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The Morton Arboretum Announces $63 Million Capital Campaign

A rendering of South Farm.
June 22, 2016

The Morton Arboretum, one of the world’s leading tree-focused research institutions, has launched a five-year, $63 million capital campaign, raising more than $35.6 million in its early stages. The Growing Brilliantly campaign will enable the Arboretum to deepen its scientific and conservation work, expand new tree development, and improve core facilities to meet its strategic vision, including the redevelopment of South Farm, which serves as the operations and plant production hub for the 1,700-acre Arboretum.

Along with supporting the new South Farm complex, the campaign will fund critical initiatives, including the Arboretum’s tree conservation and New Plant Development programs, enhancements to the award-winning Children’s Garden, and the launch of the Center for Tree Science. The Center for Tree Science will provide opportunities for tree scientists, professionals, and students to collaborate with one another and participate in training.

The redevelopment of South Farm is the first project to be undertaken as part of the campaign. Scheduled for completion in late 2017, it will include a new operations building, transportation hub, and expanded plant production facilities with 5,400 square feet of new greenhouse space.

The $35.6 million raised includes the five largest gifts in the Arboretum’s history. Among them is a $3 million gift from an Arboretum trustee; a $3 million gift, including $1 million in matching funds, from the Hamill Family Foundation for Arboretum science and conservation programs; and $2.3 million from the Daniel P. Haerther Fund for Development of Trees for the Urban Environment in support of the New Plant Development Program. The campaign comes on the heels of a record year for the Arboretum, when, after years of steady growth, the institution welcomed more than one million visitors in 2015.

“More than ever, trees today need advocates as they face mounting challenges,” said Gerard T. Donnelly, PhD, President and CEO of The Morton Arboretum.  “Such generous gifts are critical to helping us achieve our goal of creating a greener, healthier and more beautiful world. Gifts to the campaign support the ever-increasing relevancy of the Arboretum’s mission to save and plant trees, and position the Arboretum for even greater impact and more service to the public in the coming years.”

“The Morton Arboretum is a phenomenal outdoor museum of trees and a local treasure whose staff is working to address key scientific issues facing our communities and planet,” said Darrell Jackson, chairman of the Arboretum’s Board of Trustees and a donor to the Growing Brilliantly campaign. “The day-to-day work of the Arboretum as a nonprofit organization depends on a robust stream of funding for all of its programs, from tree science to the Children’s Garden.  The Arboretum is open to the public 365 days a year so each and every day showcases the impact of charitable giving.”

The Arboretum has been on a trajectory of growth for the past decade, brought about by the site redevelopment of 2004-2005 that introduced the Children’s Garden and a focus on public outreach.