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Goldman Fund Awards $1 Million Grant to San Francisco Botanical Garden Society for New Center for Sustainable Gardening

(November 22, 2006, San Francisco, CA) The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund announced it would award San Francisco Botanical Garden Society (SFBGS) a grant of $1,000,000 to support the construction of the new Center for Sustainable Gardening at San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum, a 55-acre pubic garden owned by the City and County of San Francisco and operated by its Recreation and Park Department. For more than 50 years, the Society has supported the city-owned-and-maintained Gardens with fundraising, promotion and advocacy; and is committed to providing educational and interpretive programs for its visitors.

San Francisco's unique botanical garden inspires visitors with the extraordinary diversity of rare and unusual plants that can be grown in coastal California. Through its programs and displays, SF Botanical Garden and the Society strive to celebrate the bond between people and plants, and to instill a deeper understanding of the necessity to conserve Earth's biological diversity. In adherence to these values, the Center for Sustainable Gardening will be designed to meet a high level of environmental standards, and will house a state-of-the-art nursery and plant collections facility, while serving as a hub for the Botanical Garden's environmental education programs.

“We believe the new Center for Sustainable Gardening will be central to the campaign to improve the Botanical Garden. The Center, along with the other improvements, will make San Francisco Botanical Garden a leading facility of its kind in the country and we are happy to assist in attaining their goal,” said Richard N. Goldman, founder of the Goldman Fund.

The Center for Sustainable Gardening will serve as a model of green architecture. The building itself will reinforce the concepts of energy conservation and efficiency, and the horticultural activities taking place within the facility will emphasize sustainable gardening practices. SF Botanical Garden and Society staff, and the East Bay firm of Fernau & Hartman Architects have collaborated with a group of specialist to design a center that would not only meet the needs of the Botanical Garden and its visitors, but also comply with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold level specifications. LEED provides comprehensive guidelines for buildings to be considered green, as determined by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. LEED specifications include using natural, renewable, or recycled materials, and processes that do not cause pollution, as well as indoor and outdoor site planning; water efficiency; quality of energy and atmosphere; and innovation and design process.

“We are extremely grateful to the Goldman Fund for this support. It will allow us to move closer to our goal of launching this new project,” explains Michael McKechnie, SFBGS executive director. “This is the largest foundation grant ever received by the Garden or the Society. I believe that this important stamp of approval from the Goldman Fund will boost our fundraising efforts and bring closer the day when we can celebrate the public opening of this unique center.”

“The Society and the City have developed a powerful vision for SFBG to transform it into one of the world's great botanical gardens,” said Yomi Agunbiade, general manager of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. “The construction of the Center for Sustainable Gardening is one step toward fulfilling this vision. It demonstrates our commitment to a green future and provides an opportunity to increase civic pride. It is with the generous support of the Goldman Fund and others that we will bring our goals to fruition.”

About San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum:
SFBG is a 55-acre section of Golden Gate Park owned by the City and County of San Francisco and operated by its Recreation and Park Department. The mission of the Botanical Garden is to create, sustain, and interpret a distinct, documented collection of mediterranean, mild temperate and tropical cloud-forest plants displayed in designed gardens and habitats, and to provide a place of exceptional beauty and natural sanctuary. For more information (415) 661-1316 or visit

About SF Botanical Garden Society:
San Francisco Botanical Garden Society is a non-profit community-based organization founded to support the public garden at San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum. The mission of the Society is to create a community to actively support the Botanical Garden with fundraising, promotion and advocacy; and to provide outstanding botanical, horticultural, and environmental education opportunities for people of all ages. For further information about San Francisco Botanical Garden Society call (415) 661-1316 or visit

About the Goldman Fund:
Since its establishment in 1951 by San Francisco philanthropists and civic leaders Richard and Rhoda Goldman, the Goldman Fund has contributed more than $450 million to a variety of charitable causes in San Francisco, as well as nationally and internationally. The Fund supports programs that focus on improving the quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area, the environment, democracy and civic participation, and Jewish affairs. For more information see


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