Botanical gardens rely on four major areas for funding: drawing on an endowment or trust, collaborating with institutions like universities for research that will benefit both; earning income from gate fees, gift shops, parking facilities rentals, etc.; and—the focus of this post—cultivating charitable contributions.
Anne Cox Chambers, 95, the surviving daughter of Cox's founder and a company director now worth $17.3 billion in media holdings, is a lifetime trustee of the Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG). Within the ABG, the Southern Seasons Garden is named after her and a courtyard and aquatic plant pond are named after her father.
A new Cox million-dollar gift goes to the garden’s $50 million Nourish and Flourish Capital Campaign to support the expansion of gardens and facilities. The capital infrastructure improvements, which began last year and will continue through 2017, include new gardens in Storza Woods, a hillside garden along the eastern boundary overlooking Piedmont Park, a renovated Children’s Garden that served 250,000 children and families in 2014, a new full-service restaurant and additions to GardenHouse complex to include a new cafe offering farm-to-table meals and cooking classes. The Training and Conservation Center will also expand.
"The Atlanta Botanical Garden has benefited tremendously by the generosity of the Cox family and the James M. Cox Foundation," said Mary Pat Matheson, President and CEO of the Atlanta Botanical Garden. "We share a commitment and passion for nature, gardens and the environment and are honored and delighted by this incredible gift.”
"The Atlanta Botanical Garden is an urban oasis that connects our employees and customers with nature in the heart of the City of Atlanta," said Alex Taylor, Cox Enterprises executive vice president and great-grandson of company founder James M. Cox. "Cox has been closely linked with the Atlanta Botanical Garden since it was founded nearly 40 years ago. We have a shared vision of sustainability, and this campaign will help the Garden serve future generations of Atlantans."
The stated mission of the Atlanta Botanical Garden is to “develop and maintain plant collections for display, education, research, conservation and enjoyment.” The garden invites its patrons to soak up the experience it offers, including lingering in the treetops on the Kendeda Canopy Walk, and learning about seasonal edibles in the Edible Garden.