WHAT IS VISTA?
Written by Jennifer Grebenschikoff, Secretary, VISTA Gardens Board of Directors (pictured, left)
Many of our newer members and likely some of our longer members, may not know that VISTA is actually a corporation that has a Board of Directors. VISTA does not run itself. It takes quite of lot of dedication from a handful of people to make things happen around the garden. Here is what we are and how we do it:
VISTA is a 501(c)(3) Florida corporation (registered as the Village Institute for Sustainable Technologies and Agriculture, Inc.) This means that both cash and in-kind donations to the garden (just like when you give money or clothing to the Salvation Army) are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. If we know about your donation we send you a thank you letter for your records. We encourage you to let your friends and family know that we are always very grateful to receive donations in your honor.
As a corporation, we have Bylaws that describe our purpose and our governance structure of officers, board members, and committees.
View our Bylaws
All Board members and Committee Chairs are volunteers. There is no paid staff at the garden. VISTA is an all-volunteer organization and relies on the time and effort of its gardeners to make this a success. VISTA Gardens operates via various committees. The committees are: Executive, Marketing, Membership, Communication, Garden Infrastructure, Education Outreach, Compost, Garden, Social, Volunteer, House Of The Rising Seeds, and Ad Hoc. Each committee has specific duties as described in the Bylaws and has its own budget. Each Committee Chair reports directly to the Board. We ask that each gardener join a committee to help keep VISTA Gardens running efficiently and effectively. If they wish, gardeners can join more than one committee. We are currently working on a five-year plan. If you have any ideas or suggestions for now or the future, please talk to the appropriate Committee Chair. The Committee Chairs always welcome new ideas and fresh energy to the activities at the garden. And as you see on many weekends, we are assisted by community and school volunteers lending their time and muscle to our various projects.
The VISTA Board and Committee Chairs meet generally every month, on the second Tuesday at 7p at the Carrollwood Cultural Center. All gardeners are invited to attend our meetings. We have a formal Agenda and Minutes are taken and recorded for each meeting. View the most recent
Our Board Treasurer provides a monthly report of revenues and expenses, assets and liabilities, actual to budget comparisons, checking account statement and a reconciliation report. Depending on the year we have an annual budget of $10,000 to $15,000. Our largest expenses are our insurance policies. Our revenues come from member dues, donations, and grants.
Our 3.31 acres at VISTA is owned by Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation Department, and leased to VISTA since 2008 for a very small amount through a long-term renewable agreement. VISTA is officially part of the Hillsborough County Parks system.
What else would you like to know about VISTA?
Email me your questions
and I’ll be happy to address them in the next newsletter. It’s good to know about YOUR VISTA!