History of the Michigan Master Gardener Association

The Michigan Master Gardener Association started when a team of Michigan Master Gardeners from around the state volunteered to serve on a transition team to create the association.

Updates from the Michigan Master Gardener Association Transition Team Meetings: 

  • June 2012: Articles of Incorporation for the Michigan Master Gardener Association, Inc. (MMGA) were filed with the State of Michigan.  An Employee Identification Number, bank account and license for soliciting donations were also obtained.
  • August 2012:  Members of the transition team secured an email address and Facebook page.  Following many hours of work spent creating bylaws and completing the necessary paperwork the team filed for a non-profit determination fromthe IRS.  The MMGA offers special thanks to the Americana Foundation for their financial support and to Reid Felsing for the legal advice.
  • September 2012: The Michigan Master Gardener Association, Inc. became a 501(c)(3) organization.  Shortly after this accomplishment, the MMGA purchased liability insurance coverage for its members with financial support from MSUE.

As a new association the MMGA quickly got to work to create a network of affiliated chapters.  In 2013 the Michigan Master Gardener Association held leadership conferences for officers of local associations and partnered with MSUE's consumer horticulture team on the 2013 Michigan Master Gardener College.   Throughout 2013 the MMGA Board worked to develop a set of comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures. 

  • April: The MMGA held its first Leadership Conference in Lansing for officers and coordinators of local master gardener groups across the state.  Twenty-six counties were represented at this meeting.
  • June: MMGA partnered with MSUE's Consumer Horticulture team to host the 2013 Master Gardener College on MSU's campus.  Prior to the beginning of the college, the MMGA held its second leadership conference for local master gardener association officers and coordinators and its first annual meeting for all MMGA members.
  • July:  MMGA hired non-profit attorney to facilitate IRS filing for the chapter affiliation process
  • August and September: The MMGA worked with local chapters to complete the affiliation paperwork.
  • September:  The MMGA launched the website michiganmastergardener.org
  • October:  A non-profit incorporation webinar for local associations took place using Adobe Connect to reach out to the leadership of master gardener associations across Michigan.
  • December:  The affiliation filing was completed and submitted to IRS, covering 13 chapters.

In 2014 MMGA hosted a third Leadership Conference, a second annual meeting and added new members to the Board of Directors.

  • April:  In April MMGA hosted its third Leadership Conference in Mt Pleasant.   At this conference, with officers of affiliated chapters, we covered governance, membership and finance.  Attendees also received a binder of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for each chapter.
  • June:  The second annual MMGA Membership Meeting took place in conjunction with Master Gardener College.  Two new members, Sue Aagaard and Cathy Myers were added to the Board of Directors.  That expanded the all-volunteer board membership to seven
  • September:  MMGA received the IRS Affiliate determination letter.
  • December:  Standard Operating Procedures documents, done in Microsoft Word, were uploaded to Basecamp.  The documents are for use and modification by affiliate chapters.  We also completed and distributed a Financial Handbook, offering best practices guidance.  By end of 2014 five more chapters affiliated, bring chapter membership to 18.

Activities To Date - 2015

This year started off with a busy schedule.  MMGA's activities in 2015 include:

  • February: All seven board members along with MMGA members from around the state participated in a two-day Michigan State University Extension Master Gardener Strategic Visioning Retreat in DeWitt, MI.
  • March: MMGA conducted financial webinar for interested affiliate chapters.  Topics for the webinar were reporting issues, including sales tax, the chapter's annual report to MMGA and an e-card filing of 990-N with IRS.
  • May:  MMGA board representatives participated in a follow-up session for the Strategic Visioning Retreat, meeting on the MSU campus at the Pavillions.  There board members joined subcommittee workgroups and began mapping out their work on strategic action plans.
  • June:  The MMGA annual meeting was held on June 20 at the Dow Gardens in Midland, MI.
  • July: MMGA board members gathered in Clare, MI for an orientation day for the new board members.
  • October:  MMGA board members gathered in Clare, MI for a day of strategic planning.