May 2021
Alumni Spotlight: Meet Ben and Tyler Butler of
Butler's Orchard
Pictured: The Butler Family.
From left to right: Hallie Butler-Van Horn, Ben (Class X), Shirley (aka "Mrs. B."), Wade, Susan, and Tyler (Class IX). Photo provided by Ben and Tyler Butler.
General Manager Tyler Butler (LEAD Class IX), and Farm and Finance Manager Ben Butler (LEAD Class X), pictured holding flats of strawberries, operate Butler's Orchard, a third generation business that specializes in Agri-tainment, which includes farm yoga, festivals, Pumpkinland, Bunnyland, sunset picking, and flower arranging workshops.

When COVID-19 hit hard last spring, the Butlers and their team wondered how their business would be affected. To their surprise, it was one of their best years. By providing the public with options that included reservations, online ordering, and curbside pickup, families were able to pick their own fruit and create safe, socially-distanced memories outdoors, which is what Butler's Orchard does best.

What's new at Butler's Orchard?

The parking lot at the farm market is now paved, and a new shop was built for the farm team. The "Farmer's Porch" has a new chef serving seasonal food with outside dining, although kettle corn and apple cider donuts are still the local favorites. The Butlers also purchased an additional 60-acre farm through MARBIDCO's Next Generation Program in April 2020, and harvested over 300 lbs. of pumpkins by fall. 2020 was not all good news though, as they lost the farm's founder in September, their grandmother Shirley Brown Butler, at the age of 91.

How has LEAD Maryland helped to shape you as a leader?

Tyler: "During my time in LEAD, our business transitioned and I was voted by the family to be the general manager because of the skills I learned in LEAD, and my interpersonal communications. I still use these skills today. Every time we have a team meeting, there is always an empty seat at the table for the farm."

Ben: "My participation in LEAD helped to broaden my perspective of agriculture across the state and taught me how to become involved in the legislative process. I realized the importance of networks and exposing my crew to educational opportunities, and of the value in exploring different, inspiring ideas."

How did LEAD inspire you to serve in industry leadership positions?

Tyler: "LEAD helped me to become more active with the county farm bureau, at least as active as possible with a young family."

Ben: "LEAD exposed me to the value that individual experiences contribute to the agricultural community as a whole."

What value does LEAD offer to Maryland and agriculture as a whole?

Tyler: "LEAD provides hope for the agricultural industry--that there will be people who are open minded, to create a group of leaders prepared for the future."

Ben: "LEAD offers a Program to build knowledge and experiences for the next generation of leaders. I can't think of another organization that offers it. It is one of a kind!"

What surprised you most about LEAD?

Tyler: "I didn't expect the personal growth that I experienced."

Ben: "The friendships, professional connections, the farmers we met, and the networking opportunities that were available through LEAD surprised me most. At the Annapolis seminar, I discovered how important and far reaching the legislative process is, as well as how to participate in it."

What advice would you offer a potential LEAD Fellowship applicant?

Tyler: "There is never a "right time" to invest in yourself, so just do it! It is invaluable. I learned so much."

Ben: "Commit! We are all busy with demands. The more you give, with no excuses, the more you get out of the Program."

Photos provided by Ben and Tyler Butler (2021).
LEAD Has A NEW Website!
In early April, the University of Maryland Extension unveiled its new website. This project involved over 2 years of thought, discussion, stakeholder engagement, and design and development to provide a new, upgraded website focused on an improved user experience. All program pages within UME were updated and refreshed, including LEAD's! You can still find LEAD Maryland Foundation at Stop by and check out our new pages and our promo video featuring LEAD Alumni!

Special thanks to Edwin and Lena at Remsberg Inc. for their work in creating the video.
LEAD Thanks Hank Doong, Jr. and MNLGA for Advertising Space
For two years in a row, Henry "Hank" Doong, Jr. has generously donated advertising space on the Maryland Nursery, Landscape, and Greenhouse Association's (MNGLA) website to LEAD Maryland Foundation. We would like to extend special thanks to Hank for this generous gift, and also to Kelly Finney and the team at MNLGA for all of their assistance. We are grateful for this support and for this opportunity to reach new audiences for another year.

Thank you, Hank, and the Team at MNLGA!
LEAD Maryland Foundation Earns Guidestar's 2021 Silver Seal of Transparency
Earlier this month, LEAD Maryland Foundation was recognized for earning Guidestar's Silver Seal of Transparency. Guidestar is a philanthropic research base that connects donors and grantmakers to nonprofit organizations. In short, it is dedicated to finding out where nonprofit money comes from, where it goes, and why it matters. In February 2019, Foundation Center and Guidestar joined forces to become Candid. Together, these organizations brought a combined 88 years of expertise and millions of data points to Candid, where they provide the public with trusted, accurate information about charities to assist businesses and individuals in making informed decisions.

A Seal of Transparency appears on an organization's Nonprofit Profile on Guidestar when the organization has publicly shared important information about its work. To earn a Silver Seal, a nonprofit must first earn a Bronze Seal, revealing basic information about its mission, leadership team, board members, etc., followed by certain financial information. The Seals help a nonprofit reveal its complete story. Research indicates that transparency has a tangible benefit: as a group, organizations that earned a Seal received 53 percent more in contributions than nonprofits that had not earned Seals.

Next up, GOLD!

Alumni Workshop on Broadband Connectivity Options
May 12, 2021
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
via Zoom
The COVID pandemic has dramatically shifted our work, education, and day-to-day experiences to an almost completely digital platform. Unfortunately, this change has left residents of rural areas at a disadvantage. Join the LEAD Maryland Foundation Alumni Committee's Bill Schrodel (Class III) by Zoom on May 12 from 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM as he welcomes guest speakers Charlotte Davis, of the Rural Maryland Council, and Matt Teffeau (Class IX), of Choptank Electric Cooperative. They will provide updates on what is currently being done and what options exist for expanding internet connectivity across the state. Bill will also be sharing his knowledge of Elon Musk's Starlink as a potential option.

This event is FREE and open to anyone who is interested. Registration is required and will close at noon (12:00 PM, EST) on May 11. Please share with anyone who might be interested.
Accepting Applications to the Next
LEAD Fellowship Class:
Class XII (2022-2023)
June 1, 2021 - October 1, 2021
Applications for Class XII (2022-2023) will be available online beginning on June 1, 2021, and will be due on October 1, 2021. If you or someone you know is interested in applying to LEAD Class XII, please help us spread the word!

Additional details and application materials will be coming soon and available on LEAD's website .

For a general overview of the Program, be sure to check out our "Growing Leaders" brochure. We are also hosting a 1-hour virtual (Zoom-based) Program Information Session on June 23, from 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM. This is a great opportunity for potential applicants to learn more details about the Program from LEAD faculty, staff, and Alumni. You can register here.

LEAD Fellowship Program Information Session
June 23, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
via Zoom

Are you or is someone you know interested in joining a future class of the LEAD Maryland Fellowship Program? These brief, 1-hour sessions are held virtually, over Zoom, and include an overview of the Program, an introduction to the LEAD Maryland Foundation, and the Fellowship application process. Interested participants will have an opportunity to have their questions answered from Program leaders, as well as hear from Program Alumni as they recount their experiences in LEAD, and how the Program helped advance their personal, professional, and community servant leadership goals.

The next Virtual Information Session will be held on:
June 23 (12:00 PM - 1:00 PM)

Sessions are FREE and open to anyone interested. Registration in advance is required.
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LEAD Maryland Foundation, Inc.
124 Wye Narrows Drive/ Queenstown, MD 21658
Phone (office): 410-827-8056 / (mobile) 410-703-1094