Arboretum Foundation 


Washington Park Arboretum is a spectacular urban green space on the shores of Lake Washington just east of downtown Seattle. Founded in 1934, it contains one of the most diverse and important plant collections in North America displayed among 230 acres of woodlands, wetlands, gardens, and walking trails. An estimated 250,000 visitors enjoy the recreational and educational services provided by the Arboretum each year. The Arboretum is co-managed by Seattle Parks and Recreation and the University of Washington, with major support from the Arboretum Foundation. The Foundation provides stewardship for the Arboretum through membership and volunteer programs, fundraising, and advocacy.

Mission Statement
The Arboretum Foundation promotes, protects and enhances the Washington Park Arboretum for current and future generations by strengthening and building a diverse and engaged community of donors, volunteers and advocates.
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Arboretum Foundation
2300 Arboretum Drive East 
(206) 325-4510 

Ms. Paige Miller 
Executive Director 


Arboretum Foundation Programs

Membership & Volunteer Programs
The Arboretum Foundation strives to increase the number of people who support the Arboretum through financial investment and volunteerism. The Arboretum Foundation has 1,500 active members, 29 volunteer Units, and over 500 volunteers who assist with plant sales and special events, run the giftshop, and care for plants in the Arboretum.    

Funding Collections Maintenance, Environmental Learning, and Capital Projects
The Foundation fully funds the UW Arborist and Tree Care Program and the Education Program at Arboretum. The Foundation also funds a 3/4-time gardener to care for the new Pacific Connections Gardens. Each year the Foundation funds capital improvements to the collections as defined by the Washington Park Arboretum Master Plan. The current priority for capital funding is for the second phase of Pacific Connections, a multi-year campaign to redesign the southern 14 acres of the Arboretum into an ecogeographic horticultural exhibit.         

The Foundation is the lead agency that advocates on behalf of the Arboretum. In recent years, the Foundation has advocated to reduce the impact on the Arboretum in the replacement of the 520 floating bridge, and is working closely with the City and State to that end.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

Since the adoption of the Arboretum Master Plan in 2001, the Arboretum Foundation has committed more than $4 million towards capital improvement projects in the Arboretum, including the Japanese Garden Entry Gatehouse (completed in 2009), the Gateway to Chile Garden (completed in 2010), and the New Zealand Forest (under construction).

One of the Foundation's current priorities is to help complete the new 14-acre Pacific Connections Garden at the south end of the Arboretum and create an endowment for its maintenance. The first of five major eco-geographic displays in the garden - the 2.5-acre New Zealand Forest - will be planted in summer 2013 and opened to the public in September 2013.

Since 2011, as part of the new Pacific Connections Garden Stewards initiative, the Foundation and its UW partner have recruited and trained more than 30 volunteers to help care for the new Garden.

Over the past several years, the Foundation has also been advocating strongly on behalf of Arboretum interests regarding the design and construction of the new SR 520 bridge. This culminated in the signing of an historic agreement in January 2013 between the Arboretum and WSDOT ensuring the implementation of key projects in the Arboretum's Master Plan as mitigation for the unavoidable effects of the upcoming bridge replacement. The agreement will secure upwards of $20 million in funds for shoreline restoration, the daylighting of Arboretum Creek, the construction of a new multi-use trail through the Arboretum, and more. 


The Arboretum Foundation ensures that people have access to the Washington Park Arboretum and learn about, enjoy, and protect and preserve the natural environment.

Proven Success
The Chilean Garden opened in fall 2010. This garden was funded through private contributions and money from the parks levy. The next project in the Pacific Connections campaign is the New Zealand Forest garden and will be planted in 2012. Plant propagation is underway and they will grow 10,000 plants from scratch. They are working to raise $1.2 million to fund this project. They are halfway to their private fundraising goal due to a generous bequest.

Washington Park Arboretum is a free garden. It is managed by a partnership of the Arboretum Foundation (fundraising, volunteers, public information); City of Seattle (owns the land and the Parks & Recreation department maintains it); and University of Washington (owns and maintains the plant collection with a professional horticultural staff).

The Arboretum has been meeting with Washington State Department of Transportation to discuss mitigation issues related to the 520 bridge design. The bridge replacement has significant impact on the Arboretum, including pedestrian safety and reducing traffic in the Arboretum. They are close to approving a memorandum of understanding that includes many positive components for the Arboretum. One of which is that there will be no ramps in the Arboretum, access to 520 will be at Montlake.

The Pacific Connections campaign is an environmental, educational, and community project. Renovations of parks of this caliber don't happen often and have long-term impact. The Arboretum Foundation is stepping in to pay for more operating costs and knows that they can not fill the gap of the decreasing public support but are looking a different ways to use cash resources and donated volunteer time. They are creating a new department that will train volunteers to do maintenance. The Arboretum has completed the first phase of Pacific Connections, completed the fundraising for the Gateway to Chile, and adopted a new strategic plan.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

6/21/2007 $75,000.00support the Pacific Connections Capital Campaign.


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