ENCINITAS — Two years ago, the Donald C. and Elizabeth Dickinson Foundation pledged $1 million the San Diego Botanic Garden toward its $4 million fundraising campaign to build a state-of-the-art educational and community center on the garden grounds.
The pledge, however, came with a proviso: the Botanic Garden must secure the remaining $3 million in order to receive the funding.
Recently at the Botanic Garden’s annual meeting, the Dickinson Family Foundation made good on its promise, as it presented Botanic Garden CEO Julian Duval with a $500,000 check, the remainder of the $1 million pledge towards the planned 7,400-square-foot conservatory, which will be named in the Dickinson family’s honor.
“Having realized the $1 million challenge grant from the Dickinson Family Foundation for the Dickinson Family Education Conservatory is a watershed moment in the conservatory becoming a reality for the San Diego Botanic Garden,” Duval said. “It not only puts us over 80 percent of our fundraising goal but it helps assure other potential donors that this project is not only worthwhile but will clearly come into being.
“We have a very exciting and unique design for the conservatory. I am thrilled that we are so much closer to adding something to the San Diego Botanic Garden that I know everyone will be very proud of,” Duval said.
The-state-of-the-art indoor pavilion would serve as the second phase of the garden’s wildly popular Hamilton Children’s Garden. The proposed 5,900-square-foot space would provide meeting and event space for up to 400 people, quadrupling the garden’s current meeting space.
It would also include multiple classrooms, a full kitchen for catering and cooking classes, an amphitheater and access to expanded parking.
The pavilion is planned on the 4.5 acres of the 37-acre garden that is owned by the City of Encinitas (the rest is owned by the county). Originally, the botanic, garden and city considered doing a land swap that would allow the county to secure control over the city’s portion of the land, which would then allow the county to contribute $2 million in grant funds toward the project.
Duval, however, said the negotiations would take too long, so they redirected the county grant money toward several other projects on the grounds.