Rene Iverson, president of Little Creek Farm Conservancy, joins the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio podcast to discuss the journey of becoming a 501(c)(3) organization, upcoming events and volunteer opportunities. Iverson joins hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick for the Around Atlanta segment.
Married for 28 years with three college-aged kids, four cats and one dog, Iverson knows a thing or two about busy schedules and never-ending to-do lists. An Atlanta local long enough to be considered a native, she became aware of Little Creek Farm Conservancy in 2007 when her kids began taking riding lessons. Eventually, she took lessons as well and began volunteering. The rest is history!
“I love all animals but being around horses is definitely a grounding experience,” said Iverson.
Little Creek Farm Conservancy began informally around 2003 by horse owners at the then-private boarding facility. The group approached Dekalb County with the opportunity to purchase the farm giving the county a unique green space and a private boarding facility in the metro area. The county accepted the offer, transitioning the private facility to a county-owned 501(c)(3) organization.
The conservancy is a volunteer-run facility that directs all donations and income to park improvement with the help of five board members and countless helpers. The organization’s mission is threefold – fundraising, helping with capital improvements and providing programming for public interaction. Iverson shared that the current challenge is to create and fill Program Director and Executive Director positions and take these tasks off the current board’s responsibilities.
“Our volunteers are tireless, our horses are loved and we are grateful for the opportunity to do what we can,” said Iverson.
The organization has a formal letter of understanding with the county for permission to fundraise and direct funds to the park, oversee a volunteer program and outreach to introduce kids, seniors and school groups to horses. The unique partnership allows the county and conservancy to work together to create initiatives and lesson programs along with stakeholders. Dekalb County owns the facility, land and provides the operational staff.
Little Creek Farm Conservancy also has a great relationship with Park Pride, a nonprofit greenspace advocate group in Dekalb County. With benefits such as borrowing tools from the tool bank or organizing a volunteer workday with the help of the park group, the conservancy continues to learn and grow by achieving successes with grants courtesy of the Home Depot Foundation. The Small Change grant supplied the necessary funds to build a park pavilion, a capital improvement that provides accessible walkways for visitors to view the jump arena.
Iverson said, “Park Pride is definitely a partner with us, and we have benefitted greatly.”
Little Creek Farm Conservancy is currently executing a 2021 Community Building grant to update signage, security features and a build much-needed welcome center for its up-and-coming docent program for visitors and private tours. The conservancy is launching regular programming and moving out of pandemic operations.
As an active barn, the green space is not a safe place to wander without the supervision of a guide, and the upcoming docent program will provide fun and collaborative tours for visitors to explore the space. Visiting hours will be posted on the organization’s website.
Soon, Little Creek Farm Conservancy will release the dates for the fall Hands on Horses event for guests to watch riding demonstrations while learning details about equine behavior, fun facts and more.
Horse Fest is a highly anticipated fundraising and community outreach that features riding demonstrations, vendors and kid’s activities, including pony rides and a petting zoo. The previous 2019 Horse Fest was the most successful festival yet, but due to pandemic effects in 2020, Little Creek Farm Conservancy hosted an online auction in its place. In 2022, the conservancy expects to host Horse Fest once again.
“We are a very welcoming community [and] this park is a true gem,” shared Iverson. “The conservancy relies on donations to keep this [a park]. There are not many cities that you can go and visit large animals.”
All horses housed at Little Creek Farm Conservancy are privately owned and contribute to programming by participating in events, riding lessons and assisting with visiting groups. The conservancy does not have trail horses or offer hourly rides.
All programs focus on English discipline. The organization has a hunter jumper program and offers beginner equitation for dressage lessons as well.
To learn more about Little Creek Farm Conservancy and its mission, visit the website. Don’t forget to interact on their Instagram and Facebook for regular updates on events, lessons and to learn more about the resident horses.
Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee, License #22564. NMLS ID #6606. Subject to borrower and property qualifications. Not all applicants will qualify. Little Creek Farm Conservancy and New American Funding are not associated. Click here to view the terms and conditions of products mentioned during the show. Corporate office 14511 Myford Rd., Suite 100, Tustin, CA 92780. Phone: (800) 450-2010. (October/2021)
New American Funding is a family-owned mortgage lender with a servicing portfolio of over 123,000 loans for $30.4 billion, 198 branches, and about 3,100 employees. The company offers several niche loan products and has made Inc. 5000’s list of Fastest-Growing Companies in America six times. It has a state-of-the-art career training facility and develops innovative technology, including the GoGo LO mobile application. For more information, visit www.branch.newamericanfunding.com/Atlanta.
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