The Morton Arboretum, a leader among the world’s tree-focused botanical gardens, announced today that it has surpassed the $63 million goal of its Growing Brilliantly fundraising campaign, with more than $73.9 million raised. The five-year effort has enabled the Arboretum to deepen its work in science and conservation, expand new tree development and improve core facilities to meet its strategic vision.

Notably, the campaign brought in ten seven-figure gifts, making it the most successful fundraising effort in the Arboretum’s history. Among them is a $3 million gift from the Hamill Family Foundation for tree science and conservation programs including $1 million in matching funds and a $2.3 million endowment from the Daniel P. Haerther Charitable Trust for the New Plant Development Program. In addition to these and other major gifts, annual contributions comprised nearly half of all funds raised. Membership grew to a record high of more than 53,000 households during the campaign.

“The Morton Arboretum’s mission to plant and protect trees is more relevant today than ever before, as trees face increased challenges in a changing climate,” said Gerard T. Donnelly, Ph.D., President and CEO of The Morton Arboretum. “Through the support of the Growing Brilliantly campaign, the Arboretum is better positioned to advance the cause of trees and the science to ensure their future. Thank you to the donors who gave generously to support the work of the Arboretum benefitting trees, people, communities and the environment.”

Growing Brilliantly funded five core initiatives that position the institution for future impact, including:

  • Establishment of the Center for Tree Science, advancing research by the Arboretum’s team of more than 30 tree scientists and global collaborators to secure the future of trees;
  • Tree conservation programs that bring together the world’s leading tree scientists and conservation experts to develop solutions to protect the world’s most threatened trees and improve the urban forest of the Chicago region;
  • The Daniel P. Haerther Charitable Trust New Plant Development Program, enabling the Arboretum to breed and introduce useful and attractive trees and shrubs with improved urban tolerance, disease and pest resistance, and adaptability to the changing climate of the upper Midwest;
  • Enhancements to the award-winning Children’s Garden, to inspire the tree champions of tomorrow;
  • The redevelopment of the South Farm complex, the curatorial and operations hub for the 1,700-acre Arboretum, including new and expanded facilities for more than 130 staff and expanded plant production facilities and greenhouse space.

“Trees enrich our lives and play a crucial role in preserving the health and beauty of our communities and world,” said Robert Fealy, Arboretum trustee. “The Morton Arboretum stands at the forefront of championing their cause, and every donor, at every level, who made a gift to Growing Brilliantly has helped strengthen the Arboretum’s efforts to protect this vital resource.”

The Growing Brilliantly campaign was co-chaired by Robert Fealy of Chicago and Arboretum trustee Amy Louis of Hinsdale.

About The Morton Arboretum
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized outdoor tree museum and tree research center located in Lisle, Illinois, USA. As the champion of trees, the Arboretum is committed to scientifically informed action, both locally and globally, and encouraging the planting and conservation of trees for a greener, healthier, more beautiful world. On 1,700 acres are 222,000 plant specimens representing 4,500 different kinds of plants, along with specialty gardens, educational exhibits, the award-winning Children’s Garden, 16 miles of hiking trails and the Visitor Center, featuring The Arboretum Store and the Ginkgo Restaurant and Café. The Morton Arboretum is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, welcoming 1.3 million visitors annually and serving more than 53,000 member households in 2018. Learn more at