PHS President Jane Pepper to Retire in 2010

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Jane Pepper, who raised the stature of the Philadelphia Flower Show internationally and supported the expansion of the Philadelphia Green program into a national model for urban revitalization, has announced she will retire in spring 2010 after nearly three decades as president of PHS.

A native of Edinburgh, Scotland, Pepper’s work with PHS began as a volunteer at the 1976 Flower Show. Then-President Ernesta Ballard hired Jane in 1979. Pepper became executive director in 1981 and president in 1985. During her tenure, the membership of PHS has doubled to 16,000 and the staff has grown from 28 to more than 100.

Pepper’s ability to attract support in every situation has led to partnerships with city and state governments, corporations and greening organizations in the region and across the United States.

Since Jane Pepper became president in 1981, PHS has assumed a vital role in renovating, caring for, and setting high horticultural standards for Philadelphia’s neighborhood and public landscapes. It has accomplished this through its signature approach – pulling together solid partnerships with public and private organizations, government, and residents to help leverage funding and resources.

In honor of her tenure, PHS recently launched the Legacy Landscapes campaign, with a goal of raising $12.1 million in endowment funds that will be dedicated to maintenance of the city’s most treasured neighborhood and civic landscapes. The organization is committed to reaching the goal by next Spring, in concert with Pepper’s retirement. The current economic climate increases the need for reliable funding, immune to budget cuts and market fluctuations, to maintain green spaces in Philadelphia’s revitalized communities and downtown sites.

“The Legacy Landscapes campaign offers an unprecedented opportunity to preserve the wonderful projects we have accomplished over the past 30 years well into the future,” explained Pepper.

To date, the Campaign has made great strides thanks to a $2 million donation from Mrs. Samuel M.V. Hamilton and a $2 million challenge grant from Marguerite and H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest for major gifts up to $500,000. That challenge has been met with $1.65 million so far. A $200,000 challenge grant made by the McLean Contributionship has inspired $140,000 in donations of $7,500 to $25,000. The Campaign has raised a total of $7.7 million toward its $12.1 million goal, including deferred gifts.

While revenues from the endowment fund will be used to cover the maintenance of these special public spaces, they will also allow PHS to allocate its other resources to the revival of Philadelphia’s waterfronts, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and other environmental projects.

“As we head into the final stretch of our fundraising efforts, we hope many individuals will consider honoring Jane’s legacy with a gift to the Campaign,” said Melissa De Ruiter, PHS Senior Director of Development. “We will need many gifts if we are to reach our goal – and no gift at this stage is too small.”

The Campaign will culminate with PHS’ most visible fundraiser, the Preview Reception and Dinner to be held at the 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show on Saturday, Feb. 27. The Show theme, “Passport to the World,” will be a celebration of flowers and other plants from around the globe on Feb. 28 to March 7 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Pepper’s horticultural training began at Haverford College. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in plant science from the University of Delaware and a Master of Science in public horticulture administration from the Longwood Graduate Program. She also earned an Associate of Science degree in landscape design at Temple University.

She is the author of Jane Pepper’s Garden: Getting the Most Pleasure and Growing Results from Your Garden Every Month of the Year (Camino Books, 1997).

Pepper is a director of the PNC Financial Services Group; a member of the Board of Directors of the First Hospital Foundation, the Fox Chase Cancer Center and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce; and a trustee of Longwood Gardens, Inc.

In April, Pepper received the Woman One Award from the Drexel University College of Medicine’s Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership in honor of her distinguished contributions to the community and to the cause of women’s leadership. She is also the recipient of the Wyck-Strickland Award; Massachusetts Horticultural Society Grand Gold Medal; The Pennsylvania Society Award; Temple University General Alumni Association Certificate of Honor; Magee Hospital Humanitarian Award; Royal Horticultural Society Gold Veitch Memorial Medal; and many other honors.

A committee of PHS Council members has begun the search process for the next president of the organization, said Council Chair John K. Ball, who praised Pepper’s accomplishments and dedication.

“Jane has provided extraordinary leadership,” Ball said. “For her, this has not been simply a job. It’s been a passionate commitment to the PHS mission.”

One Response to “PHS President Jane Pepper to Retire in 2010”

  1. biber hapı Says:

    Thanks! You have a great weekend too!

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