Woman’s Board of the Chicago Horticultural Society

Click here if you are a Woman's Board member.

Woman's Board Events

Founded in 1951, the Woman’s Board and its members have been ambassadors for the Garden; all are dedicated to horticulture, conservation, and education. 

An early mission of the Chicago Horticultural Society was to find and develop a permanent headquarters and garden center to serve the Chicago area. The Woman’s Board was established to help build membership for the society, and it further pledged to sponsor new programs, activities, and fundraising projects.

The Woman’s Board developed the Fragrant Garden for the Blind, which opened in 1957 at the Chicago Lighthouse. In 1966, the first plant sale was held—six years before the Chicago Botanic Garden opened to the public in 1972. The Board also introduced the Zimmerman lecture series, a successful and long-running project. Today, Woman’s Board events such as A Rare Affair, the All Aboard! gala, and the Fall Bulb Festival continue to draw people to the Garden, raising funds to support a myriad of programs. 

The Garden Shop and the Lenhardt Library also have their roots in work done by the Woman’s Board. In the 1970s the Board established the Garden Shop; its proceeds still provide needed funds. When the Chicago Horticultural Society moved into the early Garden buildings, the Woman’s Board had the first collection of library books installed there. 

The Woman’s Board is in its third year of “Growing the Future,” a $1 million pledge to the Chicago Botanic Garden. Proceeds from 2012 supported the Garden’s Green Youth Farm and Windy City Harvest community gardening programs, and proceeds from 2013 enabled renovation of the English Walled Garden as well as restoration of areas damaged by the emerald ash borer. Proceeds from 2014 support fellowships for the plant biology and conservation graduate program, which is a collaboration between the Garden and Northwestern University.


Barbara Metzler

Nancy Kurz
First Vice President

Kim Visokey
Second Vice President

Lynn Foster
Third Vice President

Carolyn Katz

Ann Merritt




Dora Aalbregtse
Cheri Allen
Liz Bacon
Ann Balusek
Janice Beck
Marianne Bestler
Deedee Borland
Calvine Bowen
Mary Boyer
Barbara Brown
Peggy Carr
Bean Carroll
Chris Chandler
Maggie Coleman
Sue Cozzens
Alicia Crawford
Liz Crowe
Jill Delaney
Cathie Denckla
Nancy Dorr
Jody Elting
Liz Farwell
Valerie Foradas
Alice Goltra
Susan Green
Barbara Hansen
Lorill Haynes
Anne Healy
Marilyn Heath
Judy Herb
Lucia Heyworth
Mary Hill
Penny Horne
Betsy Hough
Hélène James
Gina Jannotta
Beth Jernigan
Betsy Karp
Barbara Kehoe
Kitty Kirby


May Cat Kneibler
Judy Konen
Peggy Leider
Celine Lillie
Joani Lowry
Roberta Lynch
Patsy Magner
Jennifer Martay
Michelle McCarthy
Gwen McConnaughy
Michelle McKenna
Madeleine McMullan
Gail Miller
Mary Alice Miller
Weezie Monroe
Brooks Morgan
Kate Morris
Louellen Murray
Ginny Noyes
Jane Pearsall
Janet Meakin Poor
Juli Priebe
Elizabeth Pruett
Marina Puryear
Carole Read
Glo Rolighed
Patti Ross
Holly Rothschild
Carole Sandner
Beth Schroeder
Heather Scott
Missy Shennan
Susan Spears
Lois Steans
Margie Strauch
Louise Tausché
Susan Tupper
Jeanie Van Nice
Cassandra Vermillion
Susie Volckens