FBBG Mission and Responsibilities to the Gardens

The mission of the Friends of Boerner Botanical Gardens

is to provide a garden setting for learning that nurtures

understanding, enjoyment & stewardship of our natural world,

while nourishing & preserving the gardens for

future generations.

FBBG is an independent, self-funded, year round, 501c3 nonprofit organization, founded in 1984 to help sustain and preserve historic Boerner (1939). (Note: World renown Rosarian and donor, Will Radler, was the visionary who gathered with others to form FBBG in 1984 as he knew that the County would not be able to sustain the venue alone, without private participation.)

  • FBBG operates with a staff of 6 (4 f/t, 2 p/t), a host of volunteers, and a Board of Directors, under a contract with Milwaukee County.
  • We office in the Boerner Education & Visitor Center.
  • Among our contractual responsibilities for which we bear all expense…
    • FBBG membership program/benefits.
    • Student/adult/special needs, in-nature education programming/events for thousands annually.
    • All outcomes driven, K12 student learning in-nature at Boerner.
    • Fundraising: FBBG student programs/general operations/select garden projects/restorations. We also help subsidize County budget for Boerner. We receive no government funding.
    • Fiscal & daily management of FBBG Gift Shop – located in the building atrium. The shop is largely consignment, showcasing the work of local artists/crafters. Shop manager is FBBG employee.
    • FBBG Horticulture Library.
    • Marketing/PR, building awareness for Boerner throughout all segments of SE WI communities. Includes design and hosting of website…. boernerbotanicalgardens.org

A few of FBBG’s Achievements:

  • Our organization ran a 5 year capital campaign and spear headed the building of the Boerner Education and Visitor Center, opened in 2003. Purpose was to help the County maintain the venue year round. FBBG alone negotiated/paid off a $1.4 million dollar building debt after a 2 year silent campaign (completed 2013). (Due to crash of 2008, bank called in our loan – not originally due for payoff until 2036.)
  • In 2018, FBBG funded/facilitated nighttime lighting for Boerner; enabling safe in-garden evening events.
  • In 2019 we taught over 16,000 K12 students and were on track to do again when pandemic struck. (FBBG student education at Boerner – reaching 1000s annually – is decades long.)
  • In 2019, we identified a donor for an approx. $2,000,000 Children’s Garden at Boerner; helped him choose the landscape designer, worked with him through the first phase of design and then transitioned him to the County for contractual agreement, as the project will be on County owned land.
  • In 2020 we worked with a donor, adding a kaleidoscope to Boerner. Installed Oct. 2020
  • In 2010 we successfully introduced (and facilitate) with Parks Director support, a volunteer recruitment program for community/corporate engagement; assisting the County garden staff.  Nearly 17,000 hours have been donated since inception.
  • We operated throughout the pandemic without a pause in commitments to the County or FBBG constituents.

Supporting County owned historic

Boerner Botanical Gardens for nearly 4 decades!