I have to smile when I see photographs and videos from our momentous groundbreaking event in June—ushering in the first phase of a Master Plan that will profoundly enrich the Selby Gardens experience and the entire Sarasota community long into the future.
The deep sense of support and love for our organization was palpable at the event on June 3. You could truly feel the bond that links Marie Selby’s escendants, the Gardens’ founders, elected officials, city staff, and donors with our Trustees, staff members, and volunteers. I was overwhelmed by the feeling of common purpose filling the room.
In fact, if you saw any images of me shoveling dirt after the many uplifting speeches, you’ll see an absolutely exuberant expression on my face. I couldn’t wait to put that hard hat on my head, joining other steadfast supporters to symbolically start work on an exciting new chapter in our history.
Launching this effort is possible thanks to a tremendous outpouring of philanthropic support. Spurred by five separate $1 million gifts from April through July, along with other generous donations, we have now raised $40.1 million—94 percent of the amount needed to implement Phase One. Thank you to our generous donors and to all who have contributed to our success.
As many of you know, this path forward began with creating a transformative five-year strategic plan in 2016—charting a course to making Selby Gardens more sustainable, growing our facilities and our constituencies, and making both our Downtown Sarasota and Historic Spanish Point campuses more accessible to children and families of all backgrounds and means.
As we embark on a new strategic plan for the next three years, our team will be creating the infrastructure needed to assure that Selby Gardens will be part of the community fabric—and be a leader for botanical gardens nationally and worldwide—for generations to come.
We remain dedicated to attracting new visitors, providing reasons for return visits, developing and sharing cutting-edge botanical research, and protecting the environment.
As work begins on making the Master Plan a reality, stay up to date via our website at selby.org. And be sure to tell your friends about the changes unfolding at Selby Gardens—continued support is vital as we move into a bold, new botanical future.
Jennifer O. Rominiecki, President and CEO