SUNBURST UNLIMITED INC

Growing Healthy Kids, Growing Healthy Food

aka The Kids' Garden   |   Great Falls, MT   |  http://www.gardensfromgarbage.org

Mission

Growing Healthy Kids, Growing Healthy Food

Ruling year info

1998

Principal Officer

mr. Michael Robert Dalton

Main address

1917 1st Ave. North

Great Falls, MT 59401 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Gardens from Garbage

EIN

81-0517112

NTEE code info

Other Food, Agriculture, and Nutrition N.E.C. (K99)

Public, Society Benefit - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (W99)

Youth Centers, Clubs, (includes Boys/Girls Clubs)- Multipurpose (O20)

IRS filing requirement

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

Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We continually ask ourselves, if our organization/programs we not here in our community, would there be a "hole"? Very definitely there would! The issue we deal with is food sustainability and the need for all of us, adults and kids, to know where our food comes from, how to grow our own food should the desire and/or need arise, and how to improve our health through the food we choose. Through our programs in our Westside Orchard Garden and in the community, we educate both adults and you about food, nature, health, and all things related. No one else is teaching this in our area, and it's sorely needed. We are a low-income community, and we have many families who are food insecure. As well as teach, we grow food for food insecure organizations and families, and work with community partners to serve many kid-kitchens to be sure they have sufficient food.

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?

FRESH Food Forum

The FRESH! Food Forum is held every spring in partnership with Great Falls College/MSU. It is an educational forum to help people learn how to garden and reconnect them with local sources of food and how to become more sustainable within their own family. We offer classes for adults, a vendor fair of local growers and producers, and a full morning of activities for youth. Due to Covid-19 our Forum has been put on hold, as we are not currently allowed to gather in groups, and the College is not hosting conferences at this time. We hope to begin again when the current culture allows.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Health

During the growing season, local growers, nurseries can become over-burdened with too many seedlings or extra vegetable plants.  These growers can call the Foster Tomato Hotline (Sunburst Unlimited) to come pick up plants and immediately provide warm "beds" for the  plants.  The produce generated from these plants is donated to the Boys & Girls Club for their Grab 'n Go Program for under-served youth and their families.
We have expanded The Kids' Garden in recent years, and this program has decreased in volume as we have growing space for most of the excess from the nurseries. All produce generated goes back to the kids and their families.

Population(s) Served
Social and economic status
Children and youth

This program serves food-insecure youth in our community from several organizations - Boys & Girls Club, the Rescue Mission, the Salvation Army and the County Mental Health Youth App. 200 youth spend hours in the Kids' Garden each day, planting and caring for their own gardens, reconnecting with nature, and learning valuable lessons about good nutrition., pollinators, vermiculture, composting and others
Due to 2020's restrictions on gathering, we did not have youth in the Garden. This summer (2021) we will have Boys & Girls Club youth in the Garden, however we are restricting the numbers to only that organization for health safety purposes.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

This program is two-fold.
With our partner, St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank, we pick up fresh produce and bread from local grocery stores (dates expired), and deliver it to several local kitchens and pantries in our area.
The creation of the Fresh Rescue Community Kitchen is underway. Along with 12 other community collaborators, led by the St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank, the kitchen is taking shape and will serve to expand our ability to provide food to the under-served. The need in our community is great!

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Adults
Children and youth

Our garden is a 2.2 acre former city park that we rent for $1/yr from the City of Great Falls. It is a "teaching" as well as a growing garden. We grow fresh food for several local organizations, such as the Boys & Girls Club Grab 'n Go Program, the Ursuline Pre-school, and others. We hold our Garden Summer School Program here for under-served youth from local organizations. We are currently minimizing the youth participation due to Covid-19, so this year will only have the Boys & Girls Club youth participating. A variety of teachers from around the state come here to host classes, as well.
Our plans this summer include development of a Sensory Garden in partnership with a local Garden Club, to serve the youth and adults from our local Deaf & Blind School.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adults
People with disabilities
Social and economic status

Where we work

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.

Our mission is to educate and guide youth, organizations and communities in developing a sustainable local food source through composting, gardening and year-round greenhouses.

We have realized that our niche in this community is to teach the kids - teach them what it means to eat fresh, to eat what they can grow, to know that they have the knowledge and the power to be healthy.

We have a high level of poverty, and we know that youth don't learn when they are hungry. So we grow food in our 2.2 acre Garden and give it to organizations who need it - Meals on Wheels, Boys & Girls Club, Head Start. We also know that if youth learn how to garden and grow and eat fresh, they will make decisions from a different place when they become adults. Change always starts with the young.

We have programs to both educate the youth in the Garden), and to educate the parents (the FRESH Food Forum) and to teach that we can have local food sustainability.

We collaborate with other organizations to bring fresh food to families who don't usually get it through the FRESH Rescue Program.

When the big trucks stop coming to Montana with food, we want folks to know how to come together and be able to grow food, feed themselves, and stay the course.

We envision a world of sustainable fresh and local food communities.
OUR STRATEGY IS TO REACH THE CHILDREN, TEACH THE CHILDREN, AND WATCH THEM CHANGE THE WORLD

To this end we do the following:
Lease a 2.2 acre former city-park, which we evolved into the Westside Orchard Garden, teaching gardening/growing & nurturing 40-50 youth 5 days a week all summer from the local Boys & Girls Club, City Rec. Center, and Homeschool families.
The youth grow their own food, along with a large Garden dedicated to Boys & Girls club families, Meals on Wheels, and the local Head Start Kitchen.
We organize and manage the FRESH Rescue Program, which takes out-of-date fresh food from a local grocery store and distributes it to youth organizations such as the Mercy Home, Juvenile Detention Center, Boys & Girls Club, Parkdale (our local low-income housing), and the Foster Care Program.
We annually sponsor and host the FRESH Food Forum, attended by 100-200 local residents who attend classes on gardening, nutrition and networking with local growers and producers. The Forum also includes a 2-hour Kids FRESH! Food Forum with a variety of activities and booths for learning about good food, growing, exercise and all thing healthy.

We are able to lease our 2.2 acre Westside Orchard Garden (a former city park) from the City of Great Falls for $1 a year. We hire a Garden Manager, who oversees the planting and managing the Garden for about 6 months, because our growing season is short.

If possible, we apply for Americorps Vista Volunteers to work with us in the Garden. The youth organizations that we work with always have adults who come with the kids to the Garden, and together with our Garden Manager, they grow and learn about gardening.

Because we are serving and teaching youth, local organizations have been very generous with funding and support. Many organizations use the Garden as a volunteer service focus for their business, so we have many volunteers in the Garden during the spring, summer, and fall months.

We are a small nonprofit, with minimal administration costs - a salary for our Garden Manager, and with grants and gifts, we are able to fulfill our mission.

Our Westside Orchard Garden is a teaching Garden, as well as a growing Garden. We like to provide innovative ways for people to think about growing food. We provide programs in the summer free of charge to app. 200 youth through the Boys and Girls Club, Salvation Army youth program, the Cameron Family Center in the Rescue Mission, and the Community mental Health youth program. Each year we have been able to increase the organizations and # of youth we teach in the Garden.

We want to expand the FRESH Rescue Program to include more grocery stores donating their fresh food (out-of-date), but do not have at present a facility large enough to handle any more food. There is so much possible........

We have goals of collaborating with other community organizations in creating a local food processing center, with a commercial kitchen - not one that we would manage, but that we could help get off the ground in the planning. Our community badly needs one in order to handle the excess fresh food that is possible.

We are thrilled with our progress so far, in being able to both reach our local youth, and offer thousands of pounds of fresh food to needy families, but there is so much to be done. Step by step...

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    We serve organizations who directly serve the under-privileged in our community. These organizations are the Boys & Girls Club, the Rescue Mission, Salvation Army youth. The youth who attend our free Summer Garden School are all youth from these organizations. Their families also benefit from our mission, as the food the youth grow and additional food we grow goes to these youth and families. We collect feedback from the leaders of the organizations and from the youth themselves.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Paper surveys, gathering information from the organizations we serve through statistics and meetings.,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    The last summer we had a full youth program in the Garden (due to COVID restrictions) was 2019. During that summer there were misunderstandings about Garden responsibilites with one of the organizations we worked with which was causing resentment and lack of participation. We set up meetings with leaders of each of the organizations we worked with. These meetings helped clarify expectations from both organizations - ours and theirs and greatly enhanced the experience of both the youth and the adults in the Garden during Summer Garden School. We understood the issue (lack of good communication) and worked together to find common ground. It was a learning experience for us, as we had "assumed" that our collaborators understood our expectations.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our board, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    When we started having meetings with each of the organizations, and sharing specific information and needs, our collaboration became much richer, and everyone's role much clearer. We all understood more clearly how much more we could accomplish with better communication, and they took more responsibility for the program, and felt more valued and respected for decisions and rules. It was a very important step for all of us, and one that changed how we operate.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

SUNBURST UNLIMITED 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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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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SUNBURST UNLIMITED INC

Board of directors
as of 3/8/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mary Jane Ahrendes

Barnes & Noble Booksellers

Term: 2021 - 2022

Lonnie Hill

City of Great Falls

Abigail Lichliter

Cascade City-County Health

Mary Jane Ahrendes

Julie Delaney

Jay Buckley

Michael Dalton

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? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/27/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data