Dear Friends of the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Foundation,
As I hand over the reins of my office to the very qualified John Baab, I’m reminded of the pensive tone of Robert Frost: “Nature is always hinting at us. It hints over and over again. And suddenly we take the hint.”
Frost’s words reflect the theme of this year’s Annual Report, “Pathways to Progress.” The report paints a powerful picture of our beloved Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, which entices with so many delectable options for the 750,000 who visit us annually.
I’m proud of the growth we’ve realized and welcome John’s willingness to step in and continue nurturing what has emerged over the years as a true national treasure, wooing visitors in from all corners of the planet.
Since its inception more than 22 years ago, Meijer Gardens has had a hand in transforming our area, contributing not only in ways that can be measured through horticulture and sculpture, but by providing intrinsic rewards that inspire the hearts and souls of you who support us.
Indeed, gifts from donors to the Foundation now provide nearly a fifth of the revenue necessary to operate Meijer Gardens. Key players in that support are our growing Perennial and Bonsai Societies.
Those funds help make possible the perpetual sustenance of signature touchstones like the Lena Meijer Children's Garden, the Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden, the Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming exhibition, and year- round educational programming.
The Foundation will also play an integral role in the creation of significant new and expanded facilities that will include a new Welcome Center, the new Covenant Learning Center, a new entry plaza, an upgraded amphitheater and additional parking.
From a personal standpoint, I took the hint when friends made more gifts to the Foundation in memory of my wife than I could comprehend. Overwhelmed, I talked to David Hooker about what I could do with a matching gift. In my first year as President, Vickie's Garden was installed behind Fred and Lena on their bench. In the first year of a garden, it sleeps (2015); in the second year, it creeps (2016); and in the third year, it leaps (2017). It will be fun to see this year!
In closing, please join me in a warm welcome of John Baab as he blooms and grows into his new position as Foundation president, helping us all to follow the pathways that define Meijer Gardens.
Dirk C. Hoffius,