Tucson Botanical Gardens

A tranquil oasis in the heart of Tucson

aka The Gardens   |   Tucson, AZ   |  www.tucsonbotanical.org

Mission

The Tucson Botanical Gardens connects people with plants and nature through art, science, history and culture.

Notes from the nonprofit

Tucson Botanical Gardens is an active member of the American Public Garden Association and the Garden Conservancy.

Ruling year info

1970

Executive Director

Michelle Conklin CFRE

Main address

2150 N Alvernon Way

Tucson, AZ 85712 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

23-7037310

NTEE code info

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Botanical Gardens, Arboreta and Botanical Organizations (C41)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Tucson Botanical Gardens experiences two major problems: parking; being an urban public garden that is landlocked requires our Board of Directors to continually look for adjacent property to purchase so that we can expand our gardens space and programming as well as provide adequate parking for guests. Second problem is funding: The Tucson Botanical Gardens receives no state or city funding and has very few corporations to draw upon for corporate support. This fact requires the organization to rely solely on earned revenue as well as contributed income from private donors and family foundations. Through rotating exhibitions, public events and an outstanding horticultural display we are working towards addressing these challenges.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Historic Gardens

There are 16 different gardens within the grounds representing a variety of gardening traditions and botanical themes. The Gardens offer programs and classes for adults on a broad array of topics, from gardening for newcomers to composting to botanical art. The children's educational programs are offered to school groups and families with the premise that learning should be fun, hands-on and curricula-based.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Gardens’ Horticultural Therapy Program makes education about horticulture and the natural world accessible to special populations, through both outreach and on-site programs.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Seniors

1500 sq foot tropical greenhouse and live butterfly exhibit. Annually Oct 1- April 30th.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

The Gardens’ Education Department provides structured opportunities for learning about the world of plants and gardening to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. Programs for the adult learner include guided tours, classes, workshops and field trips, and community lectures on botanical and horticultural topics. Youth Programs include after-school and summer camp programs, guided tours and on-site field study experiences for school children, classroom modules for teachers, and guidance and support for the development of school and community gardens.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

Throughout the year, the Gardens hosts special events such as the Butterfly Affaire, Luminaria Nights, Urban Garden Festival, Luxury Home and Garden Tour.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Gardens installs temporary exhibitions of sculpture, paintings, drawings and decorative arts in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

The Guided Apprentice Program, overseen by the Gardens’ Horticultural Therapy department, is an on-going, community-based educational opportunity developed, implemented, and evaluated in partnership with Tucson high school special education programs.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth
People with disabilities

Where we work

Awards

Charity Accredidation 2018

Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity

Affiliations & memberships

Association of Fundraising Professionals - Member 2018

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of grants awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This only includes private family foundation grants and does not include any contract funding.

Total number of paid admissions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This includes paying guest through admissions during regular business hours. This does not include those attending classes, rentals, meetings, tours, evening events. COVID affected 2020 admissions.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Over the past 10 years, the Gardens has dramatically changed: homes were purchased along the southern border, a new visitor center was opened, new gardens installed and older gardens decommissioned. In addition, this past year the Tucson Botanical Gardens changed its mission to better reflect the work we do, our historical and cultural significance in Tucson and the programs and people that we serve. To this end, the Gardens is working towards attracting new audiences, refining its plant collection and display gardens as well as understand best use of the new properties acquired. The Tucson Botanical Gardens is committed to creating the best guest experience and showcase the best of botanical gardens. We are working towards developing a sustainable business model through earned revenue programs and exhibits. And finally, we are exploring acquiring surrounding property when we are able.

1) Update the Gardens Master Site Plan. In 2017, a professional master planner with botanical garden experience was hired to help guide the organization through the process. 2) Identify and develop an annual art exhibition schedule. This process began in 2015 with Nature Connects: an outdoor sculpture show of Lego Bricks. In 2016, Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life premiered, and in 2017 Origami in the Gardens: Larger than life bronze and steel sculptures graced the Gardens. These exhibitions have been informational, attracting new members and guests. In 2021, Seeing the Invisible premiered, an augmented reality exhibit with art from some of the most prominent contemporary artists of the moment. 2) The Gardens has taken a serious look at its collection and interpretation. New professional plants signs were installed, a new Welcome Corridor featuring pollinator plants was installed and a new rotating exhibition garden was installed. In addition, diverse programs that reach people of all ages and abilities are a focus.

Tucson Botanical Gardens is fortunate to have supporters who believe in the big vision. The Master Site Plan was fully funded by supporters; in 2017 a home that bordered the south east corner of the property became available and supporters rallied to help the Tucson Botanical Gardens purchase a third property lot. In 2020, we purchased additional homes on Hampton with eyes toward our expansion. With a forward thinking Board of Director, the staff is encouraged to attend and participate in American Public Garden Association activities and opportunities, helping to ensure our staff is up to date on best practice and the latest on educational programming and national exhibits.

Since opening their new visitor center, gallery and first traveling exhibition (Nature Connects) on 9/11/2015, the Tucson Botanical Gardens has been the recipient of the prestigious "Copper Cactus Award" given by the Tucson Chamber of Commerce for nonprofit management - the first nonprofit chosen for this award. In 2017, the Tucson Botanical Gardens was named by the Canada Garden Tourism Board as "One of the Top 10 Public Gardens to Visit in North America". In November of 2017, The Gardens Executive Director, Michelle Conklin, was named Fundraising Executive of the Year and in 2018 she was named Outstanding CEO by Inside Tucson Business. In 2016, the New York Botanical Gardens chose the Tucson Botanical Garden as the only public garden in north American to host their blockbuster exhibit, Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life. In 2020 the Gardens was chosen as only one of 10 gardens in the world to host Seeing the Invisible, an augmented realty exhibit developed by the Jerusalem Botanic Garden. The Tucson Botanical Gardens continues to vision big and bring to our City and our residents the best in botanical garden horticulture, programming and exhibitions.

Financials

Tucson Botanical Gardens
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Tucson Botanical Gardens

Board of directors
as of 12/15/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Katharine Kent

The Solar Store

Term: 2018 - 2022

Karen McCloskey

Steve Bossé

Shelly Abbott, MLA

David Lovitt

Lisa Owens-Sredzinski

John Smith

Kelly Flannigan

Kristi Lewis

Jo Smith

Teniqua Broughton

Anne Segal

Remy Sotto

Paul Volpe

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/15/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data