Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Inc.
1800 Lakeside Avenue
Richmond VA 23228-4700
Contact Information
Address 1800 Lakeside Avenue
Richmond, VA 232284700
Telephone 804 262-9887
Fax 804 553-3178
E-mail events@lewisginter.org
Mission Statement Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden enlightens and inspires its constituents through its outstanding botanical collections, horticultural displays and landscape design. We engage our constituents with the natural world through interpretation, programs, educational resources and outreach. We advocate for sustainability and stewardship of our planet.
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Frank L. Robinson
Board Chair Mr. John M.R. Reed
Board Chair Company Affiliation Berkadia Commercial Mortgage
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1984
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $6,088,465.00
Projected Expenses $6,088,453.00
Mission Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden enlightens and inspires its constituents through its outstanding botanical collections, horticultural displays and landscape design. We engage our constituents with the natural world through interpretation, programs, educational resources and outreach. We advocate for sustainability and stewardship of our planet.

Stroll back in time to late nineteenth-century Richmond, Virginia—the age of farms and factories, Civil War and Reconstruction, bustling city centers and streetcar suburbs. This was the era of the Garden's namesake Major Lewis Ginter—a brilliant businessman, refined gentleman, and generous philanthropist whose influence continues today.Ginter purchased the land that would become the Botanical Garden in 1884 and ten years later he constructed the Lakeside Wheel Club. The one-story structure would become a fashionable gathering place for sports cyclists and socially minded belles. Upon his death in 1897 at the age of 73, a Northern newspaper proclaimed Major Ginter "the richest man south of the Potomac," and almost every charitable institution in the city was remembered in his will. The confirmed bachelor magnanimously bequeathed his fortune, estimated at seven to ten million dollars, to the city he loved and to his beloved niece Grace Arents.


In 1913, Arents, who was trained as a nurse, turned her attention to sick children who struggled with illnesses related to the city's pollution and overcrowded conditions. Convinced that a fresh country environment would support recuperation, Arents purchased approximately ten acres and the abandoned Lakeside Wheel House in the city's north side. She remodeled her uncle's former club house in a Dutch colonial style and removed the roof to add a second story for bedrooms, classroom, playroom, and library. Gardens were developed for beauty and food production, and the convalescent complex was appropriately named "Bloemendaal"—Dutch for "valley of flowers"—in tribute to her family's ancestry.


Later with the founding of the Instructional Visiting Nurses Association, the convalescent home was no longer needed and Arents occupied the house with her companion, Mary Garland Smith. In 1926 Grace Arents died at the age of 78. She willed life-rights to Smith and stipulated after Smith's death the city of Richmond was to develop the property as a botanical garden in honor of her uncle.  Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden was established as an independent non-profit corporation in 1984.


Philanthropy and an appreciation for the importance of plants sparked the Garden’s humble beginnings, and they continue to inspire the success, vitality, and fulfillment of Grace Arents’ dream, which is realized through Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.



Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s mission is education; our passion is connecting plants and people to improve our community. 

The Garden strives to be a primary resource to the community for learning about the botanical world – its beauty, its heritage, its pleasures and its significance to the web of life, and to our very survival. We are committed firmly to stewardship and sustainability, especially involving water. Following the model established by our first benefactor, Grace Arents, we embrace our responsibility to engage the community, to increase the appreciation for and understanding of the natural world, and through these, to enrich lives and enhance the environment in which we live.


In 2011, Garden visitation exceeded more than 310,000, and the number of membership households exceeded 13,000. Structured Children's Education programs at the Garden served more than 13,000 children during this time.  In 2011, the Garden was also awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service by the Institute for Museum and Library Services – becoming only the third botanical garden in the country to win this prestigious honor. LGBG was named the area's top visited paid attraction by the RMCVB and voted as the "Best 2010 Special Event Venue" by Richmond Magazine.   


While much has been accomplished in the Garden's first 28 years, the Garden grows every year.

Current goals include:

  • Establishing more community outreach programs.
  • Increasing the number of household members.
  • Enhancing and refining gardens and collections.
  • Broadening environmental outreach and leadership.
  • Increasing the admissions and visitation totals.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden depends on the support of its Members and Donors to fulfill its educational and scientific mission, to continue its physical growth, and expand its positive influence in our community.  Contributions to the Annual Fund, Membership, Volunteer participation, sponsorships and gifts for special programs, events and projects are crucial to the program, display,  and community work of the Garden.
Areas of Service
Areas Served
Metro Richmond
Tri-cities Region
Richmond, City
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. John M.R. Reed
Company Affiliation Berkadia Commercial Mortgage
Term Apr 2014 to Mar 2016
Email john.reed@berkadia.com
Board of Directors
Board Members
Mrs. Robin Deal Baliles Fundraising Consultant, Self-employed
Dennis I. Belcher Esq.McGuireWoods LLP
Mrs. Samuel M. Bemiss Community Volunteer
Mrs. Michele K. Burke Attorney, LeClairRyan
Ms. Mary Anne Burke Community Volunteer
Mrs. Joelle Cosby U.S. Trust Private Client Manager, Senior Vice President
Janet C. Deskevich Community Volunteer
Mr. Charles H. Foster Jr.Retired
Mrs. Ann Parker Gottwald Community Volunteer
Dr. Jill Harris Beautiful Smiles
Dr. Thomas Huff Ph.DProfessor & Vice Provost of Life Sciences, Virgnina Commonwealth University
Mrs. Donna Kelliher Dominion Resources
Ms. Anne Leigh Kerr Troutman Sanders Strategies
Mr. William H. King Jr.McGuireWoods
Mr. Steve Koporowski Koprowski and Associates
Mrs. Kathleen Allen Luke Retired, Vice President, Investor Relations, PepsiCo Inc.
Sr. Anne Marie Mack Bon Secours
Mrs. Douglas Martin Community Volunteer
Mr. Lawrence McKoy Goodman & Company
Mrs. Martha Moore Community Volunteer
Paula H. Nachman M&T Bank
Mr. Hugh Newton President, Central Virginia Region, M & T Bank
Mrs. Helen R. Pinckney Retired, Landscape Designer
Mr. John M.R. Reed Berkadia Commercial Mortgage
Dr. Kee Sung Ro Community Volunteer
Mrs. Martha L. Robertson Community Volunteer
Dennis Rudzinski M.D.Retired
Mrs. Martha Sherman Community Volunteer
Mrs. Carolyn Snow Community Volunteer
Ms. Jane Spilman Community Volunteer
Mr. James Starkey Retired, Universal Corporation
Mr. Donald L. Steinbrugge Agecroft Partners
Ms. Sue Thompson Landscape Designer
Peyton P. Wells Peyton Wells Floral
Mrs. Susanne N. Wick Community Volunteer
Mr. Deborah J. Wolenberg Philip Morris USA
Charlotte B. Woodfin M.D.Hanover Family Physicians
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 37
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 11
Female 27
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 4
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 60
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 1
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Risk Management Provisions
Automobile Insurance and Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Blanket Personal Property
Boiler and Machinery
Builders Risk
Computer Equipment and Software
Directors and Officers Policy
Disability Insurance
Employee Benefits Liability
Employee Dishonesty
Employment Practices Liability
Exhibit Liability
Fine Arts and Collectibles
General Property Coverage
Improper Sexual Conduct/Sexual Abuse
Inland Marine and Mobile Equipment
Internet Liability Insurance
Life Insurance
Liquor Liability
Medical Health Insurance
Medical Malpractice
Patient Liability
Professional Liability
Property in Transit and Off Premises
Public Benefit Guaranty Corporation
Public Officials Liability
Renter's Insurance
Risk Management Provisions
See Management and Governance Comments
Special Event Liability
Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Water Craft and Aircraft
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Workplace Violence
Accident and Injury Coverage
Automobile Insurance
Automobile Insurance and Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Blanket Personal Property
Boiler and Machinery
Computer Equipment and Software
Crime Coverage
Directors and Officers Policy
Disability Insurance
Employee Benefits Liability
Employee Dishonesty
Employment Practices Liability
Exhibit Liability
Fine Arts and Collectibles
General Property Coverage
Improper Sexual Conduct/Sexual Abuse
Life Insurance
Liquor Liability
Medical Health Insurance
Professional Liability
Special Event Liability
Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Workplace Violence
Crime Coverage
Standing Committees
Community Outreach / Community Relations
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.

The 2009 Strategic Plan initiated a totally new committee structure for the Garden’s Board of Directors (BOD) built around specific goals for the next decade. This has re-energized the Board around specific interest areas and has helped to define specific experience and expertise for the recruitment of new members of the BOD.  These committees welcome ad-hoc members, which has been very effective in engaging highly specialized individuals, as well as vetting new potential members of the Board.

The Board has established a Board of Associates (BOA), a leadership opportunity for the next generation of Garden leaders. The BOA’s signature fundraising event, the highly successful Cheers to Art! Auction, is celebrating its 3rdyear of engaging artists and new visitors with the Garden community. The BOA has become the wellspring for participation on the BOD (a former head of the BOA is the current vice president of the BOD).

Executive Director
Executive Director Mr. Frank L. Robinson
Frank Robinson served as Executive Director of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden from 1992 to 2011, when he was elevated to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer, charged with implementing the major components of the strategic plan and shaping the Garden's future.  During his tenure the Garden has expanded dramatically, adding more than 50 acres of themed gardens and major public facilities, including a visitors’ center, education complex and classical conservatory. Funded by a successful $42 million capital campaign, the Garden has grown to become one of the major horticultural and botanical facilities in the U.S.

Frank has degrees in Horticulture, Japanese Language and Psychology. He attended Haywood Technical Institute (NC) and Earlham College (IN), and studied for a year at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan.

Prior to his current post, Frank was Executive Director of the American Horticultural Society in Alexandria, VA; Estate Manager of one of the most exclusive estates in Virginia; and, the manager of grounds and horticulture at Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY. Preceding his work in Horticulture, Frank’s early career was in education and therapy services to autistic and multiple-handicapped children. As a youth, he studied oboe at Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY.

He has served on the boards of the Arts Council of Richmond, The Richmond Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Landscape Peer Review Committee for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Hollywood Cemetery, and is the past Board President of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Richmond Affiliate.

Co-CEO Mr. Shane W. Tippett
Term Start Sept 2004
Email shanet@lewisginter.org


As Executive Director, Shane Tippett is responsible for all daily operations, staffing and financial activity for Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Tippett has been with Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden since 2004; first as Assistant Executive Director (September 2004 - October 2011) and now as Executive Director.

As Assistant Executive Director he oversaw administration and IT, finance, budgeting, volunteers, guest services, and the auxiliary revenue centers of the Garden Shop, Facility Rental, the Garden Café, the Robins Tea House and catering through the Garden’s exclusive food service partner: Meriwether Godsey. To date, he is most proud of the extraordinary work of the Lewis Ginter and Meriwether Godsey staffs in pursuing the Garden’s mission with an ever-expanding circle in our community, in ever more inspirational, effective and efficient ways.

Prior to Lewis Ginter, Tippett worked a dozen years in other non-profit organizations. He was the Assistant Head for Finance and Operations at St. Catherine’s School, an Episcopal girl's school in Richmond. Before that he served as the Manager of the Virginian Diocesan Center at Roslyn, a year-round full service church conference and retreat center.

Tippett was born and raised in Montana. He attended the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. After graduation, he served 11 years on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, and 10 years as a Reservist during his time at Roslyn. While on active duty, he held various department head positions while on flight status as a bombardier navigator in A-6E Intruder squadrons, and subsequently as an AV-8B Harrier pilot. Tippett retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Tippett’s passion for plants was kindled in the early 1990s by a Lewis Ginter arborist who mentored Tippett on the care of specimen trees at Roslyn. This passion underlies his firm conviction in the transformative power of gardens to re-shape and renew communities, families and individuals.

Former CEOs
Mr. Robert C Hebb June 1984 - Sept 1991
Mr. Garland S. Sydnor Sept 1991 - Jan 1992
Senior Staff
Mrs. Grace Chapman Director of Horticulture
Ms. Kim Dove Director of Guest Services
Mrs. Randee Humphrey Director of Education
Mrs. Maureen Massey Director of Development
Mrs. Elizabeth Monroe Director of Public Relations and Marketing
Mr. Shane Tippett Executive Director
Full Time Staff 46
Part Time Staff 25
Volunteers 513
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 96
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Mar 2009
Management Succession Plan? Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
2010 BEST special Event VenueRichmond Magazine2010
Most Visited Paid AttractionRMCVB2009
National Medal for Museum and Library ServiceInstitute for Museum and Library Services2011
Top 10 North American Gardens Worth Travelling ForCanadian Garden Garden Tourism Award LogoTourism Council and the American Public Gardens Association2013
Best Botanical Gardens in the USThe Travel Channel2013
The Children's Garden is a place where children of all ages can grow and learn through up-close and personal interactions with the natural world--not as passive bystanders, but as active participants who touch, smell and taste. Children learn new vocabulary and develop observational and listening skills.
The playful, informal setting of the Children's Garden and our hands-on, child-centered approach to teaching not only support a child's instinctive acquisition of new knowledge, but provide an environment that builds social, emotional, physical and creative competencies as well.
The following education programs are offered to Garden guests, school groups, community groups and disadvantaged children in our community.
  • Self-Directed daily activities 
  • NatureWorks! Family workshops
  • Young Buds Program (structured preschool programs)
  • Discovery Program (structured elementary school programs)
  • Middle & High School Programs
  • Teacher Workshops

Click here for more information

Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short Term Success

Our short term goals are to

1.       Maintain or improve teacher satisfaction.

95% of teachers participating in group programs or teacher workshops will be satisfied or very satisfied.

2.       Maintain or increase repeat group program enrollment

50% of groups enrolled in programs in the last three years will re-enroll in at least one successive year

3.       Increase the impact of teacher workshops 

250 teachers representing 5,000 students will participate in workshops


Long Term Success


Lewis Ginter is committed to the education of children as the future stewards of our most valuable natural resources, and is particularly devoted to providing hands-on experiences of nature and interactive learning opportunities to underserved populations.

 Our children's education programming addresses the need for children to engage with nature in a way that stimulates their curiosity and encourages appreciation for the central importance of plants in both the natural world and human society. The goals we pursue are not all easily measurable – the enjoyment of nature; increasing interest in and knowledge about plant processes; increased appreciation for the role of plants in providing for basic needs of food, shelter, clothing and medicines; and – for some – the first sputtering flame of a lifelong passion for science, scientific observation and experimentation.


In this dynamic, ever-changing "learning landscape," adult students can expand their knowledge of the plant world, develop gardening skills, and sample the best in horticulture and landscape design.

Opportunities include:

  • Year-round classes, workshops, and lectures
  • Garden education certificates for studies in home gardening, botanical illustration, and floral design
  • Symposium on  aspects of gardening, garden design, and professional issues in the green industry  
  • Teacher Workshops and courses to help teachers bring natural sciences into the classroom.
  • Travel opportunities to public and private gardens throughout the U.S. and abroad.
  • Professional Continuing Education programs allow students to earn a Landscape Design Professional Certificate through the University of Richmond School of Continuing Studies.
  • Resources- Opportunities for research, reading, and exploration are available year-round through our library, art exhibits, and interpretive displays.

Click here to learn more about Adult Education programs.

Short Term Success
Lewis Ginter's short term goal is to maintain a class enrollment averages 85% of capacity.  We are also working to increase teacher and green-industry education.
Long Term Success
Lewis Ginter's goal is to educate adults in our community about our natural world. In the long term, we hope to offer as many programs as possible that appeal to our community and engage as many students as possible while maintaining a high level of classes at capacity.
The Garden is a 12-month destination with events and exhibits complementing the glorious seasonal displays.  Guests are encouraged to visit often to explore the ever-changing landscape.  From digging in the dirt and family fun to performing arts, the Garden's special events and exhibits appeal to a wide audience and offer opportunities to learn about, interact with and enjoy our natural world. 

Annual Events
click the links below to learn more about each event

A Million Blooms - Spring flower extravaganza
Flowers After Five - Summer evenings in the Garden
GardenFest of Lights  - Holiday lights and botanical decoration displays
Goblins & Gourds  - Autumn festival
Seasonal Horticultural Exhibits
Orchids Galore - Early spring orchid exhibit
Butterflies LIVE! - Living tropical butterfly display
Population Served General/Unspecified
According to FeedMore (the umbrella organization of the Central Virginia Food Bank, Meals on Wheels Serving Central Virginia, and the Community Kitchen) the Richmond metropolitan area is the most food-insecure region of the mid-Atlantic region. In the current economic climate, many families in financial need are having a hard time putting food on the table. FeedMore has experienced unprecedented demand in the last two years, and currently serves 131,000 clients and expends $100,000 per month for purchased food to supplement product donations from every major local grocery and supplier.

The need for seasonal produce is particularly critical, and the Community Kitchen Garden (CKG) at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden was established in 2009 to help fill that need. In three growing seasons, the CKG has harvested and provided 46,585 lbs of free, fresh and local produce to feed the hungry. The CKG also serves as a demonstration model for Garden visitors, educating them about the importance of vegetables in a healthy diet and encouraging them to plant their own gardens and contribute a portion of their bounty to help feed the hungry in our community. 
Population Served At-Risk Populations
Budget $35,000.00
Short Term Success Lewis Ginter's immediate goal is to donate 10,000 pounds of fresh produce from the Community Kitchen Garden to the Central Virginia Foodbank and to engage volunteers in maintaining the garden.
Long Term Success

The long term goal of the Community Kitchen Garden is to serve as a model to demonstrate the importance of plants to human life and to teach and encourage visitors and volunteers to plant produce gardens for themselves and for others in their community.

CEO/ED/Board Comments

The Garden has made tremendous strides laying the groundwork for the larger objectives of our long-term strategic plan, despite challenging times for our community and nation. 

The top priorities for the Garden's programs include the following:

A.   Establish a comprehensive surface water management program as an ecological operating base and a fundamental educational resource related to the James River and Chesapeake Bay ecologies. This includes serving as a public interpretive site for major university research initiatives.

B.    Creation of a comprehensive children’s educational campus, with specific focus on teaching children about the importance of nature and their role in it. This initiative will build on a current annual base of 13,000 children and families served through current formal school programs and an additional 40,000 children served through informal visits to the Children’s Garden.

C.    Restoration and preservation of the historic buildings and gardens on our campus.

D.   Expansion of our plant collections, with the specific goal of using those collections to support educational initiatives and to enhance visitation. This goal has driven several specific projects, including major orchid displays in in 2011 and 2012, the 2012 renovation and restoration of the West Island Garden and the 2013-14 addition of a cherry tree collection and pathways around our principal water feature, Lake Sydnor.

E.     Expansion of our community partnership and outreach, using our expertise and experience to have impact and serve as a resource beyond our current campus. This goal has directed work with the Tricycle Gardens community garden project, Feedmore, Richmond Redevelopment Housing Authority, and our water sustainability initiatives with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Virginia Commonwealth University Life Sciences and the VCU Rice Center, Nelson-Byrd-Woltz (one of the leading design firms in the U.S. specializing in regenerative design).

Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $6,088,465.00
Projected Expenses $6,088,453.00
Endowment Value $24,918,528.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage (if selected) 4
Form 990s
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201320122011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$3,253,958$1,909,887$12,590,934
Investment Income, Net of Losses$4,611($66,052)$31,315
Membership Dues$713,758$492,748$516,016
Special Events$148,206$57,735$173,514
Revenue In-Kind$402$46,102$73,314
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201320122011
Program Expense$6,114,507$5,501,230$5,471,230
Administration Expense$964,312$715,322$913,148
Fundraising Expense$64,685$52,362$140,091
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.000.842.61
Program Expense/Total Expenses86%88%84%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue2%3%1%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201320122011
Total Assets$30,520,343$30,338,427$30,870,465
Current Assets$4,614,369$4,574,166$4,306,416
Long-Term Liabilities$3,093,235$3,848,593$3,427,741
Current Liabilities$1,538,706$610,487$527,986
Total Net Assets$25,888,402$25,879,347$26,914,738
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities3.007.498.16
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets10%13%11%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit 8/2014View
Organization Comments
Even in the challenging times of the past three years, the Garden has been sustained by its members and donors.

The largest challenge to income is volatility of the markets and the impact on the Garden's invested funds. However, with careful stewardship of daily operations and a well-managed contingency reserve, the garden continues to operate "in the black."  

Foundation Comments
  • Audited financial statements represent the combined financial picture of both Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Inc. and the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Foundation.
  • IRS Form 990s represent solely the financial position of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Inc.