Powell Gardens, Inc.
1609 NW US Highway 50
Kingsville MO 64061
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 697-2600
Fax 816- 697-2619
Mission Statement

Powell Gardens is an experience that embraces the Midwest's spirit of place and inspires an appreciation for the importance of plants in our lives.

CEO/Executive Director Ms. Tabitha Schmidt
Board Chair Mr. Dick Brown
Board Chair Company Affiliation Stowers Institute for Medical Research
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1988
Volunteer Opportunities
Ways to donate, support, or volunteer
Become a Member: At Powell Gardens (the Gardens), we invite you to be part of Kansas City’s botanical garden by purchasing a membership to enjoy the Gardens year-round. You can join by calling the Gardens, going online, or by mail.
Make a Gift: Donations are accepted online, via credit card, and through the mail via check. Guests may also make in-person donations at the Powell Gardens’ Visitor Center via cash, check, or credit card. Your support underwrites the many activities, programs, and projects at the Gardens, including our major festivals, such as the Festival of Butterflies, a living exhibition of butterflies from around the world, and Festival of Lights, a winter holiday light display.
Volunteer: Volunteers are an integral part of Powell Gardens and there are volunteer opportunities available to suit many interests and schedules. Volunteer recognition, education opportunities, and social events are scheduled periodically expressly for volunteers throughout the year. Interested individuals are encouraged to view current volunteer opportunities and submit a volunteer application on the Powell Gardens website.
Attend a Class: Powell Gardens is committed to recognizing the Midwest spirit of place and helping people understand the importance of plants in our lives. We do this through field trips for K-12 students that reinforce STEM learning; garden tours for adults and other groups; classes and programs that highlight the Midwest landscape and teach attendees ways to bring the Gardens home with them; and culinary programs, such as barn dinners and chef demonstrations, that bring our Heartland Harvest Garden to life.
To learn more about ways to get involved, contact Tabitha Schmidt, Executive Director, at tschmidt@powellgardens.org or 816-697-2600.
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement

Powell Gardens is an experience that embraces the Midwest's spirit of place and inspires an appreciation for the importance of plants in our lives.

Background Statement
Powell Gardens is a Kansas City treasure with 970 acres of natural beauty less than an hour from downtown. Highlights of the area's only major botanical garden include the Heartland Harvest Garden, the nation’s largest edible landscape; the Island Garden, featuring more than 200 varieties of water plants; and the David T. Beals, III Woodland and Stream Garden, where plants thrive in the shade.
Powell Gardens is a destination for plant lovers and art aficionados alike. Several permanent and rotating art exhibits are carefully curated to accentuate the gardens’ natural beauty. Powell Gardens is also known for its contemporary architecture by Fay Jones and Maurice Jennings, now Maurice Jennings + Walter Jennings Architects. Powell Gardens currently has the largest collection of structures by the firm, including examples of organic architecture reflecting Jones' early-career relationship with Frank Lloyd Wright.
In 1948, George E. Powell, Sr., a prominent Kansas City businessman and future owner of Yellow Transit Freight Lines (now YRC Worldwide), acquired a tract of land that was once a working dairy farm. Mr. Powell donated the 640-acre farm to the Kansas City Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America in 1969 and the land was used as a regional camp for over a decade. In 1984, the Powell Family Foundation began developing a horticultural and natural resource facility called Powell Center in partnership with the University of Missouri’s School of Agriculture.
As a part of this development, Powell Center retained Pittsburgh, Pa.-based Environmental Planning and Design, the leading U.S. consultants for botanical gardens. The firm recognized that the site was ideal for development as a botanical garden. In 1988, official ties with the University of Missouri ended and Powell Gardens Inc., a not-for-profit organization, was established.
In 2018, Powell Gardens welcomed approximately 68,000 visitors through paid and membership admissions, 19,300 of whom were youth, and membership grew to 3,300. Each visit served as a new opportunity to discover and celebrate the beauty of the Midwestern landscape. As a safe, tranquil place for children and their families to learn and play outdoors, Powell Gardens is a retreat from urban life and an integral part of the Kansas City experience.
Impact Statement
2018 Accomplishments:
  1. In October 2018, Powell Gardens (the Gardens) unveiled the new Miller Hamond Chapel Study. This space will provide a new dressing area for wedding parties, an intimate refuge for reflection after memorial services, and a quiet meeting place for corporate retreats.
  2. The Gardens deepened its commitment to protect pollinators with the installation of a permanent native butterfly tent during the 22nd annual Festival of Butterflies. Local artist and third-generation beekeeper Jarrett Mellenbruch also installed “Haven,” a functional art piece, near the Marlese Lowe Gourley Island Garden entrance. The sculpture is a working beehive installed on a 16-foot pole that houses a bee colony established on Mellenbruch’s property.
  3. The Gardens offered new, diverse culinary and cross-discipline programs, such as Fashion & Flora, a partnership with Rightfully Sewn that featured local fashion and floral designers. These programs successfully attracted new audiences; on average, 53% of program and event attendees were non-members.

2019 Goals:
  1. Achieve excellence in the visitor experience by identifying key audiences and their motivators and by developing a visitor experience and communication plan to increase return visits and average time spent in the Gardens.
  2. Develop a sustainable garden that supports excellence in display, education, and conservation through development and implementation of a master garden plan.
  3. Identify and implement the changes needed in business practices, processes, and technology to become more efficient and effective.
  4. Achieve financial stability and sustainability by achieving 2019 budget goals and developing a three-year business plan to pull annual endowment draws within the range of nonprofit best practices.
  5. Build a culture of collaboration, accountability, and transparency through increased employee, volunteer, and Board of Directors communication, engagement, and morale.
Needs Statement
  1. $71,520 for technology upgrades to increase business practice efficiency, including cloud-based accounting migration and fiber internet installation.

  2. $70,000 to assess the sustainability and balance of the Gardens 175 developed acres. This includes rethinking some areas, such as Heartland Harvest Garden and perennial garden.

  3. $25,000 to assess and undergo the first phase of visitor experience improvement.

  4. $200,000 in underwriting to provide free school and family programming.

  5. $7,050 for Powell Gardens’ ongoing Garden Guide docent training program. This will cover costs associated with volunteer recruitment and training materials to create a highly knowledgeable team of volunteer tour guides to serve visitors. The docent program is entering its third year in 2019.
Service Categories
Botanical Gardens & Arboreta
Elementary & Secondary Schools
Areas of Service
MO - Jackson County
MO - Clay County
MO - Platte County
KS - Wyandotte County
KS - Johnson County
MO - Eastern Jackson Co
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
KS - Wyandotte County Urban Core
Geographic Area Served Narrative The Kansas City metro comprises two major urban core cities across two states – Kansas and Missouri. In a ring around these two urban cores are over 80 suburban cities in 15 counties. Outside of this suburban ring is America’s heartland, the rural communities which grow our produce and raise our livestock.
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement
Powell Gardens celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2018. The Gardens have grown exponentially since their inception. Powell Gardens is guided by a new strategic plan to provide a solid road map for the future. The objectives are outlined below:
1: Achieve Excellence in the Visitor Experience
For the first thirty years, the Gardens focused on the building of our beautiful footprint. Under this objective, we are focused on the activation of our spaces. Audience engagement through classes, programs, festivals and events; amenities such as food, drink and comfort; accessibility for all visitors focused on universal design; and technology to create ease of use are the key focus areas of our Visitor Services team and our newly formed Visitor Experience Board Committee.
2: Develop A Sustainable Garden That Supports Excellence in Display, Education and Conservation
Gardens go through three phases: development, maturity, and establishment. Powell Gardens has moved into the maturity phase and as a result we are focusing our efforts on sustainability or balance. We are renovating our Perennial Garden and Heartland Harvest Gardens with a focus on native plants, healthy ecosystems and sustainable plantings. Reducing the maintenance level in certain areas while raising the quality of the display are target goals for our horticulture team.
3: Implement Effective Business Practices
Developing our systems infrastructure and modernizing our technology are key priorities. We are installing fiber internet to allow us to provide a better work environment for staff and a stronger visitor experience. We are also transitioning to a cloud-based accounting system that will provide transparency and data for staff in real time allowing the team nimbleness to respond quickly. Identifying efficiencies in process and reducing labor involved are also key focus areas.
4: Achieve Financial Stability and Sustainability
All efforts at the Gardens are about increasing earned income and raising more in contributions with an eye to maintain the Gardens at the highest level. Funding is the key to achieving all our goals at the Gardens from maintenance, programming, top talent, and technology.
5: Build a Culture of Collaboration, Accountability and Transparency
Focusing on employee engagement and empowerment are critical. Systems that allow staff to strategize and plan as well as see results quickly; growing our volunteer program; and increasing Board engagement are all priorities in this area.
Description Powell Gardens’ Youth Education Program provides outdoor experiences that encourage observation, discussion, inquiry, and hands-on learning. These experiences help youth science educators teach environmental concepts such as sustainability and ecological awareness. During the 2019-2020 school year, Powell Gardens will launch Plants Matter!, a program that deeply immerses students in the outdoors through multiple garden visits and in-class sessions. Curriculum will emphasize topics such as the cycle of matter, plant ecosystems, energy loss via decomposition, energy needs for plant growth, and the environmental conditions needed by several species of Missouri plants to survive and thrive in our region. Education staff is also revamping current guided tours for youth so those tours better align with grade-level science education standards. The new tour structure will focus on targeting specific grade levels to enhance in-class science curriculum.
Program Budget $300,000.00
Category Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success

2019-2020 Plants Matter! Outcomes:

- Students will increase knowledge and appreciation of nature and the interrelation of all organisms within the environment, as measured by pre- and post-tests.

- Students will be able to positively identify three Missouri plants and three edible plants, as measured by a post-test.

- Students will increase knowledge of the conditions necessary to grow multiple varieties of fruits and vegetables in the local climate, as measured by pre- and post-tests.

- Students will express increased likelihood to participate in outdoor experiences, as measured by pre- and post-tests.

- Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of the cycle of matter and the flow of energy within an ecosystem as measured by a post-test.

Long-Term Success The goal of the Plants Matter! program is to enhance science education and student performance related to Missouri Learning Standards (attached) for elementary science for Kansas City area fifth-grade students. The program accomplishes this by providing place-based, hands-on learning opportunities to supplement classroom teaching. An academic foundation in science not only helps students better understand the world around them, but also prepares students for high-demand, well-paying careers in science and technology fields. Furthermore, educating students about the importance of sustainable food production and systems will ultimately cause consumers to consider sustainability when making choices. Changes in consumer preference will drive corporations to adopt sustainable practices to meet this need.
Program Success Monitored By Students will complete an assessment to measure their knowledge and understanding of science vocabulary and concepts. A tool with at least ten standard questions will assess program outcomes before the first session and at the end of the last session. In addition, teachers will complete surveys to provide feedback to volunteers and staff leading the program. An aspirational and hypothesized outcome is that students who take part in the Powell Gardens program will also demonstrate higher proficiency in science on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) compared to students in classrooms in the same school who did not take part in the program. The program will create systemic change by igniting a love for science and empowering younger generations to become responsible stewards of the natural world by highlighting the relationship between everyday life and nature.
Examples of Program Success In 2018, Powell Gardens welcomed 19,300 youth visitors, 2,125 of whom participated in guided and self-guided youth education tours. These students came from K-12 classrooms across the Kansas City metro with 24% coming from schools in zip codes with a higher-than-average percent of individuals living below the federal poverty level. Students who attended three-hour tours improved their knowledge, scoring an average of 33% on the pre-test and 54% on the post-test. Twenty-one percent (21%) improved knowledge of plant reproductive parts, 4% improved knowledge of fresh versus process foods, and 10% improved knowledge of ways to help pollinators. Of the students who participated in tours less than three hours long, 65% expressed learning new STEM concepts as a result of the tour through a verbal survey. When asked, the students generally said they learned new things about caterpillars, hedge apples, seeds, seed boats, rain, garden bugs, mint, or tomatoes.
The Nature Connects art installation will be on display at Powell Gardens from May 3 to July 28, 2019. The outdoor exhibit will inspire young visitors to build their own LEGO masterpieces and awaken the inner-child in adults who grew up playing with the colorful bricks. It will feature 11 structural artworks related to gardening and wildlife, as well as a play and stay station for visitors to create their own works of art.
Powell Gardens recently made strides to formalize its interior exhibition program. As a result, four visual art shows will take place in the Visitor Center throughout 2018. For the first time in recent history, the indoor exhibitions are being intentionally marketed to visitors and are part of programmatic offerings, including opportunities to celebrate the artists with a public reception.
Powell Gardens will also offer several multidisciplinary workshops in 2018, from poetry writing workshops to unique opportunities to create visual art in nature.
Program Budget $150,000.00
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Visual Arts Exhibitions
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Short-Term Success Powell Gardens expects to grow membership by 10% and attendance by 15% during the 2019 Nature Connects Exhibition. The 2018 outdoor exhibition (BIG Backyard) attracted 41,484 visitors and Powell Gardens’ membership reached 3,226 by the exhibition’s end. Powell Gardens expects to welcome 47,707 visitors during the 2019 Nature Connects exhibition, with membership reaching 3,549 by the program’s conclusion.
Long-Term Success The goal of Powell Gardens art exhibitions is to create opportunities for area residents and tourists to the Kansas City area to experience the intersection of art and nature and gain a better appreciation of the importance of plants in our lives. Powell Gardens also aims to celebrate the Midwest spirit of place by showcasing the works of local artists.
Program Success Monitored By Ticket sales during the exhibition serve as a strong indicator of program success. Powell Gardens also collects informal feedback from visitors. Years of visitor feedback have indicated families prefer to bring their children to experience outdoor sculpture exhibitions that include interactive elements. Because Powell Gardens believes it is important to foster an appreciation for both art and the natural world at an early age, the staff prioritizes installments that encourage playful interaction.
Examples of Program Success
Powell Gardens’ 2018 outdoor sculpture exhibit, BIG Backyard, took place May through October of 2018. During this exhibit, 41,484 individuals visited Powell Gardens as measured by ticket sales.
Powell Gardens has worked to diversify its artistic offerings to provide programming that highlights the aesthetics of the garden and allows guests to experience beauty in nature. In 2017, Powell Gardens collaborated with the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) to offer two classes, a natural dye workshop and a handmade papermaking workshop using plant fibers, which merge visual art and nature/science, engaging students to create a site-specific public installation. In addition, a site-specific installation featuring the work of KCAI students was on view March 2018.
Powell Gardens offers classes for adults with varying interests and skill levels. To attract and provide educational experiences to adults who love the aesthetic experience of being at the garden, Powell Gardens offers docent-led tours, Senior Adult Garden Education Series (SAGES) lectures, and art workshops.
Workshops for amateur garden enthusiasts address topics such as new cultivars on the market, how to harvest and use your garden bounty, and entry-level “how to” garden design. Additional hands-on experiences allow participants to work alongside horticulture staff to learn how to prune, plant, and transplant plants.
For Master Gardeners or those with horticultural industry experience, Powell Gardens provides in-depth classes and lectures on native plants and eradication of invasive species. For many of these programs, Powell Gardens collaborates with the University of Missouri or Kansas State Extension to offer Master Gardener education credits and certificates of participation.
Category Education, General/Other Adult Education
Population Served Adults
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success Powell Gardens’ 2018 programming included 21 adult offerings. Highlights included forest therapy; a Fashion and Flora event; a native plant lecture by Claudia West, a leading voice in the field of ecological planting design; a meditation and writing workshop; and a homemade paper-making workshop. Also, in 2018, more than 450 visitors attended adult group tours.
Long-Term Success The goal of Powell Gardens’ adult education programming is to provide area residents with meaningful opportunities to connect with nature and inspire participants to discover the significance of plants in their lives. By providing diverse program offerings for varying skill levels and interests, Powell Gardens intends to grow their audience and increase membership. Adult education classes, especially those at the Master Gardener level, also establish Powell Gardens as a local leader in horticulture, a goal from the organization’s most recent strategic plan. Creating and empowering local plant experts strengthens the Kansas City region’s horticultural community, which in turn fuels innovation and conservation at the local level.
Program Success Monitored By Powell Gardens conducts program evaluation surveys after each adult education class. This evaluation allows for class participants to rate their satisfaction with the program and instructor, as well as provide anecdotal responses about their likelihood to attend future classes and the subject matter or experiences they would like to see offered. Powell Gardens’ education staff uses the responses from these program evaluations to shape future adult education classes and events.
Examples of Program Success
Powell Gardens received the following feedback from its adult education offerings:
o Pollinator class attendee: Please tell [the instructor] that her program today is one of the best I have attended ever! This is based on the number of light bulbs that went off in my head. Thank you and please offer this again and again.
o Forest therapy class attendee: My first experience with forest therapy exceeded my expectations. I’ve always loved nature and spend a lot of time outdoors, but I haven’t slowed down to reflect on it for a long time. I underestimated the benefits I would receive from this practice. I feel incredibly grounded, centered, peaceful and grateful and fulfilled. I need more of this in my life and I’d love to learn to lead others in this practice.
Powell Gardens maintains seven themed gardens: Heartland Harvest Garden, Foundation Garden, Island Garden, Woodland and Stream Garden, Perennial Garden, Memorial Garden, and the gardens surrounding the Visitor Education Center. Within these gardens, Powell Gardens hosts several major festivals throughout the year including the Festival of Butterflies, a living exhibition of butterflies from around the world, and the Festival of Lights, a holiday light display. Powell Gardens will launch a new fall-themed festival in 2019.
Volunteer Garden Guides educate visitors during festivals and through educational tours. Each Garden Guide undergoes an 11-week, 33-hour training course provided by Powell Gardens’ staff and outside experts. In addition, internships give future horticulturists hands-on experience working alongside established professionals in a botanical garden setting.
Category Environment, General/Other Botanical & Aquatic Gardens
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success The number of Garden Guide docents and docent-hosted tours is expected to increase in 2019. Powell Gardens will also support four paid internships this year. Program success will be evaluated by the amount of community exposure the Gardens receive, as measured by attendance and membership. Powell Gardens will grow the number of membership renewals in 2019 compared to 2018 membership renewal numbers and increase garden attendance by 10% in 2019 compared to 2018 attendance numbers.
Long-Term Success Powell Gardens aims to provide area residents with meaningful opportunities to connect with nature and inspire participants to discover the significance of plants in their lives. By providing diverse horticultural experiences and a variety of family-friendly festivals, Powell Gardens intends to grow its audience and increase membership. Through its volunteer and internship programs, Powell Gardens is creating and empowering local plant experts, which will in turn strengthen the Kansas City region’s horticultural community. This cultivation will ultimately fuel innovation and conservation on the local level.
Program Success Monitored By Membership and attendance numbers are captured using Blackbaud’s Altru software. Staff leadership evaluate all outcomes monthly and report outcomes to the board of directors on a quarterly basis. If outcomes are below target, leadership utilizes this frequent evaluation to inform necessary changes to programming and outreach to compensate.
Examples of Program Success The Garden Guide docent training program was launched in the fall of 2017. The inaugural class trained a core of 17 volunteers, which grew to 22 docents in 2018. In 2018, these volunteers served more than 3,450 visitors of all ages through guided tours. In 2018, Powell Gardens welcomed 68,000 visitors through paid and membership admissions, and membership grew to 3,300.
Powell Gardens is focusing intently on strengthening the connection between seed to plate by offering programming centered around food grown onsite, under the direction of notable Kansas City food critic Jill Silva. A series of three dinners featuring meals crafted by varied Kansas City area chefs will be hosted in the Missouri Barn, located within the Heartland Harvest Garden (HHG), America’s largest edible landscape. A short garden tour and informal discussion about the chef-selected HHG ingredients will precede each dinner. In addition, two food-centric festivals, Fungi and Fermentation and Salsa y Salsa, are offered each year.
In 2019, Powell Gardens will launch a chef-in-residence program. The five chefs-in-residence will receive fresh produce from the HHG in exchange for teaching workshops and hosting curated dinners.
Category Food, Agriculture & Nutrition, General/Other Sustainable Agriculture
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success

Powell Gardens will offer three barn dinners and at least two special culinary events in 2019. The Gardens expects overall culinary event attendance will increase in 2019, as compared to 2018 numbers. In addition, Powell Gardens expects each of its barn dinners to sell out in 2019.

Long-Term Success

The first step to creating sustainable food systems is to educate individuals on the importance of sustainable food production and systems. According to the United Nations System Standing Committee of Nutrition (UNSCN), food production, more than any other human activity, has the greatest negative impact on water, soil, biodiversity, and greenhouse gases. Additionally, food production, processing, distribution, storage, preparation, and waste is accountable for 20-30% of greenhouse gas emissions. UNSCN claims increased consumptions of highly-processed foods is linked to obesity and poor nutrition (https://www.unscn.org/uploads/web/news/UNSCN-News42-2017.pdf). Strengthening the connection between seed and table will ultimately cause consumers to consider sustainability when making food choices. Changes in consumer preference will drive corporations to adopt sustainable practices to meet this need.

Program Success Monitored By Powell Gardens will conduct program evaluation surveys after each barn dinner and culinary event. This evaluation allows for participants to rate their satisfaction with the program, as well as provide anecdotal responses about their likelihood to attend future events and experiences they would like to see offered. Powell Gardens’ staff uses the responses from these program evaluations to shape future culinary programming.
Examples of Program Success Powell Gardens’ Heartland Harvest Garden served as the source of produce for 14 culinary events for adults, which included six barn dinners, the annual Wassail dinner, two cocktail and constellation events, a chef demonstration and luncheon, a butterfly brunch, a butterfly cocktail event, and two food-based celebrations—Fungi and Fermentation and Salsa y Salsa. All events, except for Fungi and Fermentation and Salsa y Salsa, were ticket-based and sold to capacity. The barn dinner attendance was as follows: May - 52 attendees (48% nonmembers), June - 64 attendees (64% nonmembers), July - 45 attendees (38% nonmembers), August - 47 attendees (55% nonmembers), September - 49 attendees (22% nonmembers), and October - 10 attendees (50% nonmembers).
CEO Comments
The Education Department has been rethinking and planning with amazing results. With a focus on audience engagement and diversification, the department has seen consistent growth in its offerings. Cross-disciplinary approaches are making an impact and the Gardens is seeing new visitors every day. A good example of this approach is the spring 2019 Frida Kahlo’s Garden exhibit through Mid-America Arts Alliance and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The exhibition is a smaller exhibit that was launched in the spring and has generated excitement. As part of the exhibit, “FridaFest” was hosted as an event to open the exhibit. The programming featured a Latin performer and Latin music, an artist working in the gallery, as well as food and other cultural elements. It was a sold-out event.
The volunteer program is growing steadily. The addition of two docent classes has increased capacity for K-12 programming and field trips. The Gardens now has 22 well-trained docents to provide youth and adult tours to our visitors with great results. This initiative started in 2017 and will continue every year to accommodate community needs.
Our membership program recently went through an audit with Merrigan and Co. The audit was very enlightening and has given us a great roadmap to set priorities and grow the program in the coming years.
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Ms. Tabitha Schmidt
Term Start Aug 2016
Experience Tabitha Schmidt joined Powell Gardens in the summer of 2016 as CEO and President. Mrs. Schmidt has over 20 years of experience in non-profit administration, specifically in cultural and educational institutions. She has held such positions as the Director of Cultural Arts at the Jewish Community Center, Executive Director of the Museum of Texas Tech University, Director of the School for Continuing and Professional Studies at the Kansas City Art Institute, Associate Educator of Adult Learning/Manager of Tour Programs at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Director of Instruction/Arts Partners Coordinator at Kansas City Young Audiences, and Student Activities Coordinator/Adjunct Art and Art History Faculty at Maple Woods Community College. Tabitha earned a B.A. in Art from Baker University and an M.A. in Art History from UMKC.
Former CEOs
David BismaraJan 1983 - Dec 1985
Barry YingerJan 1985 - Dec 1987
Senior Staff
Title Director of Education, Outreach and Interpretation
Paid Full-Time Staff 36
Paid Part-Time Staff 45
Paid Contractors 2
Volunteers 188
Retention Rate 63%
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Bi-Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Yes
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Powell Gardens maintains strong relationships with organizations throughout the region serving as a partner, advisor, educator, and donor.
- Powell Gardens manages and maintains the Kauffman Memorial Gardens, a 2-acre garden in the heart of Kansas City.
- Staff has relationships with the Missouri Prairie Foundation, the Kansas City Native Plant Initiative, Bridging the Gap’s Heartland Tree Alliance, and extension offices in both Missouri and Kansas at the Master Gardener and professional levels.
- The Gardens maintains relationships with teachers and administrators in school districts across the Kansas City area to provide meaningful field trip opportunities that reinforce grade-level science education standards.
- Powell Gardens provides free admission passes to patients of area hospice organizations and organizations hosting fundraisers.
- Beginning in 2018, the Gardens partnered with Missouri Organic Recycling to purchase responsibly-sourced mulch and compost at a discounted rate. The two organizations are working to develop joint programming to provide education on environmentally responsible practices and develop an internal composting program at Powell Gardens.
MemberAmerican Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta2008
MemberAmerican Public Gardens Association2010
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
CEO Comments
I started as the CEO of Powell Gardens in August of 2016. My predecessor essentially built the Gardens and had a wonderful 28-year career at the helm. My focus as the new CEO is the activation of the Gardens and looking for ways to grow visitorship, membership, support, and engagement. The Gardens has a full leadership team. Susan Mertz joined the Gardens as the Director of Horticulture as an interim in November 2018 and was hired full time in March 2019. She has over 20 years of experience in the horticulture industry and is highly regarded in the region in her discipline. Kristy Peterson, Director of Education, Interpretation, and Outreach, joined the Gardens in January of 2017. She has been working to clearly define the work of the education department as it relates to schools, adults, and families. She had a great career in the KC area with various arts organizations and has many connections that she is bringing to the Gardens via programs. Molly Kenney joined the Gardens in February 2018. As the new Director of Development, Molly is responsible for membership, grants, and the annual fund. She was well-trained at Pennington and Company, a full-service fundraising firm in Lawrence, Kansas.
Kalie Hudson was promoted in November of 2018 to the Director of Visitor Experience and Marketing. This newly created role focuses on objective #1 in the strategic plan and is merging the departments of visitor services, retail, food/drink, rentals, custodial, security, and trams. Emily Matteson also joined the Gardens in November of 2018 as the Chief Operations Officer. Emily is responsible for the finance, human resources, technology and other operational activities. She is currently overseeing the integration of a new accounting system.
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Dick Brown
Company Affiliation Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Term Jan 2018 to Jan 2020
Board Members
Mr. Perry AthaAtronic Alarms, Inc.
Ms. Beth BaderC2FO
Mr. Clay BartonBarton, Hall, & Schnieders, P.C.
Mrs. Lynne BrownAcademy of Integrated Arts Charter School
Mr. Dick BrownStowers Institute for Medical Research
Mr. Kevin ChildressMy Freightworld
Ms. Courtney EarnestCommunity Volunteer
Ms. Amy EckhoffGastinger Walker Architecture Firm
Mr. George M. GuastelloUnion Station
Mr. James (Jim) HouxRetired
Mr. Tom IsenbergWestern Extralite
Mr. Jay LongbottomRobert Family Holdings
Mr. Tom LovellRetired, Lee's Summit Parks and Recreation
Ms. Emily MattesonPowell Gardens
Mr. Mark McCaslandCommunity Volunteer
Mr. Larry McMullenHusch Blackwell Sanders
Mr. Nicholas K. PowellColt Energy
Mrs. Wendy J. Powell
Ms. Anne Riker Powell
Mrs. Tabitha C. SchmidtPowell Gardens
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 20
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 12
Female 8
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 80%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 94%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 33%
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Standing Committees
Board Development / Board Orientation
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
CEO Comments Powell Gardens is blessed to have a strong family legacy and a strong board of directors. After 31 years of serving as Kansas City’s botanical garden, the board is evolving. The board and CEO are focused on the various aspects of board development to make the board even stronger in the future. Identifying members from the region including the Kansas City area, Lee’s Summit/Eastern Jackson County and Warrensburg is a key area of importance for the Gardens. We are also working to diversify the industries represented on the Board.
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2019
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2019
Projected Revenue $3,886,846
Projected Expenses $3,886,846
Endowment Value $10,228,449
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage 5
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FY  2017, 2016, 2015, 2014: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990.  
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201720162015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions------
Investment Income, Net of Losses$337,721$208,367$124,230
Membership Dues----$0
Special Events$138,869$185,501$190,999
Revenue In-Kind$54,945$93,791$91,538
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$3,145,385$3,152,989$3,275,867
Administration Expense$502,611$797,834$700,454
Fundraising Expense$536,936$400,503$336,384
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.961.681.05
Program Expense/Total Expenses75%72%76%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$22,539,589$21,373,606$18,129,713
Current Assets$1,883,945$2,792,331$608,902
Long-Term Liabilities$143,660$15,000$32,000
Current Liabilities$402,787$458,391$595,979
Total Net Assets$21,993,142$20,900,215$17,501,734
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities4.686.091.02
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets1%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountPowell Family Foundation $421,630Powell Family Foundation Fund $715,724Individual Donor $1,771,322
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountSunderland Foundation $300,000Individual Donor $199,999Individual Donor $500,000
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountMcDonnell Foundation $100,000Lordi-Marker Family Foundation $120,983Friends of Powell Gardens $232,423
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Campaign Purpose The $18.5 million campaign supports capital projects to increase awareness and earned income ($3.5 million) and to grow the endowment ($15 million.)
Goal $18,500,000.00
Dates June 2015 to Dec 2019
Amount Raised to Date $10,507,374.00 as of Apr 2018
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years No
Organization Comments The Gardens, like many non-profits, always needs funding. We have a three-tiered approach to funding the Gardens’ operating needs: Endowment, Earned Income, and Contributions. The Gardens has grown considerably, so focusing on strategies that will grow the revenue streams is at the forefront of my mind, as well as the board of directors and senior leadership. Under objective #4, our focus is to shore up the Gardens’ key revenue streams to sustain it for future generations.
Other Documents
Powell Gardens Campaign Case Statement2016View
Organization Name Powell Gardens, Inc.
Address 1609 NW US Highway 50
Kingsville, MO 64061
Primary Phone (816) 697-2600
Contact Email info@powellgardens.org
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Tabitha Schmidt
Board Chair Mr. Dick Brown
Board Chair Company Affiliation Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Year of Incorporation 1988