Montgomery Parks Foundation Receives One Million Dollar Gift for Greenhouse at Brookside Gardens

Butterfly pictureThe Montgomery Parks Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization providing fundraising and support to Montgomery Parks, has secured $1 million dollars from a private donor to help construct a new growing greenhouse at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton.

The greenhouse is part of the multi-phase Master Plan adopted in 2005 that will enhance the many spectacular offerings at the popular public garden which opened in 1969.  Brookside Gardens is a facility within the Montgomery County Department of Parks and part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

The generous donor, Joan O’Rourke, has been working with staff at Brookside Gardens and Debbie Rankin, Executive Director of the Montgomery Parks Foundation for several years to make this project a reality.  An avid supporter of the gardens for decades, Mrs. O’Rourke was the founding President of the still vital Friends of Brookside Gardens.  Her generosity is visible in many ways as she supports programs as a teacher and volunteer throughout the year.

The greenhouse is a $3,274,600 project and is also funded by $1,200,000 from the State of Maryland and $1,074,600 from Montgomery County through the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).  Mrs. O’Rourke’s gift comprises almost 30% of the cost to construct the greenhouse.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled or grateful to receive this extraordinary donation,” says Joe Isaacs, President of the Board of Trustees of the Montgomery Parks Foundation.  “In less than four years of our own organizational revitalization, Mrs. O’Rourke’s kind gesture is an outstanding demonstration of support for our park system that has endured more than its share of budget cuts in recent years.”

“The support from our community for the award winning park system in Montgomery County has always been impressive,” said Mike Riley, Director of Parks.  “Mrs. O’Rourke’s gift highlights what can be accomplished if we work together for common goals.  We are so appreciative of this support from Mrs. O’Rourke.”

“Brookside Gardens is honored to be the recipient of such a generous gift.  The growing greenhouses support all aspects of our operations, including conservatory displays, the Wings of Fancy live butterfly exhibit, our landscapes and many educational programs.   It is a special donor indeed who recognizes the critical importance of well-designed and energy-efficient infrastructure to sustain the beautiful plants and gardens so loved by our community,” adds Stephanie Oberle, Director of Brookside Gardens.

The Request for Proposal (RFP) for the design build project will be released on Sept.17th.  The contract will be awarded in November and the project is scheduled to begin shortly thereafter requiring about 18-24 months to complete.


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