The UPS Foundation Awards Atlanta Botanical Garden $5M for Sustainable Expansion

Staff Report

Friday, April 28th, 2023

The Atlanta Botanical Garden has been awarded a $5 million gift from The UPS Foundation that will help the Midtown attraction expand to the popular Atlanta Beltline and promote a more sustainable environment.

By acquiring and redeveloping commercial property along Piedmont Avenue, the Garden will expand by about 8 acres, making it contiguous to one of the nation’s most popular urban revitalization projects and adding a second entrance dedicated to pedestrians and bikers. The expansion also will make the Garden the city’s first cultural institution directly accessible from the 22-mile loop.

“UPS is proudly headquartered in Atlanta, and The UPS Foundation’s support of the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s expansion drives our goal of creating a more resilient, just and sustainable city,” said Nikki Clifton, President of The UPS Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm. “When companies, communities and organizations come together for good, the impact grows throughout our city.”

The project is aimed at creating a more walkable, bikeable and sustainable urban environment, with reduced reliance on automobiles as Atlanta’s population continues to grow. That goal complements UPS’s support for biodiversity, it commitment to reducing environmental impact and its sustainability goal of planting 50 million trees around the world by 2030 to create a greener future.

Expansion efforts began in 2018 when the City of Atlanta invested $20.4 million in the acquisition of retail and mixed-use property near Piedmont Avenue and Monroe Drive, earmarked for future expansion of neighboring Piedmont Park. Since then, the Garden has purchased commercial parcels with private funds for its own future expansion. Ultimately, the dual expansions will create a convergence of three of the city’s most popular greenspaces – the Garden, park and Beltline.

The UPS Foundation gift – along with last year’s $5 million donation by UPS CEO and Garden Trustee Carol Tomé and a transformational lead gift of $25 million by the James M. Cox Foundation – will move the Garden closer to breaking ground on the expansion within the next two years.

“UPS is truly a visionary company that shares the Garden’s commitment to sustainability and a healthy planet,” Garden President & CEO Mary Pat Matheson said. “We are so grateful for its tremendous support of our mission.”

The project will expand the 30-acre Garden by about 25 percent. Once the necessary land is acquired, the Garden will launch a capital campaign for developing the property, with a goal for completion by 2026. In addition to the second entrance, the expansion will include new display gardens, water features, a visitor center, orangerie, beer garden, café and exhibit areas.

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