Montgomery Countryside Alliance, Inc.

aka MCA   |   Poolesville, MD   |  www.mocoalliance.org

Mission

Advocate for land use and transportation policies that enhance agriculture and land preservation.  
Educate about the environmental, economic and recreational benefits of local farmland and local food. 
Support local farms to strengthen our rural economy.
Celebrate the beauty and abundance of the Ag Reserve.
Conserve the economic value and rural landscape of the Ag Reserve for current and future generations of the region.

Notes from the nonprofit

MCA is a lean, award winning organization with a track record of victories for our family farmers and the residents of Montgomery County- we would be honored to have your support. Annual memberships that fuel our work all year start at just $25. http://bit.ly/1hJ4cfM

Ruling year info

2001

Co-President

Mr. Gene Kingsbury

Co-President

Mr. Jim O'Connell

Main address

PO Box 24

Poolesville, MD 20837 USA

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Formerly known as

Solutions Not Sprawl

EIN

52-2294213

NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (K01)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Overview

As an advocacy organization, Montgomery Countryside Alliance, Inc. has three program areas: support of farmers, education and advocacy. Through our educational activities, we raise awareness among county residents on the importance of agriculture and farmland. As advocates for this rural area, the Montgomery Countryside Alliance encourages citizens to contact their elected officials on important land use and transportation issues. Through public testimony, legislative monitoring, grassroots mobilization, public education and coalition building, Montgomery Countryside Alliance, Inc. builds awareness and encourages action. We support farmers through programs that promote agriculture not just a continuing way of life in Montgomery County but also a a career- focusing on profitability and better connectivity for both new and old farmers.

Population(s) Served

Land Link is a means to help new and expanding farmers find land for long term lease or other stable arrangement that encourages the viability of farms. Land in Montgomery County is often too pricey for new farmers but like much of the nation the average age of farmers is 57. We are seeking creative partnerships between farmers and landowners to grow the new farms that will in turn grow our region's food. Learn more at mocolandlink.org- new matches will also be announced on the site, or see the 'impact" section of our Guidestar profile for more information.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

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Awards

2011-2012 Honoree "One of the Best" Small Nonprofits in Greater DC 2011

Catalogue For Philanthropy - Greater Washington

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

-Montgomery County's Ag Reserve maintained as a "working landscape" . The Reserve must fulfill its potential and promise as a viable community to farms on the edge of a growing metro region.
-Increased local food production and distribution
-Agriculture preserved as a way of life and a career
-New farm ventures started and stable for the long term.
-Local students educated about the importance of farms and local food
-Protected water resources

At Montgomery Countryside Alliance, our activities could be summed up in two words: "We Connect". MCA is a lean organization but we compound our strength by building coalitions and partnerships with other organizations and facilitate connections between existing resources of complementary strengths; landowners with new farmers, farmers with institutions, students with a 93,000 acre classroom, residents with healthy local food, and the farming sector with new solutions they have been clamoring for. We achieve our goals with the following programs and initiatives:

Farmer Support:
- Our Producers Listserve and Annual Producers Summits build community- both online with our listserve community of more than 100 local farmers, farm market managers and local food advocates and in person as we gather each year to discuss impediments to local farm profitability.

-Our Land Link program came out of one of those Producers Summits. When farmers were asked to identify the hurdles to starting or expanding farms- the exorbitant price of land was at the top of the list. Land Link connects landowners offering long term leases with new and expanding farmers looking for acreage.

-We helped found the New Farm Pilot program in partnership with the County government- an effort to grow the next generation of small scale table crop producers and plant them in Montgomery County. Small front end investment has yielded new businesses that will strengthen the local economy.

Advocacy:
-Once productive land is developed- it will never be farmed again. We advocate against zoning changes that would take land out of production or uses that compete with the purpose of the Ag Reserve- which is farming.

- We protect our shared water resources for future generations. MCA is a founding member of the Save Ten Mile Creek Coalition- protecting the County's last best stream (part of the back-up water supply for 4.3 Million in the metro area) from the degradation caused by poorly planned development. We also advocate for protection of the Piedmont Sole Source Aquifer- the only source of water for more than 10,000 MoCo residents.

Education:
- We educate decision makers, students and residents about the value of farmland close to population centers, the benefits, both health, economic and social of consuming local food, and the importance of conserving clean water and open space on Metro's edge. We do this through our social media, website, e-newsletter and outreach events- along with publications like our Explore Guide- available at local Whole Foods Market locations.

-We are reaching out directly to students with an Agriculture Education Pilot program that will bring the farm to the classroom and students to local farms.

-Our film "Growing Legacy" profiling the farmers and residents of the Reserve has won fans and awards locally and brought the wonder of the Reserve nationally and internationally.

MCA is a lean, award winning organization with more than a decade of service to Montgomery County's residents, farms and open space. In 2011 and 2015, the Greater Washington Catalogue for Philanthropy called MCA "one of the best" nonprofits in the region. In 2012 we were honored with the Montgomery Civic Federation's Wayne Goldstien Award for excellent service to county residents.

The work of MCA is handled by 2 dedicated staff members, a cadre of volunteers and interns and our talented board of directors. In 2011 we convened an Advisory Committee of local luminaries representing farmers, civic leaders, academics, business owners and residents to give us feedback on how to best use our resources to achieve our goals.

Our thoughtful, respectful- but tenacious when necessary- engagement on issues of agriculture and our environment has garnered us a newsletter list of more than 7000 local residents with better than industry average open rates.

Land Link:
Since starting the program in 2011 we have matched 400 acres for a total of 19 matches. That means 19 new or expanded farm ventures are contributing to the local economy and local food supply. These matches represent diverse businesses- everything from a persimmon orchard to forested acreage for ginseng.

To see more recent milestones- check out our blog post, "What has MCA Done For Me Lately?" http://bit.ly/1gW4y1H

Or check out our 2015 year in review: http://mocoalliance.org/2015/12/mca-2015-year-in-review/

Financials

Montgomery Countryside Alliance, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Montgomery Countryside Alliance, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 10/13/2016
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Michael Rubin

MDR Capital

Tom Leedy Director

Retired, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Jean Findlay Treasurer, Vice President

Retired, Health and Human Services

Denise Cohen Director

Chadbourne & Parke LLP

Jim O'Connell Co-President

Former Chairman of Maryland Environmental Trust

Dolores Milmoe Executive Committee

For A Rural Montgomery (FARM)

Michael Rubin Chairman

MDR Capital

Oakley Johnson Immediate Past President

Albright Stonebridge Group

William Sheehan Executive Committee

Goodwin Procter LLP

Tina Brown Director

Artist, Author

Diana Conway Executive Committee

Civic Leader

George Abramowitz Director

Attorney

Leslie Cronin Director

Scott Fosler Director

Former County Councilmember

Cindy McGrath Director

Gwen Reese Director

Sugarland EthnoHistory Project

Gene Kingsbury Co-President

Kingsbury's Orchard

Sharon Bauer Director

Bauer CPAs

Anne Davies Director

Amanda Cather Director

Plow and Stars Farm

Lee Langstaff Director

Shepherd's Hey Farm

Carole Bergmann Director

MoCo Parks

Martin Radigan Director

Photographer

Mary Kingsley Director

Author

Tom Hartsock Director Chair of Ag Committee

UMD School of Ag

Mark Mills Director

Chocolate and Tomatoes Farm

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No