Who We Are
Friends of the Arboretum (FOTA) is one of three “Friends” groups under the umbrella of the nonprofit organization Arts and Recreation Foundation of Overland Park (ARFOP). FOTA is governed by an Advisory Board made up of 19 volunteers as well as representatives from the Arboretum staff and ARFOP. They meet each month to discuss ongoing projects and events at the Arboretum. In addition, each of the Advisory Board members serve on one or more subcommittees such as Membership, Volunteers, Fundraising, Marketing, and for our various events.
What We Do
The Vision of FOTA is “To support through funding, planning, and volunteering the Arboretum’s mission of advancing environmental education, recreation and the appreciation of nature in providing the community with both a cultural center and a nature preserve.”We do this in a number of different ways:
We raise money through FOTA memberships (around $70,000 in 2018); running events such as the Spring Plant Sale, Botanical Brewfest and Luminary Walk, which raised more than $350,000 last year; and from registration fees from classes, tours and exhibits such as the Whirlwind Kinetic Art exhibit currently at the Arboretum (have you seen these sculptures?).
Specific projects that FOTA currently provides funding for include:
- The Special Events Coordinator staff position including salary and all benefits
- An annual $15,000 grant to cover operation and maintenance of the Train Garden
- An annual $16,000 grant to cover miscellaneous programs and activities throughout the year
- Rental of a golf cart designated for the Bird Committee
- A $1,000,000 contribution to the Capital Campaign for our new Visitor’s Center (to be made over a 6 year time period)
- $40,000 to cover marketing expenses to promote the Arboretum
- The Whirlwind Exhibit (as already mentioned), as well as upcoming sculpture exhibitions in 2019-20
- Educational programs at the Arboretum
So why should you become a member of the Friends of the Arboretum? The benefits of being a FOTA member include:
- Free admission every day
- Preview night at the Spring Plant Sale
- Discounts on class fees and the Wine Tastings on the Terrace
- Discounts on tickets for the Botanical Brewfest and Luminary Walk
- A monthly e-newsletter
- An annual FOTA social event
- Invitations to other FOTA events throughout the year
- Free or discounted admission to other botanical gardens throughout North America through the American Horticulture Society (not including Powell Gardens)
If you love the Arboretum, becoming a FOTA member is the best way to support its mission. Join NOW!