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People, Plants & Appreciation

Trustee Giving Inspiring our Friends


This is the time of year when your attention is likely to turn to your annual giving to your favorite causes. We are grateful to know that, for many of you, San Francisco Botanical Garden ranks high in your thoughts. We are most grateful for your generosity. We also know that often, as donors contemplate their level of giving, the question often asked is: "What does your board give?" The Board of Trustees here has always been most generous, but this year, board giving has genuinely raised the bar. Donations to our annual operations totalled $140,000, up more than 49% over last year. Every member of the Board has made a gift to the Center for Sustainable Gardening, providing a strong base for the launch of the campaign to complete the Center for Sustainable Gardening.


"Our trustees are all so energized by the future here at the Garden," said Board chair Donald R. Baldocchi. "We all share a vision of our Garden cherished locally and respected globally. And we are so proud to be able to serve such diverse constituencies and interests: from eco-champions to K-5 classroom teachers; from horticulturists and botanists to backyard hobbyists. All our trustees are so personally invested, not just with their checkbooks, but through their participation in so many projects and committees. One of the reasons our Board stepped up its giving," he explains, "is because, as we look ahead, we know we'll need everyone who shares our vision to join us – and to dig deep as well. Looking forward to engaging this supportive circle of family and friends, we wanted to set the best example we could."

Supporting the Botanical Garden Society is a family affair, reports Mary Parks from Palo Alto.  "There's my grandmother M. Jean Fisher, my 16-year-old daughter Mylena Parks and me," says Kathy, recently renewing their membership in our Strybing Circle. "My grandmother and I were fascinated by the recent demonstration in the Zellerbach Garden of how your Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping works. And then just recently I surprised them both with their own tribute pavers around the Fountain Plaza. We love to come up to the Garden!"

That beautiful botanical illustration of the Garden's signature Monterey Cypress, currently on view in the Library's impressive exhibit, "Treasures from San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum; Watercolor Paintings by Mary L. Harden and her Master Artists", is by Martha McClaren. The exhibition, which ends December 30, includes original paintings and prints – some of which are still available for sale, with the artists donating a percentage of the proceeds to the Botanical Garden Society. And therein lies the whimsical tale of Martha's contribution of $210.  "I just decided I didn't want to sell it, but I still wanted the Society to benefit from it. So I donated what the contribution would have been." That's proving there is indeed a fine art to how everyone can make a difference!

We welcome your comments about information in this column. Please contact CRAIG PALMER,, (415) 564-3239 ext 302.

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