Connecting through the Unifying Foundation Websites project

The Unifying Foundation Websites (UFW) Project
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Since the founding of the Extension Master Gardener program in 1973, Foundations have been formed to supplement WSU funding to optimize the effectiveness of each County’s program.  This alignment at the county level brought forth county specific websites to further the Foundation’s efforts.

Over the years, more than two dozen websites evolved using differing technologies and sporting varying aesthetics.  The result was a patchwork effect with little overall relationship to each other or to the Washington State University Extension Master Gardener Program. The UFW project is dedicated to improving our website presence in the following ways:

Family of Websites

UFW sites are designed so that it is apparent that we are all related. But each County/Chapter is given design freedom to highlight what makes their county unique.

We take a similar approach to our affiliation with Washington State University: the alignment with the Extension Master Gardener program is clear, but there are enough differences that the visitor knows they are on a different, but related site.

Common Technology

UFW sites use the same technology, selected to closely align with the tools used by WSU for their sites.  UFW sites also share a common naming structure to make it easier to find us in internet searches. 

With these commonalities, UFW sites are easier to develop and maintain.  A growing community of Master Gardener volunteers can teach and support each other, ensuring that UFW sites stay fresh while keeping our support costs low.


Strength through Unity

The Extension Master Gardener Program is one of the largest volunteer organizations in the state. Few people know that fact. To demonstrate the size and scope of our organization as well as to strengthen our ‘family ties’, we ensure that every UFW site is linked to all our others: Program & Foundation at the state and county levels; county to county across the state; and linkages to each county’s social media platforms. UFW has connections to everything, all in one place.

Open Labs

UFW Site Administrators meet via zoom, twice a month. We call these meetings “Open Labs“. In these recorded meetings we cover a range of topics: answering site specific questions & issues; help new sites coming on-board learn the technologies involved; and cover advanced topics for the more veteran administrators.

The goal is to bring everyone along so that we form a community of volunteers dedicated to helping each other. Historically, several counties have felt isolated because they relied on technology unique to their site. When they got ‘stuck’, help was limited and administrators as well as Foundation Executives could feel trapped. By building a community of support and using common technologies, we have an ever-widening group of volunteers who can help each other through technological challenges. You are no longer alone.

Migration Project Management

The initial migration to UFW is the time when you need the most support. Because we want every county to be successful, we maximize our support at this time by assigning you a Project Manager. The job of the Project Manager is to work with your team to get to a ‘version 1.0’ of your new UFW site. The act of creating the new site is the project we use to train you on the technology. So, you will have your own personal contact who will help you every step of the way to teach you how to build your site.
Once built, the site is yours. You are free to change it to your heart’s content. In fact, we encourage that because websites are living things and we always want you moving forward with your new site.

2024 UFW Pricing

UFW is priced with a goal of getting every Foundation to join the family.

$300 – ONE-TIME charge – – Migration to the UFW platform which includes all the technology, access to Open Labs and Migration Project Management. You will be invoiced after you ‘go live’ and are satisfied with the project.

$300 – Annually, invoiced in first quarter. – – This covers the annual hosting and technology fees we pay to third parties to support the platform.  In addition, all members continue to gain access to the twice monthly Open Labs support infrastructure.

We greatly appreciate the generosity of those Chapters with the budget flexibility to offer an additional Sponsorship fee to ensure we cover our costs. But this is not a requirement to participate. We want every Foundation to join and fully understand if you don’t have the resources to go further than the $300 / $300 listed above.