Fund Name: Friends of the Gardens
Fund Established: February 23, 2002
Community Foundation(s): Central Minnesota
Connecting resources is a part of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation mission, and the Friends of the Gardens is a great example of how CMCF works to bring resources together in the St. Cloud area.
In 2004, a task force was created to bring together individuals from the Munsinger Clemens Botanical Society, Granite Rotary, the Central Minnesota Community Foundation and the Clemens family — all groups interested in providing financial support to the gardens. As a result of this planning, the Friends of the Clemens and Munsinger Gardens Advisory Council was formed as a public/private collaboration with the City of St. Cloud.
The Friends generated more than $150,000 in support for the Gardens up to 2007. In addition to partnering with the City to conduct a long-range plan for Riverside Park, the Friends have supported other initiatives like the creation of the test rose garden. The Friends and the Munsinger Clemens Botanical Society (MCBS) joined their membership and fundraising efforts to create a more fluid experience for those who support the Gardens.
Excellent programming is conducted by MCBS throughout the summer —from Art in the Garden to Music in the Gardens to a circus performance.
Land preparation for the construction of a new greenhouse was built directly south of the 10th Street Bridge. The Friends of the Gardens will be exploring the feasibility of creating community space in the new greenhouse so that garden and school groups and others can meet there — to pursue their business and to learn about the Gardens.
John Leisen, chair of the Friends of the Gardens, says, “It’s clear that our community recognizes and wants to support this Central Minnesota jewel.”