December 17 – January 24, 2022
Note: while much of the focus of this course is on food and farming community-led nonprofits, students interested in organizing around “non-food” topics will also find this course valuable and are welcome!
Course Description: Nonprofit organizations can be a strong voice for the local food movement! Whether you’re looking to build a new community garden, change city policy for backyard chickens, improve working conditions for farmworkers, or establish a neighborhood food bank, chances are, there’s a nonprofit near you with a similar mission. This course will discuss the foundations of nonprofit work including how to start your own nonprofit organization. We’ll research and review how to plan and implement successful programs; how to find the funds to execute your mission; and how to work with members of the community to reach your goals. From grant writing and fundraising to advocacy and marketing, learn the basics of how community-based nonprofits are on the forefront of sustainable and local food initiatives across the country.
Instructor: Jennifer Santry
Instructor Bio: Jen Santry has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 15 years as an environmental educator, land and animal conservationist, and local food advocate. She received her Master’s in Nonprofit Management from Regis University and a Bachelor’s in Zoology from the University of Oklahoma. She is currently a doctoral student in Educational Sustainability at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. As the Community Programs Director at the High Country Conservation Center in Summit County, Colorado, Jen established sustainable food programs including community gardens, K-12 educational programs, college student-run CSAs, and urban farming policies. She’s been a volunteer, a grant writer, a board member, an office administrator, and an executive director for several nonprofits over the years. Jen currently lives on her farmstead in Sequim, WA, and works at Peninsula College as an instructor and educational planner. She’s excited to share her experiences facilitating groundbreaking, local food and farming programs.
Student Learning Objectives – students will:
- Explore the various types of nonprofit organizations focusing on community food and farm programs.
- Identify the legal and organizational requirements for starting a new nonprofit organization.
- Examine best practices for program development and execution.
- Gain experience in researching and writing grants for nonprofit funding.
- Realize your potential to engage the public in your nonprofit’s mission.
Credits: 3 (transferable from UMass to other universities)
Class size: Limited to 15
Course Outline and Weekly Topics
Module 1: Overview of Farm and Sustainable Food-Related Nonprofit Organizations – History and background, Environmental Service Learning and Civic Engagement
Module 2: How to Start a Nonprofit Organization – Determining mission and vision, applying for nonprofit status, creative leadership, ethics and values,
building a Board, organizational structure
Module 3: Program Development – Budgeting for programs, meeting community needs, measuring your success, and fee-for-service opportunities (CSAs, Garden Plot Fees, Educational Workshops, Farm Stands…)
Module 4: Grant Writing and Fundraising – Making a profit, searching for grants, donor stewardship, grant application process, and strategic fundraising
Module 5: Volunteer and Community Outreach – Public policy, advocacy, grassroots organizing, coordinating volunteers, marketing your message to the public, working with local municipalities (building community gardens, urban farming legislation, food policy councils…)
Module 6: Strategic Planning and Fulfilling Your Mission – Coming full circle on concepts you have learned, planning for the future, sustaining your organization, leading the food movement
Grades will be assessed as follows:
- 5 Online Discussions (“Food Blog”) 300 points
- 4 Quizzes 200 points
- Nonprofit Spotlight Paper 150 points
- Program Proposal 150 points
- Grant Application Narrative 200 points
TOTAL POINTS 1,000 points
Grades will be assigned as follows
A = 95-100 total points
A – = 90-94
B+ = 87-89
B = 83-86
B- = 80-82
C+ = 77-79|
C = 73-76
C- = 70-72
D+ = 67-69
D = 60-66
F = 59 or below
This class is part of the Sustainable Food and Farming Online Certificate Program and will count toward the Associate of Science degree as well as the Online B.S. degree. Online classes cost $482/credit.
To begin planning for the future, see….
NOTE: The UMass Sustainable Food and Farming Certificate has been declared eligible for Veterans Educational Benefits. For instructions see: Veterans Benefits.
If you are not interested in earning college credit, there are many non-credited workshops and short courses you can take outside of the university. For a list see: non-university workshops and courses.