New programs boost Foundation to 15 and counting

Did you know the Foundation has 15 active programs? We do, and the number seems to grow every year. Every program is led by volunteers, has its own committee and is largely responsible for its own funding. Importantly, each established program runs a balanced budget.

Individuals bring their ideas to the KCF board and must show how the proposed program promotes the three-pronged mission of the Foundation: to build community by supporting local arts, to provide opportunities for volunteerism and to serve as an educational resource on the landmark new urbanist community that is Kentlands. A successful proposal should be financially self-sustaining and foster one or more of the Foundation’s three goals. Some aim squarely at the arts and culture imperative; a few address our new urbanist education mandate. But all of our programs promote volunteerism by their very nature.

One of the oldest continuously operating programs is the Kentlands Film Society. The Film Society is a great example of a volunteer-led program that builds community by supporting the arts and culture. Other programs that support the arts and culture include:

• Kentlands Community Players—in November completed its second production, an original play “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda”
• Musica Viva Kentlands concert series—classical concerts in June and September
• Kentlands Acoustic Jam—meets every first and fourth Tuesday in the Carriage House
• Kentlands Digital Photography Club—meets on an ad hoc basis
• Artists on Market—an artist gallery pop-up associated with the Gaithersburg Artist Collective currently located in Rio

Our programs focused primarily on building community and outreach are:

• The Village at Kentlands and Lakelands—provides services and social networking for residents 55 and older
• KidServe—brings kids and parents together in community service projects
• Kentlands Serves—our newest program with its first event scheduled for January 26 to pack feminine products for a charity serving sub-Saharan African women.
• Kentlands Under the Lights—a community dinner held each June
• Kentlands Wine Club—meets once a month on Fridays in the Clubhouse, at local wineries and elsewhere in the community
• Cub Scout Pack 221—meets in the Lakelands Clubhouse
• Community Bridge Club—meets every Wednesday in the Carriage House at 1 pm
• GoGreen Group—maintains the courtyard at Rachel Carson Elementary School and helps organize clean up days around the lakes in April

Kentlands/Lakelands 5K is our largest annual fundraiser that also builds community and outreach and is our single largest volunteer-led activity. Upwards of 1150 runners and 260 volunteers make this race the largest road race in Montgomery County. The City of Gaithersburg is our partner. Money raised from this race supports local charities. This year $20,000 was donated to the Dolores Swoyer Scholarship fund, City camps at the Arts Barn, The Dwelling Place, Mercy Health Clinic and Maryland Senior Olympics.

To provide educational resources on new urbanism we have offered Docent Tours of the Kentlands in the past (though we’ve had few requests in recent years). But our more active program aimed at that element of our mission is the New Urbanist lecture series. These lectures are scheduled 4 times a year in the Arts Barn, in cooperation with the City of Gaithersburg.

The KCF also participates in the Gaithersburg Book Festival in May and recruits volunteers for the City’s Young Artist Awards in January. This year we also participated in the tree lighting event in Kentlands Market Square.

The list of programs is diverse. More information can be found at our website Kentlands.org. If you have not already done so, I hope you will consider joining in one of the Foundation’s programs. It is a great way to give back, have fun and get to know your neighbors.

I am in my office at the Carriage House every Monday from 9:30 am to noon. Please come by to say hello and maybe find out more about one or more of our great programs.