Keep Growing 2020: The Ten-Year Strategic Plan
Landscape Garden

Vision and Goals

Financial Sustainability and Risk Management: Vision

The Chicago Botanic Garden’s mission and this strategic plan can only be fulfilled if the Garden is financially secure.

The Garden will thoughtfully allocate its resources, safeguard its assets, mitigate business and financial risk, diversify revenue sources, and build a solid financial foundation that can withstand the uncertainties of the future.

The Garden is committed to serving the needs of its partners and advocates, in particular the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Financial Sustainability and Risk Management: Goals

A.1.   The Chicago Botanic Garden will remain committed to serving the needs of all the people of Cook County and to proudly communicating the model public-private partnership that the Chicago Horticultural Society and the Forest Preserves of Cook County have built together.

A.2.   The Garden will grow annual revenue to meet annual expense increases by diversifying revenue sources. For example, it will increase memberships; expand and create new business initiatives; build strategic partnerships with corporations, public agencies, and not-for-profits; ensure positive relationships with suppliers; and build strong relationships across all donor constituencies. We will grow our base of supporters locally, nationally, and internationally.

A.3    The Garden will adhere to its revised asset allocation strategy and endowment policies to maximize investment returns, ensure that the Garden is always in a position to meet current operating revenue requirements, meet annual interest payments, be in compliance with debt covenant regulations, and be in a fiscal position to repay or refinance debt upon bond maturity in 2029 and 2043.

A.4    The Garden is committed to the goal of enhancing the economic opportunities for Minority Business Enterprises (MBE) and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (WBE), and will take all necessary and reasonable actions to ensure that diverse suppliers certified as MBEs and WBEs have a fair opportunity to participate in Garden contracts.

A.5    The Garden will continuously evaluate and improve its Enterprise Risk Management program to address the risks faced by the organization and to develop and maintain control of activities to mitigate the potential impact of those risks. The Garden will reach confidence that emergency preparedness systems are in place to respond to a wide variety of cataclysmic events.

A.6    The Garden will continue to receive outside confirmation from ratings groups, auditors, and peers that the Garden’s budgeting process, accounting standards, and financial reporting are of the highest integrity and quality, and serve as models of transparency for both nonprofits and for-profits. 

A.7    Recognizing the importance of government grants and contracts to provide funding for critical mission-based programs and other important initiatives, the Garden will continue to be a model for grant development and administration, including compliance with accounting, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements.

A.8    The Garden will maintain and expand its relationships with elected officials, staff members, and agency personnel at the local, state, and federal levels of government.

A.9    The Garden will support efforts to grow the endowment by eliminating the annual spending policy allocation attributable to the board-designated portion of the fund whenever possible.