Strengthen Today to Ensure the Future: The Campaign for Powell Gardens

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Strengthen Today to Ensure the Future
The Campaign for Powell Gardens

From getting married in the Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel to introducing a grandchild to gardening, families love marking milestones at Powell Gardens. Now 30 years old, Powell Gardens has a rich history and an exciting future.

Strengthen Today to Ensure the Future, the Campaign for Powell Gardens, began in 2015 under the leadership of Executive Director Eric Tschanz. Generous friends donated $9.3 million, more than half of the $18.5 million goal. Eric retired in September 2017. A new team continues to cultivate Kansas City’s botanical garden. Our vision is to become an integral part of life in this area and earn recognition as the premiere showcase of the Midwestern landscape.

Today, Powell Gardens operates on an annual budget of $3 million, with revenues generated in equal amounts from earned income, including admissions, rentals and memberships; philanthropic gifts from individuals, foundations and corporations; and endowment income, combined with the support of the Powell Family Foundation.

The Powell Gardens Board is committed to operating the Gardens in a strategic manner designed to meet the needs of visitors today while ensuring that generations to come will also be served. With the support of the Powell Family Foundation, the board recognizes that the Gardens is a community asset and is laying the groundwork to move the Gardens forward in the most responsible way to address multiple current needs and position the Gardens for long-term financial stability. The $18.5 million goal supports capital improvements ($3.5 million) and growing the organization’s endowment ($15 million).


Strengthening the Gardens Today

The capital components of the campaign focus on new construction to enhance current facilities and programming.

Ensuring the Gardens’ Future

$7.5 million in new gifts + $7.5 million in Powell Family Foundation matching gifts Increasing the Gardens’ endowment is essential to ensuring that the Gardens is here for the next generation of gardeners, students, families, horticulturists and anyone who might embrace the Midwest’s spirit and gain an appreciation for the importance of plants in their lives. Dedicated funding in perpetuity for the gardens, programs, personnel and facilities is critical to fulfilling our mission.

The Powell Family Foundation is leading the effort to strengthen the autonomy of the Gardens by providing a dollarfor-dollar match for all gifts to the endowment, up to $7.5 million. A successful campaign will increase the Gardens endowment by $15 million, to a total of $21 million. The larger endowment will generate about $1 million annually, allowing the Powell Gardens Board of Directors to engage in the long-term planning that is critical to fulfilling the Gardens’ mission.

Endowment Naming Opportunities

In phase one of the Campaign for Powell Gardens, we honored our generous donors by naming the following:

Marlese Lowe Gourley Island Garden

David T. Beals III Woodland & Stream Garden

Miller Hammond Chapel Study

Alan Branhagen Director of Horticulture

Arvin Gottlieb Foundation Daylily Path

Clay and Katherine Barton Mixed Perennial Garden

Marilyn Lacey McMullen Woodland Garden

Carl and Jean Chinnery Lower Deck Garden

Natalie Prussing Upper Deck Garden

Susan Lordi Marker Native Plant Garden

The naming opportunities below remain for gifts to the endowment of more than $50,000.

Your GiftRecognition Level with Powell Family Foundation Match
President & CEO$1 Million$2 Million
Perennial Garden$1 Million$2 Million
Conservatory in the Visitor Center$1 Million$2 Million
Director of Education$750,000$1.5 Million
Chapel Road$250,000$500,000
Student Internship Scholarships$250,000$500,000
Youth Education Scholarships$125,000$250,000
Gardens within the Perennial Garden$50,000-$100,000$100,000-$250,000

The remaining capital project naming opportunities include:

Entrance Garden$1 Million
Entrance Road$1 Million
Gardens within the Entrance Garden$250,000

In addition to the above naming opportunities, Powell Gardens will recognize all donors who give $1,000 or more to the campaign on a donor wall in the Visitor Center.

New Name for Island Garden
Bob Gourley Honors his Wife, Marlese Lowe Gourley

The stunning water garden in the center of Powell Gardens is now named the Marlese Lowe Gourley Island Garden to honor Bob and Marlese Gourley’s support of Strengthen Today to Ensure the Future: The Campaign for Powell Gardens. Bob Gourley beams as he talks about honoring his wife of 55 years. “I learned to be generous from Marlese,” Bob says. “The Marlese Lowe Gourley Island Garden honors her character. Throughout our life together, she has offered keen advice, unbelievable tolerance, unwavering support and unconditional love.”
Bob has shared his business acumen with Powell Gardens since the 1990s. He served on the Board of Directors from 2009 to 2015 and was chair in 2012 and 2013. At age 80, Bob continues to be involved with Powell Gardens as a key advisor to President and CEO Tabitha Schmidt and a member of the Campaign Committee. “Bob and Marlese have been a tremendous help to me,” Schmidt says. “We meet regularly to talk about what is happening at Powell Gardens. They are both visionaries with grit.”

Why do the Gourleys continue to give Powell Gardens so much time and attention? “Stress is so high these days,” Marlese says. “People need a place to get away. We want to raise the profile of Powell Gardens. It’s such a beautiful, quiet, serene place.”