Planting Seeds Aerial photo of Maybury Farm
ng front and center i m r Community Foundation’s new m a ission puts f
When Jessica Striegle took over as executive director of Northville Community Foundation, one of her top priorities was relationshipbuilding. The other was Maybury Farm, the historic farm at Maybury State Park, which the NCF acquired in 2003 after a disastrous fire destroyed the barns and all the animals. “When we took it over 15 years ago, it was a closed, burned-down barn,” said NCF board president Colleen McDonald. “Now it’s a destination.” As NCF rounds out its 20th anniversary year, Maybury Farm has taken an increasingly central role for the organization. So when Striegle announced she’d be leaving
18 The ‘Ville
her position in mid-March, it opened the door to a new focus at the foundation – and a shift at Maybury from a historic farming exhibit to a science-based model with an eye toward the real-life connections between humans, the environment, and how we grow our food.
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS NCF, a 501(c)3 charitable nonprofit, formed in 1997 to plan the Northville Township centennial. From there, the organization started the Northville holiday home tour and began coordinating the Northville Independence Day Parade on July 4th. After the disastrous fire at Maybury Farm, NCF took on the project of restoring it and reopening it to the public. While the farm is owned by the state, it doesn’t receive tax dollars; NCF leases the farm from the state and runs programming and maintenance. Striegle, whose background is in events and sales, joined NCF five years ago as assistant to founding president Shari Peters, then moved up as coordinator of events and fundraising. When Peters stepped down three years ago, Striegle took
over as executive director. “When I first started, I joked that we were the best-kept secret in Northville,” Striegle said. “Lots of people knew the things we did, but not that NCF was behind them.” That, coupled with what she called “some misconceptions” about the foundation under previous leadership, propelled her to focus on building relationships with Northville businesses and nonprofits. “Jessica’s done a great job with networking,” said McDonald. “She’s made some fabulous connections; people love her.” Maybury State Park supervisor Traci Sincock, who previously worked at the Northville Chamber of Commerce and previously headed Northville Parks and Recreation, said the community foundation has become a bigger player in the