How SCORE helped. 

During October’s Women-Owned Small Business Month, we will also be celebrating the intrepid women who establish or manage local nonprofit organizations. The mentors of SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon are often called upon to offer support and guidance to the leaders of local nonprofits who need assistance in achieving their mission and vision. In all cases SCORE mentors hold these clients to the same standards of best practices as a well-managed small business.  Beth Horst and Grace Julian, founders of The Edible Classroom, have been working with SCORE mentors since July of 2017, and beginning in April of this year have partnered with SCORE volunteer mentor Bob Thomas. Bob brings with him a wealth of knowledge about the NPO sector as the retired President of Tabor Community Services, Inc. 

Choosing to run your nonprofit like a for-profit small business will ensure that you meet revenue goals while running a lean operation, without needless expenditures. This is not only a sound business practice but the very minimum that is owed to faithful donors. Beth and Grace take this advice to heart in the operations of The Edible Classroom, an organization they founded to cultivate academic achievement, healthy lifestyles, and environmental stewardship through garden-based, experiential learning.

“Beth and I both had the privilege of working from the ground up to start learning gardens at our children's elementary schools years ago. We invested much time and energy as parent volunteers to provide this kind of real-world experience at our children's schools. We saw first-hand how beautifully garden education fits into curriculum standards as well as how much coordination and effort are required for a successful school garden program. After years of fulfilling volunteerism at each of our schools, we joined efforts to enlarge our vision to help other schools taste the goodness of hands-on experiential learning right outside the traditional classroom. Beth and I both love to inspire others to embrace healthy lifestyles, we are educators at heart, and we love the discovery that happens every day in the garden. The Edible Classroom was a natural outpouring of our passions, our experience, and our desire to empower the next generation of healthy adults.”

~ Grace Julian, co-founder of The Edible Classroom

As leaders of an NPO, Beth, and Grace join the growing ranks of women in the US who work in the nonprofit field.  Women now comprise 73% of the nonprofit workforce in this country. A 2019 Report by the Center for Civil Societies Studies at John Hopkins University found that nonprofits account for roughly one in 10 jobs in the U.S. private workforce and for the first time NPO employment now equals manufacturing. In the case of The Edible Classroom Beth and Grace are both founders and staff. The burdens of programming, operations, marketing, strategic planning, and development fall squarely on their shoulders. Having the guidance of a mentor with experience in the local nonprofit community was a perfect fit for the needs of their mission.

“Being a relatively new non-profit (beginning our 3rd year of existence), Beth & I are keenly aware that we need to communicate our name and vision to people who share our passion for helping children understand where their food comes from through real-world experience. Bob's background in the non-profit sector helped us from our first meeting together. Bob shared realistic observations about the process of networking as well as practical tips for how to approach larger potential corporate sponsors.”

~ Grace Julian, co-founder of The Edible Classroom

In the past six months, Bob has devoted much of his time to working with Grace and Beth on ways of focusing on strategies for raising the visibility of The Edible Classroom throughout Lancaster County and on strengthening their communications tactics and messaging while developing some strong fundraising tools for the organization. The three have also worked on ways for Beth and Grace to network on a personal level on behalf of The Edible Classroom. These passionate gardening educators are the very best ambassadors for their organization!

Grace and Beth are deeply committed to The Edible Classroom’s mission.  They’re very focused

on their work, are organized, and work smart, especially by integrating their organization's programs with the school’s curriculum. As a result, The Edible Classroom has accomplished a great deal in just a few years. In short, they’re real pros, and it is a pleasure to work with them.”

~ Bob Thomas, SCORE volunteer mentor

The Edible Classroom team continues to meet regularly with their SCORE mentor and to work on a vision for the future.

One of our long-term goals for The Edible Classroom is to be fully funded to provide our services to schools and communities at minimal to no cost. Bob is working with us to get some traction on next steps to greater funding opportunities. This will be an ongoing topic of discussion as we seek to be fully funded. We will also seek guidance on growing our business as we begin the search for employees.”

~ Grace Julian, co-founder of The Edible Classroom

Getting your hands dirty is the easy part of the job at this nonprofit team, but if anyone is up for the challenge it is Beth Horst and Grace Julian. They are committed to their vision of learning gardens for children that cultivate academic achievement, foster healthy lifestyles and promote environmental stewardship. They now encourage others to seek a mentor to guide over the hurdles, whether you are a nonprofit, or a for-profit business. For Beth and Grace, it is really a simple formula,

Take advantage of the depth of experience at your fingertips by partnering with SCORE.”

~ Beth Horst and Grace Julian, founders of The Edible Classroom



SCORE Client│Mentor Profile: The Edible Classroom