Founders, board members, staff and supporters alike came together virtually Sunday to celebrate Envision Frederick County’s 10th birthday, complete with party hats and cupcakes for all.
Envision Frederick County, a nonprofit founded by County Councilman Kai Hagen in 2010, aims to engage citizens and educate them about quality of life issues, especially those focused on the environment and sustainability, and matters of smart, well planned growth in the community, said Executive Director Linda Norris-Waldt.
“In the coming years, we’re going to focus more on those issues through the lens of diversity,” Norris-Waldt told the News-Post. “So, diverse racial, ethnic and economic populations.”
Norris-Waldt also said she’d like the group to be able to amplify messaging from lobbying and advocacy groups that match Envision Frederick’s goals, aiming to ensure more people in the community understand the decisions and policies being enacted by government.
Other goals include starting a webinar series. Topics for these include native plants, the Sugarloaf Area Plan and the South Frederick Corridors Plan.
Norris-Waldt said the group is also concerned about civility and civil discourse and may do a webinar on the subject.
One thing the group is particularly proud of is the work it has done to support the Livable Frederick master plan and its goals, according to the executive director.
During the Zoom celebration Sunday night, several people spoke about Envision Frederick, including Hagen, who stepped down from the executive director post in early December.
Hagen noted that when Envision Frederick started, the goal was to “find the ways that we can to connect with other people, connect them to each other, get people more informed, encourage them to be more engaged in their civic life.”
The group essentially started from scratch and worked its way up with a website, social media pages, email lists, advocacy work and speaker events.
Hagen emphasized that who people elect matters when it comes to environmental issues.
Some wins for Envision Frederick include co-founding the Smarter Growth Alliance for Frederick County and having more than 20 member organizations statewide and local.
“It’s been a privilege to be part of something that we’ve seen grow and become more extensive and expansive and connected and effective in our community,” he said.
Board Chairwoman Elizabeth Bauer said it’s been an honor spending the past decade building the organization.
Some milestones she noted included launching a speaker series in 2016 and creating the Envision Frederick newsletters. Frequent topics include core local government items like land use and planning.