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Associates (1964-2016)



  • Existence: September 23, 1964 - 2016
  • Usage: September 23, 1964 - 2016


The formal organization of the Associates took place on September 23, 1964 as an affiliate organization of volunteers. At that time Denver Botanic gardens had five paid staff and a core of dedicated workers assisting on an informal basis. The CEO, the Board of Trustees, representatives from the Around the Seasons Club and the Guild met to draw up the prospectus for the Associates. The purpose of the new affiliate group was to organize, manage and coordinate all volunteers and provide financial assistance to the Gardens.

At that time, the only building on the York Street property was the Waring House. With a $500 loan from the Board of Trustees, the Associates set up a display case to sell homemade items. The $500 loan was paid back in one year from this display case, which was to become the first gift shop.

The Associates established committees to manage and coordinate volunteers throughout the year. Some of the committees were: Arts and Crafts, Clerical, Christmas decorations, Conservatory, DBG events, Gift Shop, Greenhouse, Herbarium, Historian, Hospitality, Information Desk, Library, Membership, Outdoor Gardening, Publicity, Chatfield Arboretum, to name a few. Many of these committees were dissolved when needs changed or when staff was hired to manage the respective areas.

The Mt. Goliath guides, Naturalist guides, Pre-school guides, Rock Alpine guides and Sensory guides created notebooks for training the new guides. When the Conservatory opened in January 1967, the opportunity for more guided tours became available.

The Associates began donating to York Street and Chatfield when the Board of Trustees loan was repaid. While the first donations were small like tools and seeds for horticulturists, later donations included funding for a new tractor at Chatfield and other equipment, plants, supplies and repairs. Monthly donations to the library provided the resources to buy and repair books.

As the Gardens grew, so did the need for volunteers. The Associates recruited, interviewed, and placed each recruit. They compiled each volunteer’s hours in a log, organized the annual volunteer luncheon with recognition for special service, and managed special events and other services to support the Gardens. They continued this service until the Gardens established the Volunteer Services Department and hired a staff person in 2002.

The Associates managed the Gift Shop until 1998, providing the opportunity to continue contributing to the York Street and Chatfield gardens. Along with the continuing monthly contribution to the library, contributions covered salaries for new staff positions, interns, and essential equipment. By the 50th Anniversary, the Associates had contributed over $3.3 million, including $100,000 to replace the Cheesman Gate and Volunteer Plaza and another $50,000 for the west Japanese gate.

In 2016 the Board of the Associates recognized that many functions of the Associates had been successfully assumed by the Gardens. The Board voted to dissolve the Associates in 2016 and laid the groundwork for a Volunteer Leadership Council to provide a continuing voice for volunteers. An Endowment Agreement was signed by the Associates and the Gardens on September 15, 2021 for the balance in the Endowment. This concluded the long history of 52 years of service by the Associates.



Found in 7 Collections and/or Records:

Around the Seasons and Associates , 1965-1971, 1961-1971

 Item — Box HFLA 010.012: Series 03, Object: 1
Identifier: 03

Around the Seasons Club, January 1961 - January 1966

 Item — Box HFLA 010.010: Series 03, Object: 1
Identifier: 03

Associates of DBG, 1974-1976

 Item — Box HFLA 010.011: Series 03, Object: 1
Identifier: 03

Associates of DBG, November 1976 - August 1978

 Item — Box HFLA 010.010: Series 03, Object: 2
Identifier: 03

Associates of Denver Botanic Gardens Records

Identifier: HFLA 010

This collection contains meeting notes, bylaws, newsletters, event information, volunteer informations, and newsletters from the Associates of DBG.

Dates: Existence: 1964-2016