Master Gardener Foundation of Washington State
Board Meeting
May 17, 2023

Held on Zoom


Vice President Cathi Lamoreaux opened the meeting at 6:00 pm. President Tana and Secretary John are both on vacation. Debra Kroon volunteered to take attendance and noted that a quorum has NOT been achieved. Officers present were Exec. VP Cathi Lamoreux, and Treasurer Gilbert Plascencia, as well as State Program Lead, Jennifer Marquis.


Pre-meeting conversations were filled with tales of Plant Sales around the state.


Cathi welcomed the group and noted a minor change in the agenda, that Erin’s report was shown twice.


Jennifer provided several updates on items from the March meeting. The National Extension Master Gardener Week was celebrated with lots of participation from around the country. Thanks to all who promoted it through social media and local events.

The Endowed chair campaign balance now stands at about $62,000. The recent “Cougs Give” campaign gained 64 donors who gave a combined $9,400. Thanks to all who helped make this successful. Just recently a challenge gift of $15,000 has been made to match, dollar for dollar, all contributions through September 23rd up to the $15K limit. It is hoped that this will help drive us over this year’s goal of $100K by year end! Work is being done to create marketing for the campaign. That will be shared with local chapters when it is ready.

50th Anniversary regional celebrations continue this weekend in Prosser at the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center. Thanks to Benton-Franklin, Yakima and Spokane Foundations for their sponsorship and planning in putting on this event.

Available now on the “50 Years and Counting” web page are: the 50th Anniversary Magazine, t-shirts, mugs, etc., and a new patch being sold by the Snohomish county foundation.

The new Master Gardener Manual is in the final stages of completion, undergoing editing. It is hoped that we will have it by the end of the year, and that it will be in Canvas for the 2024 training season. New chapters will include Climate change, Pollinators, Sustainable Gardening, and Health and Wellness effects of gardening.


Gilbert described the format of our financial reports, and presented the Balance Sheet and Budget vs Actual reports. There was little activity during April. Gilbert pointed out the restricted asset of $2,700 for Open Labs from which expenses to the web team will be paid, and the liability for 50th Magazine. We are collecting for magazine sales, and will pass that on to Program.

Question: Where is the balance of our Endowment Fund? Gilbert answered that that fund is technically owned by WSU, and so it does not appear on our books. On the last check, the balance was approximately $62,000.



John sent out the call for nominations for the state awards. Deadline for submission is July 1, 2023. All chapters are encouraged to send their nominations in. (Details of these awards can be found on our website.)

Jennifer noted that Presidential Award data has been sent to Washington DC.


Candice Gohn reported that AEC 2024 will be virtual, so no site is being researched. AEC 2025 is slated to be on the east side of the state and in person, but work on that site has not begun. Debbie Benbow said that our contact at the Wenatchee Convention Center has asked her for an RFP for 2025, since many bookings are coming in for future years. Debbie suggests we send RFPs to all potential sites soon.

Question: Are we considering a hybrid conference for 2025. At this point, adequate technology is difficult to find and its expense has shown to be prohibitive. However, that far into the future we may find conditions will improve, so that option will remain on the table. At this point, however, there are no plans for a hybrid conference.


No report.


Erin Landon is very pleased that the May issue of Seeds For Thought was the first to be produced on our website as a blog. It has received great reviews, includes video, and eliminates the need for sending a large file by email to subscribers.


AEC 2023

Debbie Benbow tells us that as of Sunday there are 47 registrations, including 3 non-MGs. Tours are filling up. A memo will come out soon to all chapters, describing the many ways they can help and participate in the conference. This notice describes who may be contacting them for specific tasks and opportunities.

All local chapters are encouraged to share information about the conference on their social media and through other contacts in their communities.

The next meeting for the AEC Planning Team has been rescheduled to a day later… June 13th and 9:00 am.


Don Enstrom shares that work on recruiting new sponsors is proceeding. Also, Gilbert has volunteered to contact prior year sponsors. A warm-touch personal appeal is warranted for these proven supporters.

If you know of potential local sponsors with whom you already have a relationship, please go ahead and contact them, using the sponsorship packet on the website. If you need help, please contact Don or others on the planning team.

Karen Russo announced that Grays Harbor/Pacific has voted to send a $1,000 sponsorship. Thank you so much!!


Jennifer reports that she has been contacted by the organizers of the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival with information on our potential participation in 2024. There are two options:

  • Judge Sponsorship: $2,500 – this is similar to our 2023 participation
  • Symposium Host: $3,500 – We would be named sponsor of three major speakers in the large 800-seat room on Saturday. In addition to the host fee, we would also be responsible for additional honoraria over $300 for each speaker.

Neither of these options would include a booth, as it did in 2023. Booth fee in ’23 was about $4,000. Depending on our choice of the above, and including speaker fees and miscellaneous expenses, our investment could range from about $8K to $14K or higher.

It is recommended that the Executive Committee take this up and make recommendation to the full board in July.

UFW (Unifying Foundation Websites)

Debbie Benbow reported that Pierce, Chelan-Douglas and Yakima sites are now live. King will go live later this week. Grays Harbor/Pacific expects to have their site complete this summer, and Island County is also now on board, and will likely be live later this summer or into fall.

A support page has been added, which includes help files and Open Lab recordings.

Recently we developed events for local chapter Plant Sales. That will likely expand to include any local foundation fund-raising activities.

Responding to a question, Debbie noted that the basic cost to have a site developed is $300.

Erin announced that Grays Harbor/Pacific has offered to contribute $1,000 to the Open Labs.


Cathi reviewed the outline for the proposed handbook for board members. Without a quorum we are unable to approve it, but it will come up again at the next full board meeting. Deborah Smeltzer suggested adding information about our Program Priorities and also about our Endowment to the handbook.


Still to be filled: AEC 2024 Director, Communications Director, Development Director. The committee is working on Job Descriptions.



Erin reported that the review team looked at all deposits, expenses, investments, and the 990 filing for last year. Everything was in order, and our finances are being properly shepherded and recorded. Suggestions were made to improve digital storage of records to facilitate simpler access and review.


This workshop is planned for July, and will be announced soon after Tana’s return. Patty Peterson will conduct the workshop which is open to all chapters as well as our board.


Erin reviewed her plans for a podcast series. Without a quorum we are unable to approve her proposal and budget of $250. It will be taken up again at our next meeting.

Discussion ensued about the possibility of voting on issues like this one, by using email or other technology in order to resolve items of importance between our quarterly meetings. Some recalled that the ability to vote by email was once available to us. We will research that in the coming weeks. Erin submits her report and proposal at this link, to share with all.


The meeting was adjourned at 7:23 p.m.