Nearly 40 years ago two gals planted seeds for a program in 1982 that would sprout into a Dallas treasure. Having lived through the Great Depression, two World Wars, the Kennedy assassination and evolving roles of women, they had emerged as leaders within the community through their philanthropy and foresight. Their names were Margaret McDermott and Virginia Nick. The seeds were planted at the Dallas Arboretum. It was the Women’s Council of the Arboretum.
Within four years a the Council has established a goal — to fund the design, construction and endowment of “the only public garden in the U.S. conceived by women, funded by the efforts of women and dedicated to the universal spirit of women.” It would appropriately be called A Woman’s Garden.
But such a grand undertaking would take years of planning, construction and fundraising.
Over the years mini-milestones took place — Phase I’s construction kicking off in May 1995 and its being open to the public on October 4, 1997. All the while fundraising was underway with the Women’s Council “meeting their obligation to fund the $1.5M endowment trust to support the ongoing maintenance of Phase I” in 2000.
With Phase II of the Garden opened in the spring of 2006 with an greater endowment needed of its maintenance.
As the Council approaches the 25th anniversary of the Garden’s being open, Council President Lisa Loy Laughlin has just announced the completion of the funding the $1.6M endowment.
According to Lisa, “This is truly historical. We are thrilled and so very grateful for each individual and collaborative contribution which has provided the opportunity for the Women’s Council, that not only has the endowment trust for Phase II been funded, but it happened during this year as we launch A Woman’s Garden 25th Anniversary Campaign happening through October 2022.”
But the Council’s fundraising efforts are not a done deal for this exquisite garden overlooking White Rock that has provided both an opportunity for reflection as well as a favorite setting for weddings.
As Lisa explained the need for the campaign, “It is important to emphasize that even as the Women’s Council has met its goal to fund the endowment trust for Phase II, the need to raise funds and to grow the endowment trust continues and will continue throughout the future to fund the year-round maintenance of the plantings, features, structures and repairs when needed.”
To celebrate the completion of the Phase II endowment goal and to launch its silver anniversary, the Council is hosting members-only events from Monday, September 27, to Monday, October 4, exactly 24 years to the day from the opening of the Garden.
To join the festivities during this week and the year to come, why not sign up as a member? Now’s the time to join!
* Photo provided by the Women's Council of the Dallas Arboretum