Client Spotlight: Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance’s New Children’s Garden

Client spotlight, (3 minute read)

Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance collaborated with consultants at Alford Group to complete their campaign for the new Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden, providing a free, year-round, accessible adventure for Garfield Park and Chicago families.

Pictured above: Nature Educator Grace Urrutia engages visitors in arts-infused science education in Horticulture Hall at the Garfield Park Conservatory.

Who is Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance?

The Alliance is a nonprofit organization seeking to change lives through the power of nature by bringing educational programming, events and resources to visitors in partnership with the Chicago Park District.

The Alliance strengthens the community through the unique combination of free onsite gardens, exhibits and programming and other nature-based activities and resources that invite the engagement of all community members. The Alliance enhances the economic vitality of Chicago’s West Side and encourages the larger community to explore the fundamental connection between plants and human life.

What was the focus of the work between the Alliance and Alford Group?

In 2020, the Alliance invited Alford Group to serve as Campaign Counsel for the construction of a new children’s garden. Over two years, with eighteen months of comprehensive counsel, the team of consultants launched an assessment using Alford Analytics and a holistic review of all the materials related to the campaign.

Alford Group consultants engaged their Board and other key stakeholders through a SOAR analysis, a campaign committee, interviews, two focus groups and board coaching workshops.

What were the major changes made in the process?

In the process of raising nearly $4 million dollars to build the Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden, the Alliance, with the guidance of Alford Group created a compelling case for support, affirmed their campaign timeline and goal milestones, identified their top campaign prospects and strategy, engaged key stakeholders and built a campaign toolkit.

Jennifer Van Valkenberg, President & CEO, credits the success of the campaign to the collaboration:

Working with Alford Group was instrumental in the success of our campaign for the Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden. The Alford team brought no less than four (!) distinct areas of expertise that advanced our work: board training and engagement, database analytics, prospect identification and evaluation, and overall project management. It was like having a full-time addition (or two) to the staff as they embraced our work and goals seamlessly. The team also showcased their deep understanding of equity work, advancing our campaign with an inclusive approach to engagement.”

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