Selby Gardens announces third gift of $1 million within the last two weeks for the Downtown Sarasota campus Master Plan To date, more than 90 percent of the funds for Phase I are secured

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Selby Gardens announces third gift of $1 million within the last two weeks for the Downtown Sarasota campus Master Plan

To date, more than 90 percent of the funds for Phase I are secured

SARASOTA, Fla., May 25, 2021 – Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (Selby Gardens) is excited to announce another one-million-dollar gift towards capital needs for Phase I of the Downtown Sarasota campus Master Plan—this time from Susan and Zuheir Sofia. This is the third gift of $1 million announced by Selby Gardens in the last two weeks.

“Selby Gardens is a jewel in our community. It attracts visitors from all over the world and focuses on the environment, horticulture, and education,” says Susan Sofia. “Selby Gardens’ transformational Master Plan aligns with our passion for advancing Sarasota’s cultural institutions and connects our community with the region and the world,” added Zuheir Sofia. “We are proud and excited to participate in Selby’s transformation,” says Susan Sofia.

“We are grateful to Susan and Zuheir for their leadership gift,” says Jennifer Rominiecki, president & CEO of Selby Gardens. “Their gift brings us one step closer to making the Master Plan a reality for our community and we cannot be more excited.”

Susan Sofia is a former banker and public school educator and is a member of Selby Gardens’ Advisory Committee. She is an avid supporter of Sarasota’s arts and educational communities and currently serves on the Boards of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Young Presidents’ Organization (“YPO”) Florida Sun Coast Gold Chapter. She served on the Board of the Sarasota Orchestra and is the former Chair of the Ohio Arts Council and Little Garden Club of Columbus. Zuheir Sofia is the Chairman and CEO of Business Bank of Florida and Senior Advisor of Elizabeth Park Capital and he is the past President, COO, and Director of Huntington Bancshares. He served on the boards of several public companies and recently retired from Lancaster Colony’s Board. He is the former Chairman of The Ohio State University Board of Trustees, The James Cancer Hospital, and Columbus Symphony Orchestra. He is a member of YPO Florida Sun Coast Gold Chapter. The Sofias have three children and four granddaughters.

To date, Selby Gardens has raised more than 90 percent of the funds needed to implement Phase I of the $42.5 million needed to implement the first phase of the Master Plan, more than $38.5 million has been raised. Selby Gardens will break ground soon at a ceremony on Thursday, June 3, 2021.

The three-phase plan will take several years to complete. Selby Gardens’ trustees, leadership donors and campaign co-chairs Jean Weidner Goldstein, Cornelia Matson and Pauline Wamsler are spearheading the fundraising effort, Innovating a Greener Future- Living Inspiration for The Living Museum®: The Campaign for Selby Gardens.

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About Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens provides 45 acres of bayfront sanctuaries connecting people with air plants of the world, native nature, and our regional history. Established by forward thinking women of their time, Selby Gardens is composed of the 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus and the 30-acre Historic Spanish Point campus in the Osprey area of Sarasota County, Florida. The Downtown Campus on Sarasota Bay is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns, and other tropical plants. There is a significant focus on botany, horticulture, education, historical preservation, and the environment. The Historic Spanish Point (HSP) Campus is located less than 10 miles south along Little Sarasota Bay. The HSP Campus, one of the largest preserves showcasing native Florida plants that is interpreted for and open to the public, celebrates an archaeological record that encompasses approximately 5,000 years of Florida history. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a Smithsonian Affiliate and is also accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. For more information visit www.selby.org.

Roy Lichtenstein: Monet’s Garden Goes Pop!

February 13 through June 27, 2021

Downtown Sarasota campus

Our Mission: To provide bayfront sanctuaries connecting people with air plants of the world, native nature, and our regional history

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