Summer Appeal

Dear Friends of Klehm,

Every time I walk the paths and trails at Klehm, I feel truly fortunate to have such beauty and tranquility at my fingertips.  I am also reminded of how lucky the Rockford area is to have a nationally accredited arboretum and botanic garden in its repertoire of attractions.  And, in spite of all the great things I can brag about that have been happening at Klehm, I also see tremendous opportunity for improvement.  But, as with any wish list, the best ideas cannot come to fruition without the financial support it takes to develop them.  That is why I am writing to you today.  Each July, Klehm initiates its annual summer appeal campaign to raise funds which go directly to supporting the arboretum, gardens and educational programs.  I hope you will consider making a donation, if not again, perhaps for the first time.

As a not-for-profit organization, Klehm relies on private support for over 70 percent of its operating budget.  Without financial giving from generous members and friends, it would be difficult to maintain the standards that have been achieved at the arboretum and impossible to develop new amenities and expand programs.

This year, I am happy to report that our early April fundraiser ‘Botanica’ was a rousing success with a sold out room and record-breaking auction receipts.  Garden Fair Weekend followed in June; blessed with huge crowds, beautiful weather, and over 100 happy vendors.  I am very proud of all the hard work the Klehm staff and over 50 volunteers put into making these events such great success stories.

In addition, the biggest and most noticeable success story of the year is the completion of the Garden Pavilion & Terrace.  Situated adjacent to the Fountain Garden, this 6,000 square ft. white tent, with concrete floor and surrounding patios, is nestled into a beautifully landscaped setting.  Stone retaining walls, comfortable furnishings, planters and overhead string lighting complete the scene.  Bookings for receptions and other events have been filling up well into 2018.

Finally, plans for a new interactive play feature in the Nancy Olson Children’s Garden are now complete with hopes of construction beginning this fall.  This new project consists of an accessible stream with waterfalls, bridge, and splash pad.  Guaranteed to be a hit with the kids, the natural-appearing stream will allow them to play freely, right in the water, in a safe environment.

I feel very optimistic about the direction Klehm has been moving and hope to continue the forward momentum.  The creation of new revenue-generating projects, such as the Garden Pavilion through event rentals, and a well-developed children’s garden, via increased gate admissions and family memberships, are only part of the story.  Klehm still needs your financial support to help reach its goal of “maintaining a living museum for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of all people”.

For those of you who are regular givers to Klehm, I thank you for your past support and hope you consider donating once again.  To those of you considering making a gift for the first time, I promise to put your dollars to good use.

If you haven’t visited Klehm in awhile, I invite you to come out and enjoy what the Rockford community has helped to build over the past 25 years.  I have a feeling you will enjoy it.


Dan Riggs

Executive Director
Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden

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