Published Jun 26, 2019

Buoyed by Benevolence

By Sally Worley

Practical Farmers’ budget continues to grow thanks to our many supporters!

Practical Farmers’ budget continues to grow, thanks to our many supporters, the hard work of our members and additional grants we’ve secured to help fund our expanded programming. Membership and donations are at all-time highs as support for Practical Farmers of Iowa grows.

In fiscal year 2018 (Oct. 1, 2017 – Sept. 30, 2018), PFI received $2.12 million in revenue. Of this, $90,452 came from donations above membership from 313 individual donors. These individual donations are vital to our ability to respond directly to our members’ needs. We also received funding from 50 grants operating in fiscal year 2018.

Thank you, supporters, for your generosity that allows us to work hard to equip farmers to build resilient farms and communities!

More information on Practical Farmers’ finances can be found in our 2018 annual report. This report also highlights accomplishments made possible because of our generous supporters. Below, two donors share why they use workplace giving programs to support PFI.

Individuals donate through workplace giving programs

Some employers incentivize donating to non-profits. Some match donations, turning a $50 employee donation into a $100 donation. Others, as described below, make donating a process of payroll, or provide a donation to match an employee’s volunteer hours.

Mark Runquist and Linda Barnes

Mark Runquist and Linda Barnes have been members of Practical Farmers since 1994. From 2005 to 2016, Mark and Linda operated High Hopes Gardens near Melbourne, raising vegetables, fruits, flowers and livestock for their local community. They published a blog of the experience, with the tagline: “Can a creative, hard-working family make a living working with nature? Join us on the journey from idea to practice as we revive an Iowa farmstead.”

Like most small-scale farmers, Mark and Linda had off-farm jobs. Mark worked at Wells Fargo in Des Moines as a technology analyst. Linda worked at Marshalltown Community College, where she taught biology and sustainable agriculture. Linda received her Master of Divinity in 2015. In 2016, Linda and Mark moved to New England, where Linda is a Unitarian Universalist minister in Plymouth, New Hampshire.

Linda Barnes and Mark Runquist hiking in New England lighting fix

Linda Barnes and Mark Runquist hiking in New England.

Through the move, Mark was able to maintain his job at Wells Fargo. Mark has taken advantage of Wells Fargo’s employee donations programs, to Practical Farmers’ benefit, for years. While Mark was still living in Iowa, he participated in Wells Fargo’s Volunteer Leave Program. Through this program, Mark was able to volunteer a full month at PFI, with Wells Fargo providing Mark full pay and benefits. Before moving to New Hampshire, Mark also started donating to PFI through Wells Fargo’s workplace giving program, where employees can specify that a certain dollar amount be withheld from their paychecks for any non-profit organization. Wells Fargo forwards those donations quarterly to the organization. Mark and Linda continue to donate to Practical Farmers through this program.

Mark and Linda say, “We continue to support PFI because we believe the inclusive and respectful attitude of its members is important to facilitate learning and movement towards long-term sustainable, productive and collaborative care of the land and the people.”

Because Mark and Linda wish to be mindful of their charitable donations, they plan their yearly donations at the beginning of the year. The payroll deduction program lets them make their decision to donate once a year knowing their donations will make it to PFI throughout the year without any further thought or action.

Erik Eastman

Erik Eastman (1)

Erik Eastman lives in Urbandale with his wife and daughter, and works as a data wrangler for John Deere Financial. Erik has volunteered at Practical Farmers’ conference for the past six years, helping sponsors set up and helping get potluck food to the event center. His regular volunteerism at our conference is an asset, because he understands his responsibilities and carries them out with care and competence.

Erik’s mom, Kathy Eastman, has helped coordinate PFI’s annual conference for 18 years. “My mom’s connection and encouragement made choosing PFI to volunteer for an easy choice,” Erik says. “I like the fact that it is a day-long opportunity on a Friday. It makes it easy to take the day off.”

John Deere Financial helps make the volunteer day convenient as well through its Power for Good program. As an employee, Erik gets a paid day off to volunteer. In addition to the volunteer help we get from Erik, John Deere Financial makes a donation to that non-profit at a rate of $20 an hour for each hour of volunteerism. Some of Erik’s colleagues have volunteered at Practical Farmers through this program as well.

“I enjoy it,” Erik says. “I get to see the same people each year, which makes it a fun experience.”

John Deere employees find donation and volunteer opportunities through Benevity Goodness. To learn more, visit

Donor Spread Page 1 Donor Spread Page 2Last donation page