• About Us

About Us

Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance

Changing Lives Through the Power of Nature

The Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance changes lives through the power of nature. We inspire, educate and provoke exploration through innovative programs and experiences in one of the nation’s largest and finest historic conservatories.

Background

Following a devastating cold spell in the winter of 1994 which injured a significant portion of the aroid collection, the Chicago Park District convened a task force of representatives from various community, education, and environmental organizations. For six months, eighty individuals participated in the development of a plan to revitalize the Conservatory through new programs, visitor services, marketing and fundraising.

These activities would be carried out by a newly formed Alliance, a partnership of organizations which included the Chicago Park District, Friends of the Parks, and area schools, museums, conservation organizations and community groups.

The plan was subsequently funded by Lila-Wallace Reader's Digest Fund's Urban Parks Initiative which awarded a $1.46 million challenge grant. The grant required a one to one match, at least 60% of which must come from private funds. The Chicago Park District committed to the full 40% public sector match.

Governance

In early 1998, the Alliance filed for non-profit status and began the process of transitioning from a steering committee to a board of directors. Several subcommittees carry out specialized functions:

  • Executive Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Nomination
  • Programs Committee
  • Sub-Committees

Staff

The Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance is a diverse group of experts that join their talents to create programs and workshops for practical experience with plant science and horticulture.

Support

The Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance is a member and donor supported project. Support for the Alliance makes the broad programming at the Conservatory possible. Here are some ways you can get involved:

  • Make a contribution that supports our programs. These programs give kids and adults unique experiences with nature. Ask if your company has a matching gift program. This is an easy way to increase the impact of a gift.
  • Become a member of the Conservatory and get special invitations to events and exhibit previews.
  • Become a volunteer. The Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the most interesting and beautiful places in Chicago to volunteer. It's like a trip to the tropics everyday!

Connections

The Garfield Park Conservatory and Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance are members of the City Parks Alliance, helping to keep our nation’s urban parks vibrant and healthy.

Acknowledgements

Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance

The Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance changes lives through the power of nature. We inspire, educate and provoke exploration through innovative programs and experiences in one of the nation’s largest and finest historic conservatories.

Chicago Park District

The Garfield Park Conservatory is owned and operated by the Chicago Park District. It is responsible for the maintenance and sustainability of the collections, grounds and physical facility. Park District floriculturists propagate plants, mount seasonal flower shows and maintain all outdoor gardens.

Timeline of Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance Projects

Since the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance was originally formed in 1995, it has enhanced the Garfield Park Conservatory with programming and events, and helped the Chicago Park District present world-class exhibits and displays to the people of Chicago and beyond. The Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance was instrumental in the following milestones at the Garfield Park Conservatory.

  • 1995 Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance Steering Committee Created
  • 1998 Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance Incorporated
  • 2000 Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden Opens
  • 2001 Demonstration Garden Opens
  • 2002 Chihuly Glass exhibit Sparks Record Visitorship
  • 2003 Chapungu Statue Exhibit on Display
  • 2004 City Garden Opens
  • 2004 Palm House Renovation
  • 2005 Giants Exhibit on Display
  • 2007 Niki in the Garden Exhibit on Display
  • 2010 Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden Renovations
  • 2011 One Pane At A Time Fundraising for Conservatory Hailstorm Damage
  • 2014 Play & Grow Prototype Garden Opens
  • 2015 Grand Re-Opening – All Conservatory Exhibits and Showrooms open to the public