FLUSHING, NY — January 18, 2022— Queens Botanical Garden (QBG) is thrilled to announce the selection of Evie Hantzopoulos as its new Executive Director. Hantzopoulos succeeds Susan Lacerte, who retired in September 2021, following a 27-year tenure in the position. Her appointment comes at an exciting chapter in the Garden’s history as the 39-acre oasis prepares to break ground on its new state-of-the-art Education Center this year. Hantzopoulos will begin in the role on January 24, 2022.
Hantzopoulos is an award-winning educator and non-profit leader with extensive experience in organizational leadership, strategic planning, fundraising, and program development. Until recently, she served for 11 years as Executive Director of Global Kids, Inc., a non-profit organization that develops youth leaders through dynamic global education and leadership development programs. During her tenure, she led the organization to unprecedented programmatic and financial growth – expanding its programs to Washington D.C. and Houston, growing the organization’s budget from $3.6 million to $7.6 million, and receiving the Non-Profit New York Excellence in Overall Management Award in 2020. Prior to this role, Hantzopoulos served as the Global Kids Deputy Director/Director of Programs for 14 years, overseeing the development, supervision, and expansion of programs in New York City as well as professional development programs for teachers and youth workers nationally and internationally.
“Evie is an educator at heart,” said Rebecca Wolf, QBG Interim Executive Director / Assistant Director and Director of Education and Garden Operations. “Her dedication to building inclusive, equitable, and sustainable organizations and communities completely aligns with the mission of the Garden as being the place where plants, people, and cultures meet.”
An Astoria resident since 1999, Hantzopoulos is actively involved in community affairs and serves on Community Board One Queens. She co-founded Frontline Foods Queens in March 2020, which has provided over 60,000 meals from local restaurants to frontline hospital workers, food pantries, and NYCHA residents across Queens. She is also a founding member of Astoria Mutual Aid Network, the Astoria Urban Ecology Alliance, and the 31st Avenue Open Street. This past election cycle, Hantzopoulos ran in the District 22 New York City Council Democratic primary, finishing second in a six-person race.
“Queens Botanical Garden is such a unique and special place,” said Hantzopoulos. “Now more than ever, access to public, open space is essential to our well-being. I am honored to have the opportunity to build on the authenticity and expertise of the institution’s staff and community members and lead the Garden in reaching its full potential – as a place where people of all backgrounds and abilities can appreciate and learn about the environment, engage in the arts, experience innovative programming, celebrate culture, build community, and make their own lasting connections.”
“The Board of Trustees is thrilled to announce Evie Hantzopoulos as QBG’s next Executive Director,” said Raymond Jasen, QBG Board Chair. “Evie’s proven leadership and commitment to Queens are the perfect fit for our Garden. As we prepare to break ground on our Education Center later this year, we are confident that Evie will be the right person to lead our organization into this exciting new era and keep Queens Botanical Garden on the cutting edge of what it means to be an urban botanical garden in today’s world.”
In fall 2022, QBG will begin construction on its new Education Center. With an innovative design, four classrooms, a teaching kitchen, an education solarium, a green roof, and space for indoor and outdoor programming, the Education Center and its surrounding landscapes will allow for increased visitation to the Garden and create exciting new educational opportunities. The building is scheduled to open in late 2024.
“The Garden is an exceptional place and the new Education Center is a game changer,” said Hantzopoulos. “I can’t wait to get started.”
About Queens Botanical Garden
Queens Botanical Garden is an urban oasis where people, plants, and cultures are celebrated through inspiring gardens, innovative educational programs and real-world applications of environmental stewardship. QBG is located on property owned by the City of New York, and its operation is made possible in part by public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Queens Borough President, the New York City Council, State elected officials, the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, along with corporate, foundation, and individual supporters. For more information, visit www.queensbotanical.org or call (718) 886-3800.