How the Garden Operates

The Huntsville-Madison County Botanical Garden Society is a private non-profit organization. Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in 1981, Huntsville Botanical Garden opened to the public on May 21, 1988. As per the By-Laws, the governance of the Society, the direction and management of its work and the control of its property is vested in a Board of Directors. Additionally, an Advisory Board consisting of both elected directors and permanent members provides periodic advice and counsel to the Board of Directors. The Garden staff consists of approximately 35 full and part time staff, supplemented by seasonal and on call positions. Absolutely critical to its operation, the Garden's active volunteer base currently numbers over 1900 individuals who give thousands of hours annually, contributing more than $1 million of workforce value.

As a private non-profit organization, good stewardship of our resources is essential to the operation and development of the Garden. Our fiscal year is October 1 – September 30. A detailed operating budget is carefully developed each year with monthly reporting to our Board of Directors and fiscal year results published in the Garden’s Annual Report. We plan our exhibits, landscapes, classes, events and programs a year in advance with each area of the organization directly responsible for executing and tracking its budget plans. Operating expenses are carefully scrutinized to insure the most value for the Garden.

Revenues contributing to the Operating Budget consist of both earned and unearned income. The Garden generates more than half of the revenues needed to support operations through admissions, gift shop sales, program and event fees, and facility rental fees. Support for the Garden is also derived from membership sales, sponsorships, and contributions to the Garden for general operations. Public support in the form of local government operating appropriations has continued to decline as a percentage of revenue as the Garden has developed over the years, representing 7% of the FY 15-16 operating budget.

As part of ongoing development of the Garden’s long-term Master Plan, fundraising activities are performed to support capital projects identified and prioritized by the Garden’s Board of Directors. Please see the page on this website offering more information on the Garden Core Master Plan. All funds contributed to the Garden for capital projects are segregated from the Garden’s operating accounts to insure their direct application to the use designated by the donor. Currently the Garden is raising funds specifically for the construction of a new Guest Welcome Center. Please see our Guest Welcome Center page for additional information.