BHGC Donates Record Amount to 50 Non-Profits

The Beacon Hill Garden Club, coming off one of the most successful Hidden Garden Tours in its 89-year history, is poised to contribute more than $98,000 to about 50 local, regional and national environmental and horticulture non-profits.

Christy Nicholas of Chestnut Street (at left) and Alicia Towns Franken of West Cedar Street chaired one of the most successful Hidden Gardens Tour ever.

Christy Nicholas of Chestnut Street (at left) and Alicia Towns Franken of West Cedar Street chaired one of the most successful Hidden Gardens Tour ever.

That amount includes the $25,000 the club will donate to the reconstruction of the garden at the Old North Church. It does not include an additional $30,000 that will go to Old North from the Garden Club of America’s Founders Fund, which the Beacon Hill Garden Club applied for and won at the GCA’s annual meeting in May.

“We are thrilled to be able to give away all this money,” said outgoing president Leslie Adam. “We are not your grandmother’s garden club.”

She illustrated that point by wearing a leather biker’s jacket while she spoke at the club’s first annual Garden Soiree, held the evening before the Tour of the Hidden Gardens in the King’s Chapel House garden, which was spruced up with an a donation from the garden club. The tour took place on May 19.

Club members Alicia Towns Franken of West Cedar Street and Christy Nicholas of Chestnut Street were the tour chairs.

The club is especially proud of the $5,000 it will send to the Boston Parks Department, hoping the funds will support the city’s greenhouses, which could be in better shape than they are. Boston’s public parks will also benefit from the $500 going to the Phillips Street Park and the $4,000 to be given to the Friends of the Public Garden and Common. Other local organizations as disparate as Nurtury Learning Lab at the City of Boston’s Bromley Heath Housing Development in Jamaica Plain, the Esplanade Association, Marathon Daffodils, the East Boston YMCA’s Urban Farm to Kitchen project for children, and the Boston Food Forest Coalition will receive grants ranging from $500 to $5,000.

The club invites organizations to apply for funds, which are distributed each year after the tour. Applicants must have horticultural or environmental missions, and local organizations are generally favored over national ones. The funds able to be distributed depend on the success of the Tour of the Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill. The address for requests is the Beacon Hill Garden Club, Box 302, Charles Street Station, Boston, MA 02114.

            This year, with more than 2,000 tickets sold, a pre-tour party, the support of many local merchants and a beautiful spring day, the tour was certain to be a success. Applicants are cautioned that if it rains or other factors interfere with the tour, it will not always be so successful.

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