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Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

New Donations to Selby Gardens’ Master Plan To Be Tripled Thanks to Leadership Gift from Willis A. Smith Construction

Aerial view of construction progress on Phase One of Selby Gardens’ Master Plan as of late March.

A leadership gift from Willis A. Smith Construction to the Campaign for Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ Master Plan has seeded a double matching opportunity for new gifts, which will enable the fundraising goal for the project’s first phase to be met.

The Willis Smith donation leverages Selby Gardens’ existing Campaign Capping Challenge, which has been matching every gift dollar-for-dollar for Phase One of the Master Plan. Now, any new gifts up to $250,000 will effectively be tripled.

“From this point forward, every new gift up to $250,000 for Phase One of our Master Plan will be tripled thanks to leadership support provided by Willis A. Smith Construction, our construction manager,” said Jennifer O. Rominiecki, president & CEO of Selby Gardens. “Phase One construction is projected to be completed in October—less than seven months from now—so crossing this fundraising finish line will ensure we can continue to focus forward. We are so grateful to Willis Smith and its leadership team, who are just incredible partners on this transformative project.”

The Campaign Capping Challenge was launched in October 2021 with pledges from an initiator group of loyal Selby Gardens champions to secure the funds needed to complete Phase One of the Master Plan. With that goal now in close sight, Willis A. Smith Construction made its gift to further incentivize other donors.

“Willis Smith is known for building landmarks in this community, and Selby Gardens’ transformed Downtown Sarasota campus will indeed be a world-class landmark,” said John LaCivita, president of Willis A. Smith Construction. “Selby Gardens has an amazing leader in Jennifer Rominiecki, and its forward-thinking Board of Directors is committed to preserving history and securing legacy while creating an innovative, one-of-a-kind facility for the future. Willis Smith could not be more proud to help secure the final funding that will make Phase One of this iconic Sarasota project a reality.”

When it opens, Phase One of Selby Gardens’ Master Plan will include:

• a new Welcome Center;
• a state-of-the-art Plant Research Center with a new herbarium, laboratory, and library;
• the Living Energy Access Facility, or LEAF, which will house parking, a garden-to-plate restaurant, a new plant and gift shop, and a nearly 50,000-square-foot solar array that will make Selby Gardens the first net-positive energy botanical garden complex in the world;
• a cutting-edge stormwater management system;
• a publicly accessible Multiuse Recreational Trail, or MURT, which opened last December;
• off-site roadway improvements;
• and numerous new garden features with more open space.

“Gifts to our Master Plan at all levels are welcome, and naming opportunities continue to be available,” said Rominiecki. “This project will transform not only Selby Gardens but also the Sarasota community and beyond. We invite everyone to be a part of it.”

To date, nearly $57 million has been raised for the overall Master Plan. To learn more about the Master Plan for Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus, go here.