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Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Selby Gardens announces Campaign Capping Challenge to secure remaining funds for Phase One of the Master Plan at the Downtown Sarasota campus

Initiator Donors pledge $2.5 million towards dollar-for-dollar match


SARASOTA, Fla., October 6, 2021 – Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (Selby Gardens) is excited to announce a Campaign Capping Challenge to secure the remaining funds needed for Phase One of the Master Plan at the Downtown Sarasota campus. With $5 million left to raise to reach the updated Phase One Goal of $45 million, an initiator group of loyal champions has stepped forward to provide a $2.5 million dollar match or 50 percent of the $5 million left to raise for Phase One – if the rest of the community provides the remaining $2.5 million needed.

“We are so grateful for the generosity of the donors who have already given to the overall campaign — and to those who came forward to initiate this challenge,” said Jennifer Rominiecki, President & CEO of Selby Gardens. “This is an unprecedented opportunity for the community to support this transformational plan and Selby Gardens’ future as an international leader in sustainability.”  The initiators of the Capping Challenge include Lead Donors Drs. Joel Morganroth and Gail Morrison Morganroth and the Steinwachs Family Foundation. Benefactor Donors include the Frank E. Duckwall FoundationCornelia and Richard Matson, and Hobart and Janis Swan. Additional donors include Sherry and Howard Davis, Keith Monda and Veronica Brady, Pauline L. Wamsler and David J. Sales, Katherine and Frank Martucci, Doug and Betsy Elder, and Jean Weidner Goldstein and several anonymous donors.

Selby Gardens’ trustees, leadership donors and campaign co-chairs Jean Weidner Goldstein, Cornelia Matson and Pauline L. Wamsler are spearheading the overall fundraising effort for the 10-year three-phase Master Plan, Innovating a Greener Future: The Campaign for Selby Gardens. The overall fundraising goal is $92 million, which breaks down to $72 million for construction and $20 million for endowment and operations.  “We are incredibly grateful to all who have given thus far and invite the entire community to take part in this Capping Challenge to help Selby Gardens reach the monumental milestone that is Phase One,” says the campaign co-chairs Jean Weidner Goldstein, Cornelia Matson and Pauline L. Wamsler.

Selby Gardens broke ground on the Master Plan on June 3, 2021 and site preparation is underway. Phase One will be complete in less than two years.  The Plan will allow Selby Gardens to realize its full potential and preserve its important history for the generations to come. Through the implementation of the Master Plan, Selby Gardens will safeguard and showcase the world’s best scientifically-documented collections of orchids and bromeliads; add more open space; become an international model for the latest green building technology; accommodate its visitor base; and connect the underserved families and children in our region to the wonders of Selby Gardens. The plan also calls for the creation of a new stormwater management system and solar energy plant on site, making the campus the first-ever net-positive botanical garden complex in the world.

The Master Plan includes the following three phases:

Phase One:

  • A new Welcome Center to properly accommodate and orient guests.
  • A cutting-edge Plant Research Center that will include a state-of-the-art Herbarium and Laboratory as well as a Research Library to appropriately steward rare books and prints dating to the 1700s.
  • The Living Energy Access Facility (LEAF) that will house parking, a gift shop and a garden-level restaurant – capped with a 50,000-square-foot solar array that will make Selby Gardens the world’s first net-positive botanical garden complex. As part of the LEAF, a stormwater filtration system will treat stormwater runoff and return clean water to Sarasota Bay.

Phase Two:

  • A hurricane-resilient greenhouse complex to house the world-renowned living collections.
  • A Learning Pavilion, which will offer expanded capacity for school programs and enhance indoor and outdoor classroom space for children and adults.

Phase Three:

  • Restoration of the landmark Payne Mansion, which serves as the Museum of Botany & the Arts.
  • Unification of all walking paths throughout the Gardens.
  • Bolstering of sea walls surrounding the property and renovation of docks.

The Master Plan has been guided by the international landscape architecture studio OLIN, building architecture firm Overland Partners and civil engineer Kimley Horn. Willis Smith Construction serves as the construction manager for the project.

About Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens provides 45 acres of bayfront sanctuaries connecting people with air plants of the world, native nature, and our regional history. Established by forward thinking women of their time, Selby Gardens is composed of the 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus and the 30-acre Historic Spanish Point campus in the Osprey area of Sarasota County, Florida. The Downtown Campus on Sarasota Bay is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns, and other tropical plants. There is a significant focus on botany, horticulture, education, historical preservation, and the environment. The Historic Spanish Point (HSP) Campus is located less than 10 miles south along Little Sarasota Bay. The HSP Campus, one of the largest preserves showcasing native Florida plants that is interpreted for and open to the public, celebrates an archaeological record that encompasses approximately 5,000 years of Florida history. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a Smithsonian Affiliate and is also accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.  For more information visit


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