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Cleveland Botanical Garden to Enter Groundbreaking Collaboration With Naples Botanical Garden

27 April 2005

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Cleveland Botanical Garden in Cleveland, Ohio (CBG) and Naples Botanical Garden in Naples, Florida (NBG) have formed a strategic collaboration. The affiliation charts fertile territory as an exciting model for resource-sharing among nonprofit organizations. As part of this affiliation, Brian E. Holley, executive director of CBG, has also been appointed executive director of Naples Botanical Garden. Holley will divide his time equally between Cleveland and Naples, beginning in June, 2005. Other anticipated portions of the affiliation include mutual technical and horticultural assistance and the sharing of best practices between these two botanical gardens. Other collaborations are also being explored between the two institutions.

Cleveland Botanical Garden, founded in 1930, completed a $50 million, multi-year expansion in mid-2003. Naples Botanical Garden is ten years old and poised to begin a master plan to provide major development of its 160-acre facility over the next five to seven years.

"Brian Holley's energetic and visionary leadership was clearly the key ingredient in the formation of this collaboration," said R. Breck Denny, president of the board of directors at CBG. "Our experience in successful project development, including the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse and Hershey Children's Garden, will prove invaluable in the implementation of NBG's master plan."

Says Holley: "Cleveland Botanical Garden embarked upon its 1994 strategic plan with the goal of becoming both a model and resource for other botanical gardens. We have enjoyed fruitful partnerships with other institutions both nationally and internationally - for instance, we have collaborated with Lankester Botanical Garden in Costa Rica on the advancement of that young institution and by having mutual staff visitation and development in the areas of horticulture and education. I see the alliance with Naples as yet another iteration of CBG's role as an industry leader and role model. It is my hope that we can leverage the resources of both gardens to develop a great botanical garden in Naples and to continue to grow the great one that we have now in Cleveland."

Denny added, "We are in a new phase of our continuing development at CBG in 2005 and we will be completing a new strategic plan within a few weeks. This plan will help sharpen our focus on increased operational efficiency, broader educational programs, and enhanced visitor experience. We seek to be the anchor horticultural destination and resource in this region, making signature contributions to urban greening, science education and global conservation. This affiliation with the Naples Botanical Garden is an initial step in that direction."

Holley will be devoting his time at CBG to moving the new strategic plan forward including the generation of the financial support necessary for its implementation. CBG anticipates appointing a chief operating officer in the next few weeks to allow Holley the time necessary to concentrate his efforts on these activities and his new responsibilities at the NBG. The chief operating officer, together with CBG's senior managers, will manage the functional areas, freeing Holley from day-to-day involvement.

"While new to CBG, there are other models for this type of affiliation not only at botanical gardens but other cultural institutions," Denny said. "CBG will be monitoring this affiliation closely in the coming months, particularly as there are other collaborations in the works with institutions in Northeast Ohio that are in their embryonic stages. The economic environment among cultural institutions here is causing a paradigm shift in thinking. We want to be a leader in these developments."

Cleveland Botanical Garden, which began as the Garden Center of Greater Cleveland, the country's first urban garden center, celebrates its 75th anniversary year in 2005. A nonprofit garden, the institution is a national leader in urban horticulture and botanical education. From its 10-acre campus in University Circle to three inner-city learning gardens and dozens of outdoor classrooms at area schools, the Garden has introduced the benefits of gardening to thousands of people of all ages, interests, backgrounds and abilities. Since its founding in 1930, education has been the core of the Garden's mission, guiding expansion in recent years to include urban outreach, school programs that support national academic standards, and sustainable economic development. It has 6,000 members and bi-annually hosts the nation's largest outdoor flower show. The Garden's website is at .

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