The Internet Expands Kulshan Community Land Trust's Impact

Organization Name
Kulshan Community Land Trust
Mission Statement

Kulshan Community Land Trust is a non-profit corporation that strengthens our community and supports our local economy by providing secure, affordable access to land and homeownership for households of modest means and for community needs. We promote affordable, ecologically sound and sustainable land use for housing and working landscapes by offering financial and educational support to the residents of Whatcom County.

City & State
Question 1
The Before: What was the challenge, issue or problem your organization was facing? Or, what was the opportunity you were not able to take advantage of before you put a technology solution in place?

Answer: With the economic downturn, we have had a reduction in funds available to help our community. Last year, we reduced our staff and cut everyone back to part time. The reduction of our staff, did not reduce the amount of work needed to be completed. We needed a way to work more efficiently and find funding using technology.

Question 2
What Microsoft software have you used/are you using in your organization to more effectively engage your beneficiaries, donors and/or volunteers and/or to make a difference in your community?

Answer: Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010 (Includes any of the following: Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, OneNote, Outlook, and Word)

Question 3
The After: How have these Microsoft products allowed you to engage your stakeholders more efficiently or effectively to make a difference in your community?

Answer: The largest tech impact on our organization has been the Internet. When a home in the Trust is available for resale, it gets exposure on our website and MLS. Helping a new homeowner into affordable housing completes our mission. Online, we announce a homebuyer education classes, promoting financial literacy in the community. Using the internet we are able to access resources that we would never have known about. We can stay on top of developments in our field by taking webinars instead of going to conferences or classes. We can promote our cause with our website and social media such as Facebook and Jumo. Even our personnel shortage was helped by finding an intern with the Senior Community Service Program and an Americorp VISTA- the internet was used to apply for these programs.

Question 4
What about these products (the features or the way you used them) made them particularly helpful in enabling your organization to expand and improve upon its community impact?

Answer: The community land trust concept is an old idea that is experiencing a re-birth in America. To present our concept and gain community support, we use PowerPoint. By showing the Power Point to local employers, we can visually and verbally engage employers who then can help their employees find an affordable housing option. Homeownership creates a stability which benefits the community. PowerPoint gives us a medium to explain the community land trust in a way that anyone can understand and appreciate.

Question 5
Please provide any examples, stories or data that illustrate the difference the use of Microsoft software has enabled you to make (i.e., # of new clients reached, new program added, increased dollars raised, increased volunteers, etc.

Answer: In December 2010, Kulshan Community Land Trust was awarded a $75,000 grant to create the Access to Farmland Program. Word was used to write the grant and then submitted by email. Loss of farmland to urban sprawl creates many environmental, economic and social challenges. Many farmers nearing retirement find themselves land rich and cash poor. Rising farm prices are out of reach for new farmers and established smaller farmers looking to scale-up. Farmers may want to see the land stay in farming, but in an economy where the best option may be to sell the land for development. Meanwhile, new farmers are eager to find a place to grow more healthy local food. With the grant, we will create practical steps that make land permanently affordable and show how our community can value farming.

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