The in Maine plans to use part of the $20 million it will receive from the estate of to double its operating budget and staff, the reports.
Originally established as the Island Foundation by Rockefeller and his late wife, Peggy, the preserve owns and maintains the Asticou Azalea Garden, Thuya Garden, and more than a thousand acres in Seal Harbor, Maine, that Rockefeller donated in 2015, including Little Long Pond and the surrounding woodlands and meadows. The organization also announced that it has been granted ownership of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden — named after Rockefeller's mother — through a bequest from Rockefeller, who died last March at the age of 101. Plans for allowing public access to the garden — which has been limited to one day a week for a few weeks in the summer — will be finalized in early spring.
"The preserve is so grateful to Mr. Rockefeller and the Rockefeller family for their tradition of generosity and leadership in protecting these magnificent lands and gardens," said Rodney Eason, the preserve's CEO. "The financial support that Mr. Rockefeller has pledged for our endowment will cover staffing, benefits, and operational expenses for the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden, the support greenhouses at McAlpin Farm, as well as the lands he has donated."
Eason told the Islander that he expects the organization's 2018 budget will be more than double its 2017 budget of about $1.1 million and that the additional funds will be used "to properly care for these majestic lands and gardens…. Some of the systems and structures that are part of these [Rockefeller land] gifts are nearly ninety years old and will need additional upgrades and improvements over time. To finance these....will require a thoughtful approach to raise additional financial support beyond Mr. Rockefeller's generous gifts."