. In selecting the top three, all of them will be touched on. Consensus found that first in importance is “Board membership/recruitment” combined with “Board development and training.” Next comes “Communication,” which will be addressed when our new Communications Director, Steve Spitzer, is approved. “AEC (and NWFGF) Operations,” while listed third, rounds out the top three goals of nearly equal importance.


Most discussion surrounded how we wish to define the Executive Board. Should committee chairs be official members of the Executive Board, or only elected officers. More to come.


  • As the meeting ran out of time, Discussion of Policies was postponed.
  • In response to Tana’s inquiry, both Gilbert and John agreed to run again for their offices of Treasurer and Secretary.
  • Kathy B. announced that this year will be her last as chair of the Awards Committee.
  • Tana will send out directions on how our MGFWS Board endowment challenge will work as part of the “Cougs Give” event upcoming in April. No specific donation amount will be required.


The meeting was adjourned at approximately 6:15 p.m.