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Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Selby Gardens to Receive $2.5-Million Gift from Estate of Longtime Volunteer Evelyn S. Mink


Evelyn S. Mink

For 25 years, Evelyn Mink volunteered in the Welcome Center at our Downtown Sarasota campus. Now, an estate gift left by Mrs. Mink to Selby Gardens will create a special place for volunteers like her as part of Phase One of the Master Plan.

Selby Gardens will receive approximately $2.5 million through the Evelyn S. Mink Charitable Trust. The gift will be used to support Phase One construction of the Master Plan and will name the Evelyn S. Mink Volunteer Suite in the new Plant Research Center that is part of the project. When the building opens next year, the suite named for Mrs. Mink will house volunteer workstations, a lounge area, and the office of the volunteer coordinator.

“For 25 years, Mrs. Mink volunteered in our Welcome Center, contributing almost 5,000 hours of service to Selby Gardens over that time,” recalled Vera Neumann-Wood, Selby Gardens’ volunteer coordinator. “Until very recently, you could see her driving onto the Downtown Sarasota campus in her Thunderbird convertible!”

Mink’s last day of volunteering at Selby Gardens was in March 2020, just before the Gardens had to temporarily close to visitors for the COVID-19 pandemic—and about two months shy of Mink’s 100th birthday. Mink passed away in June 2021 at 101.

A rendering of the Plant Research Center

“Evelyn Mink’s dedicated service and generous philanthropy are an inspiration and, really, part of a legacy here at Selby Gardens,” said Jennifer O. Rominiecki, president and CEO of Selby Gardens. “Both of our campuses were established by forward-thinking women of their time, whose influence continues to enrich our community many decades later. When volunteers see Mrs. Mink’s name on their dedicated space in our new facilities, they’ll know she was a special woman who made Selby Gardens an even better place for those who came after her.”

With Mink’s gift, Selby Gardens has now raised over $53 million for the overall Master Plan, including about $49 million specifically earmarked for Phase One construction. “We only have $2.6 million left to reach our fundraising goal for Phase One construction,” said Rominiecki. To meet that goal, several supporters have issued a Capping Challenge for Phase One, matching every gift dollar-for-dollar until the milestone is reached.

Rominiecki added that planned gifts like Evelyn Mink’s may be made to the campaign for the Master Plan, including toward naming opportunities. “Donors can plan a gift now that will be realized later and still see their generous contribution publicly recognized when Phase One is completed just a year from now,” Rominiecki said.