Click here if you are a Woman's Board member.
Founded in 1951, the Woman’s Board and its members have been ambassadors for the Garden; all are dedicated to horticulture, conservation, and education.
An early mission of the Chicago Horticultural Society was to find and develop a permanent headquarters and garden center to serve the Chicago area. The Woman’s Board was established to help build membership for the society, and it further pledged to sponsor new programs, activities, and fundraising projects.
The Woman’s Board developed the Fragrant Garden for the Blind, which opened in 1957 at the Chicago Lighthouse. In 1966, the first plant sale was held—six years before the Chicago Botanic Garden opened to the public in 1972. The Board also introduced the Zimmerman lecture series, a successful and long-running project. Today, Woman’s Board events such as A Rare Affair, the All Aboard! gala, and the Fall Bulb Festival continue to draw people to the Garden, raising funds to support a myriad of programs.
The Garden Shop and the Lenhardt Library also have their roots in work done by the Woman’s Board. In the 1970s the Board established the Garden Shop; its proceeds still provide needed funds. When the Chicago Horticultural Society moved into the early Garden buildings, the Woman’s Board had the first collection of library books installed there.
In 2015, the Woman’s Board completed its final year of “Growing the Future,” a $1 million pledge to the Chicago Botanic Garden. Proceeds from “Growing the Future” have supported the Garden’s Windy City Harvest Youth Farm and Windy City Harvest community gardening programs, enabled renovation of the English Walled Garden as well as restoration of areas damaged by the emerald ash borer, and supported fellowships for the plant biology and conservation graduate program, a collaboration between the Garden and Northwestern University. The last program to be underwritten is the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Regenstein Learning Campus, which provides programs such as Science First to Chicago Public Schools students.
In January of 2016, the Woman’s Board renewed their pledge with “Growing the Future II,” which supports the mission of the Chicago Botanic Garden: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life.
First Vice President
Second Vice President
Third Vice President
Betsy Holleb Karp
Mary Anne Martin
Mary Alice Miller
Amy Van Gorp
Jeanie Van Nice