Members of The Mercer Society will soon be called “Mercer Members”. Have you heard about “Mercer Grown”? Plants? Fundraising? Philanthropy? TMS Board President Nancy Ackley explained, “This is an exciting time for The Mercer Society. There is a lot happening. Our new mission statement has inspired us to think ‘new’ and think ‘success’! Our mission is to ‘Bring Together Plants, People and Opportunities’ in support of Mercer Botanic Gardens. To fulfill this mission, we have restructured our organization, updated our membership to reflect the stated interests and preferences of our current members, improved and strengthened our organizational and financial infrastructure, expanded our Plant Sales and returned March Mart to 2 ½ days. And much more.”
A Renewed and New Focus on Plants
A recent survey of TMS members revealed that they became and are TMS members because they love Mercer plant sales and The Gardens. “We’re going back to our roots,” said Nancy. “We’re known for our plant sales and that’s what we do best. March Mart (MM) this year with an extra day, was a notable success. The VIP Event (open to Supporter and above TMS members) — an early sale with a fabulous and elegant reception was a WOW! Event. The series of monthly Specialty Plant Sales, many including a targeted Educational session, were all heavily attended, positively received and sold lots of plants. These will continue. “
In 2020, “Mercer Grown”, will become a reality after many years of discussion. The “Northside”, long the site of TMS greenhouses, will step into a new identity and transition into the newly named Northside Horticultural and Propagation Center. All plants propagated and grown by TMS, using the expertise and skill of horticulturalists, growers, trained Volunteers and Master Gardeners will ensure that every plant sold will reflect high standards of health, beauty and value. Plants that are edible or pollinator attractors will be 100% pesticide free. Brandon Hubbard, TMS Horticultural Manager anticipates 200-300 different “Mercer Grown” plants at March Mart 2020.
Membership Transformation: Become a Mercer Member
The changes TMS is making reflect a shift in approach and priorities for TMS in many areas, including Membership. Nancy explained: “We see ourselves as a family – Mercer Botanic Gardens (MBG), Mercer Botanic Center (MBC), Staff, Volunteers, The Mercer Society Board, Staff and Members (TMS). We all share the same aim – To bring benefit to Mercer Botanic Gardens. We realized our TMS Members are actually “Mercer Members”.
“We think Fun, Games, Food and Families go together. So TMS and MBG are beginning this transformation to the new “Mercer Member” with a Party. All current TMS Members, TMS Staff and Board, MBG Staff, Volunteers, and special guests have been invited to The Mercer Family Picnic on Sunday, November 10th. Food, Hayrides, music, games, photo booth and more. Events such as these will be available to Mercer Members (aka now Members of The Mercer Society) along with many additional benefits including those great Plant sales. The specifics of this new approach to membership will begin later this year and will be completely implemented in early 2020 before March Mart. (Pssst:…. If you get a new membership now, you will get an invitation to the Mercer Family Picnic and will automatically receive a new membership activated now and lasting until your 2020 annual renewal. Nancy)
Fundraising and Philanthropy
Fundraising, philanthropy and other development efforts are essential to TMS and beneficial to Mercer Botanic Gardens. Nancy explained: “As the non-profit 501c3 of Mercer Botanic Gardens, we have the awesome opportunity to raise funds and resources for Mercer Botanic Gardens. Plant sales and memberships are valuable adjuncts to our fundraising efforts. Donations, Grants, Memorials and Recognition Paver Program, Fundraising appeals, Events and Programming are also ways that we work to raise funds. But it is through relationships with our visitors, members, volunteers, supporters, local businesses, cultural and educational organizations, schools, garden clubs and more that we bring together the people and opportunities that bring benefits to Mercer Botanic Gardens.”
The future holds many opportunities for Mercer Botanic Gardens and The Mercer Society. Thank you for continuing to support us. Buildings and renovations are soon to become a reality. In the meantime, the beauty, resilience and possibilities of The Garden will continue to inspire and delight us all. Be sure to join us for coming events including Holiday in the Gardens on December 14, 2019. It will be festive and a wonderland of delights.