October 1, 2011 – Des Moines, IA
DES MOINES, IA—Following a nationwide search, Stephanie Jutila has been named the first president and CEO of the new Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.
Ms. Jutila comes to Des Moines from the American Horticultural Society (AHS), where she held several senior positions, including director of member programs and manager of outreach and education programs.
“Stephanie brings extraordinary talent and commitment to our garden,” said Tom Urban, board president. He cited Ms. Jutila’s lifetime commitment to horticulture, plus her experience in management, programming and fund raising at the AHS as well as at many of the finest gardens in the country. “That gives her exactly the background to help us make the new Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden a success.”
Ms. Jutila said she is excited about the future of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. “Botanical gardens are like plants; if they are well cared for, they flourish,” she said. “I think we’re setting the scene for something so wonderful we can’t even imagine it. All our dreams for the Botanical Garden are only an inkling of what they can become.”
The public will first meet Ms. Jutila on November 18 from 6 to 8 p.m., at the annual Champagne and Chocolate party at the Botanical Center. She will begin work on December 5.
Background of Stephanie Jutila
The AHS, with headquarters in the greater Washington, D.C., area, is the foremost horticultural society serving a national audience through publications, programs, and its 25-acre River Farm public garden. Since joining AHS, Ms. Jutila headed numerous initiatives and programs including its renowned annual National Children & Youth Garden Symposium.
Ms. Jutila is a native of Cloquet, in northern Minnesota. Her horticultural training includes undergraduate and masters degrees at the University of Minnesota (where she also studied nonprofit management) and stints at the Smithsonian Institution, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, and at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory of Como Park, St. Paul. She has received numerous accolades for her leadership, including awards from the Garden Club of America and the Chanticleer Foundation in Philadelphia.
New name, world-class ambitions
The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, currently known as the Des Moines Botanical Center, is a new public-private partnership that will transfer the leadership of from the Des Moines Water Works within the next year or two.
The 14-acre site, owned by the City of Des Moines, will operate under the leadership of Ms. Jutila and the GDMBG board of directors. A $10 million capital campaign is under way to revamp gardens, facilities and programming. Operating funds donated by the city, Polk County, Bravo Greater Des Moines and the Water Works will transform the 30-year-old institution, with its signature Dome, into a fresh cultural and educational facility with a goal of bringing the garden to national prominence.
On January 1, 2013 the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden launched a new beginning. After years of planning, a bold vision, generous community support and a new staff, the Botanical Garden assumed operatorship of a 34-year old conservatory and 14 acres of land bordering the Des Moines River. Armed with a mission of exploring, explaining and celebrating the world of plants, we are a garden now. The Botanical Garden is a 501(c)(3) privately governed, not-for-profit institution with ten years of operating support at $645,000 per year from the City of Des Moines, Des Moines Water Works and Bravo Greater Des Moines. In addition, the Phase II Endowment goal will grow the total endowment to $3.6 million.