North Carolina Botanical Garden Foundation, Inc.

A Conservation Garden

Chapel Hill, NC   |
GuideStar Charity Check

North Carolina Botanical Garden Foundation, Inc.

EIN: 56-6076622


To champion, promote, sustain, and advise the North Carolina Botanical Garden so that its endeavors to protect lands, support research, and educate the public about plants and natural ecosystems will flourish on behalf of North Carolina and the Southeast.

Ruling year info


Director, North Carolina Botanical Garden

Dr. Damon Edward Waitt

Main address

Campus Box 3375 Education Center

Chapel Hill, NC 27599 USA

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Subject area info

Botanical gardens


Population served info

Children and youth



NTEE code info

Botanical Gardens, Arboreta and Botanical Organizations (C41)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

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

Tax forms



See related organizations info

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Critical components of botanical education, research and management are lacking across government, academic, and private sectors. A recent nationwide survey revealed severe shortages of botanists at government agencies, a wave of upcoming retirements, and an alarming decline in botanical degree programs and course offerings at the nation's colleges and universities. Increasing our Botanical Capacity will be essential to solving the grand challenges of the next century, including climate change, sustainability, food security, preservation of ecosystem services, conservation of threatened species, and control of invasive species.

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?


Through the Education Program, the Garden connects people to nature through diverse, creative experiences that instill recognition of the intrinsic value of nature, including its benefits to the human condition. Annually the garden offers hundreds of lectures, workshops, classes, and field trips along with programs for children and families, on and off-site programs for public schools, environmental education programs to children in long-term hospital care, and training and mentorship for caregivers through the Horticultural Therapy Program. In addition, the garden trains botanists, ecologists, and botanical illustrators through its certificate programs. The garden has 20,000 registered participants in its programs and an annual visitation of over 100,000, not including satellite sites that are open dawn to dusk every day of the year.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Through its Conservation Program, the Garden conducts research and application in ecological restoration and germplasm storage. As a founding member of the national Center for Plant Conservation, the garden holds genetic resources of 45 endangered Southeastern plants for use in restoration and as a last resort against extinction in the wild. The conservation program also partners with the state and federal agencies to coordinate collection of common species for short- and long-term storage, research, reintroduction, and plant materials development.

Population(s) Served

Through its Horticulture Program, the Garden is a leading source of information and expertise on the plants of North Carolina and the Southeastern United States. This department is responsible for the management and care of 12 acres of thematic display gardens containing 5,900 accessions and 2,100 species at 100 Old Mason Farm Road and the five acre Coker Arboretum on the main campus. The display gardens offer a variety of natural settings in which to view native plants and cultivars of native plants. The nursery makes 250 native southeastern plant species available to the nursery industry and the public through daily and semi-annual plant sales and provides Wildflower of the Year and other seed annually.

Population(s) Served

Through its Plant Biodiversity Research program, the Garden manages the UNC Herbarium, the largest collection of plant specimens in the Southeast (800,000 specimens dating from the mid-1800s). This collection is the definitive resource for plant identification and geographic distribution in the Southeastern U.S. The Herbarium is a key scientific resource that provides data to UNC researchers and to other universities, government agencies, and other researchers.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

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.

The Botanical Capacity Initiative will bring together various concerns and resources throughout the University of North Carolina to promote excellence in this crucial area of biology. The main activities of the initiative will be to coordinate existing research collections and field resources, to promote synergisms for research and funding opportunities, to enhance the undergraduate and graduate curriculum with course and research offerings, to create partnerships with other agencies (municipal, state and federal) and institutions engaged in botanical research and education and to inspire the citizens of North Carolina (and beyond) to understand, appreciate, and conserve their natural heritage.

Botanical Capacity will be increased with four Key Strategies:

1. Create Infrastructure to develop Botanical Capacity.

2. In partnership with Biology, Curriculum for the Environment, and other UNCCH departments, develop Botanical Capacity in Education and Training.

3. In partnership with state and federal agencies, non-profits organizations, and commercial enterprises, develop Botanical Capacity in Research and Management.

4. Develop an informed citizenry by increasing Botanical Capacity in Communications and Outreach.

The North Carolina Botanical Garden has been a leader in native plant conservation and education in the southeastern United States for more than 50 years. As part of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, we further the University's tripartite teaching, research, and public service mission through our own mission to inspire understanding, appreciation, and conservation of plants and to advance a sustainable relationship between people and nature. In the process, the garden has established itself as:

1. A university-affiliated botanical garden with an outstanding international reputation as a garden that integrates a conservation ethic into all of its programs.

2. The region's most comprehensive center of knowledge on plants in North Carolina and the southeastern United States.

3. An institute that provides a broad audience with inspirational experiences, opportunities for health and wellness through outdoor activities, and educational programs within a scientifically based institution.

The Garden manages over 1100 acres of land and supports university classes as an outdoor classroom and laboratory through field trips, research facilities, long-term ecological research, and ecosystem monitoring sites. Garden scientists teach university classes and mentor undergraduate, MS and PhD research projects. The Garden also provides students with experience in careers in museums, classroom and non-classroom education (20 interns and 50 work-study and temporary workers annually). Some 250 volunteers working in 28 volunteer groups contribute to all Garden programs.

Today the North Carolina Botanical Garden is nationally known for its conservation practices, educational programs, and display gardens. The concept of the Conservation Garden was developed at the North Carolina Botanical Garden in the early 1990s to represent the many conservation-related activities that were always at the heart of the Garden's mission and programs.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    The Foundation conducts periodic surveys of its membership.

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We did a complete overhaul of membership levels and benefits.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2020 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 40.28 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2020 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 11.3 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2020 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 0% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

Source: IRS Form 990 info

North Carolina Botanical Garden Foundation, Inc.

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

North Carolina Botanical Garden Foundation, Inc.

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

North Carolina Botanical Garden Foundation, Inc.

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

This snapshot of North Carolina Botanical Garden Foundation, Inc.’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$6,121 $207,142 -$72,615 $591,644 -$188,617
As % of expenses -0.6% 13.6% -6.5% 45.9% -13.6%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$6,121 $206,292 -$72,615 $591,644 -$188,617
As % of expenses -0.6% 13.6% -6.5% 45.9% -13.6%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $1,029,036 $1,316,145 $1,436,517 $2,543,570 $1,122,630
Total revenue, % change over prior year -26.8% 27.9% 9.1% 77.1% -55.9%
Program services revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.2% 0.8% 1.1% 1.4%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 92.6% 89.6% 80.6% 96.2% 94.7%
Other revenue 7.3% 10.2% 18.6% 2.7% 3.9%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $952,899 $1,520,852 $1,121,974 $1,289,046 $1,387,225
Total expenses, % change over prior year -13.8% 59.6% -26.2% 14.9% 7.6%
Personnel 19.9% 12.6% 18.1% 12.3% 10.9%
Professional fees 9.3% 5.2% 6.3% 5.2% 3.0%
Occupancy 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 43.9% 58.6% 57.0% 65.7% 81.5%
All other expenses 26.9% 23.6% 18.5% 16.8% 4.5%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Total expenses (after depreciation) $952,899 $1,521,702 $1,121,974 $1,289,046 $1,387,225
One month of savings $79,408 $126,738 $93,498 $107,421 $115,602
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $336,375 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $1,032,307 $1,648,440 $1,215,472 $1,732,842 $1,502,827

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Months of cash 12.6 4.4 5.4 11.2 9.4
Months of cash and investments 55.5 34.5 56.8 58.3 52.3
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets -4.0 -0.9 -0.2 2.2 0.4
Balance sheet composition info 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Cash $1,002,219 $556,036 $506,399 $1,204,562 $1,085,471
Investments $3,405,043 $3,812,291 $4,803,704 $5,054,246 $4,962,552
Receivables $271,999 $224,740 $236,942 $192,625 $205,054
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $287,073 $287,073 $0 $340,000 $340,000
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 42.3% 44.4% 0.0% 1.1% 2.1%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 4.3% 0.1% 0.4% 0.0% 0.1%
Unrestricted net assets -$155,196 $51,096 -$21,519 $570,125 $381,508
Temporarily restricted net assets $3,617,131 $3,379,602 $4,044,379 $4,912,448 N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $2,111,808 $2,292,515 $2,474,798 $2,584,389 N/A
Total restricted net assets $5,728,939 $5,672,117 $6,519,177 $7,496,837 $7,472,793
Total net assets $5,573,743 $5,723,213 $6,497,658 $8,066,962 $7,854,301

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Material data errors No No No No No


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

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Director, North Carolina Botanical Garden

Dr. Damon Edward Waitt

Dr. Damon Waitt is Director of the North Carolina Botanical Garden and Professor of the Practice in Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As Director, Waitt has broad responsibility for overall leadership and management of the North Carolina Botanical Garden and for ensuring that the Garden fulfills its mission to inspire understanding, appreciation, and conservation of plants in gardens and natural areas and to advance a sustainable relationship between people and nature. Waitt came to the North Carolina Botanical Garden from the Lady Bird Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas where he served as Senior Director and Botanist from 2001-2015. As Senior Director, Waitt had broad responsibility for developing the Wildflower Center's 279 acres of gardens and natural areas including capital projects like the Mollie Steves Zachry Texas Arboretum and the Luci and Ian Family Garden opened in 2014.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

North Carolina Botanical Garden Foundation, Inc.

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

North Carolina Botanical Garden Foundation, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 02/24/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Ms. Anne Harris


Term: 2023 - 2019

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 ? Not applicable
  • 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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/24/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/24/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.