Fall Fund Drive

Help sustain this special place of solace!

October 2020

Dear Arboretum Friend,

Last week we planted a ginkgo seedling just outside the Japanese Garden. Though small in stature, it carries an outsized message of hope and resilience. This sturdy little tree was grown from a seed of a Hiroshima tree that survived the 1945 atomic bomb, and was gifted to us through the Green Legacy Hiroshima project to promote peace and greater understanding.

Resilience, peace, hope. These are also words that come to mind for what the Washington Park Arboretum has meant to the community through all the challenges of this very unusual year. For many, time spent under its trees has been a saving grace. Azalea Way was achingly beautiful this past spring, and the fall color will soon reach its full peak.

Like many nonprofits, the Arboretum Foundation is facing unprecedented financial challenges in supporting this important community resource. Candidly, many of the earned revenue activities that support core operations, such as gift shop proceeds, tours, summer camps and rentals have been suspended, leaving significant gaps in our operating budgets. The required hiatus of certain volunteer programs has further impacted our operations. We are closely managing expenses, and utilizing staff furloughs and temporary salary reductions to help close the gap. And the community is also stepping forward with philanthropic support. Private donations from our supporters are essential to sustaining the Arboretum and making this refuge accessible to all—and now, more than ever, your partnership is the much-needed backbone of this work.

So how have we adapted, and what is the Arboretum Foundation focused on right now? Our current top priorities are to:

  • Support the core horticulture and arborist programs that keep the Arboretum safe and beautiful. Contemplate how the paths are cleared after a winter storm, new plantings are nurtured, and the canopy is safely maintained. Your dollars make this possible.
  • Provide new types of resources for area schools and young learners who are seeing disruption in their regular classroom environments. How do we help classroom teachers and program leads provide safe nature-based experiences right now? The new “Arboretum on the Move” pilot initiative reaches programs like Lowell School’s Boys and Girls Club, bringing an Arboretum educator on-site to share the natural world with students experiencing homelessness. Your dollars make this possible.
  • Maintain the core staff functions that will be a bridge to the safe return of beloved programs, facilities and capital improvements. In the last year, the Arboretum team has installed the first composting toilet in the Seattle Parks system, made significant collection improvements in historic Rhododendron Glen, continued restoration along the Lake Washington Boulevard corridor, and celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Seattle Japanese Garden. We are creating an Arboretum that can be enjoyed today, but will also endure through the tomorrows. Your dollars make this possible.

If the Washington Park Arboretum has been a source of solace during this pandemic, please consider supporting what you love with a gift today. If time in the Seattle Japanese Garden nourishes your soul, please consider supporting what you love. Your dollars make this possible—for all in our community.
With heartfelt appreciation,

Jane Stonecipher
Executive Director
Arboretum Foundation

p.s. Thank you in advance for the hope and resilience your gift provides for the Arboretum and its community.

“While I have always supported the Arboretum Foundation, just how critical this amazing space is became crystal clear to me during the COVID-19 outbreak.  I was able to safely exercise, reflect and get some space from the pandemic in a gorgeous space transitioning from winter to spring.  Being surrounded by such beauty and nature has really helped me cope with the crisis.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  ”

—Liz