Powell Gardens, Inc.
1609 NW US Highway 50
Kingsville MO 64061
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 697-2600
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 Ms. Jeanie Latz
Board Chair Company Affiliation
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1988
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

As the area's major botanical garden, Powell Gardens is a uniquely Kansas City institution that offers much to explore and discover. Set on 970 acres, highlights include the Heartland Harvest Garden, the nation’s largest edible; the Island Garden with 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 known for its contemporary architecture by Fay Jones and Maurice Jennings, now Jennings and Jennings Architects. Powell Gardens currently has the largest collection of structures by the firm, examples of organic architecture reflecting Jones' early-career relationship with Frank Lloyd Wright.
In 1948, George E. Powell, Sr., a prominent Kansas City businessman, acquired a tract of land that was once a working dairy farm. He and his son, George Powell Jr., owned Yellow Transit Freight Lines, now Yellow Roadway.
In 1969, in keeping with his stewardship philosophy, Mr. Powell donated the 640-acre farm to the Kansas City Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. It was used as a regional camp until 1984 when, in partnership with the University of Missouri's School, the Powell Family Foundation began developing a horticultural and natural resource facility.
Powell Center retained a leading U.S. consulting firm for botanical gardens that confirmed the site would be ideal as a botanical garden. In 1988, official ties with the University of Missouri ended and Powell Gardens Inc. was established as a nonprofit.
Tabitha Schmidt began as the new CEO/President in August of 2016.  Mrs. Schmidt brings 20+ years of experience in cultural organizations, informal education and non-profit administration to the Gardens and is focused on growing the reach and impact of Powell Gardens in the region.
Tabitha and the staff are supported by a 20-member Board of Directors and more than 200 volunteers who support staff at the Gardens year-round.
Impact Statement

Powell Gardens fulfills its mission of creating an experience that embraces the Midwest's spirit of place and inspires an appreciation for the importance of plants in our lives through a variety of programs, activities and research projects. 

In 2016, Powell Gardens’ top accomplishments were:  
  • Writing a new Strategic Plant for 2017-2019 focusing on five key priorities:  Provide High Quality, Enjoyable Visitor Experiences; Become the Region's Leader in Botanical Education; Increase Awareness and Recognition as a Premier Botanical Garden; Establish Powell Gardens as a Critical Community Partner; and Ensure Organizational Health and Sustainability
  • Attracting record –setting crowds for GLOW:  A Jack-O-Lantern Festival, a trail of scenes created with more than 700 pumpkins reaching almost 10,000 visitors in two nights.
  • Helping to grow the Kansas City Native Plant Initiative and bringing awareness to this important ecological issue.
  • Contracted with a technology company to build a new public website and integrate our back office database related to membership, donors, registrations, ticketing, communication and volunteers to better serve and understand our visitors and impact on the community.
  • More than 4,100 students participated in field trip programs at the Gardens, many utilizing the Heartland Harvest Garden and Fun Food Farms. 
Powell Gardens' strategic goals are:   
  • To broaden and diversify our funding base in order to ensure stability and continuity of funding so that we will always be able to deliver quality experiences.
  • To offer relevant, high quality experiences at the Gardens that broaden the appeal as Kansas City’s botanical garden.
  • To increase awareness of and recognition for Powell Gardens as the premier botanical garden in the region.
  • To become a critical community partner through strategic collaborations that solidify our position as a valued Kansas City entity.
Needs Statement

Powell Gardens is committed to securing its future by increasing awareness of the Gardens, enhancing income opportunities and growing its endowment through the Strengthen Today to Ensure the Future: The Campaign for Powell Gardens as well as continuing its fabulous display gardens, educational and conservation programs, and events and festivals.   

  • Increase the Powell Gardens Endowment from $6 million to $21 million: With a generous matching gift of $7.5 million from the Powell Family Foundation, Powell Gardens will raise $7.5 million in new gifts for the endowment.
  • Create a new Entrance Garden located directly on US Hwy 50, west of the current entrance, to provide  those traveling Hwy 50 a better understanding of the 970-acre botanical garden just off the highway. The new Garden Entrance and highway crossover will cost about $2.75 million
  • With the writing of the new strategic plan, the Gardens is committed to addressing accessibility issues in the Gardens for our visitors such as motorized scooters, golf cart tours and other amenities to make the experience more comfortable.  
  • Growing our volunteer/docent program into an impactful core of deeply-connected and well-trained volunteers to support the Gardens if of the highest priority.  Additionally, new educational programs and ideas that specifically diversify our audience are planned for the future.
  • The Gardens is focused on creating and interpretive plan that will best help all visitors understand and interact with the space.  Various vehicles for delivery include signage, guides, volunteers and technology are planned for the future.
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
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement

Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s Botanical Garden, provides to the community and surrounding region an aesthetic, cultural, and ecological learning environment demonstrating the importance of plants to the well-being of humanity. Steeped in history and rich with tradition, the Gardens was established in the late 1980’s on 970 acres of lush, rolling hills and windswept meadows offering breathtaking display gardens, renown architecture, nature trails and one of the nation’s largest edible gardens.

Powell Gardens provides a wealth of opportunities for adults, families and school children to learn in an inspiring setting. More than 100,000 individuals visit the Gardens annually, from master gardeners trained in horticulture to young children learning the origin of food. Classes, programs, events, and festivals are available year-round to educate and inspire.

A living museum with a collection of more than 20,000 documented plants, Powell Gardens is nationally recognized for its collection of conifers and magnolias, but is best known for the Heartland Harvest Garden which is a living laboratory for more than 2000 types of food. Providing research and education, the Garden serves as a reference center for plant identification, propagating, and exploration. The Garden’s Legacy Tree Program ensures the future of the Kansas City area’s magnificent, native, and historic champion trees.

Ongoing financial support subsidizes admission costs to the Gardens and provides the opportunity for thousands of school children to visit the Gardens annually. With continued support, Powell Gardens is committed to serving the community through research and education about the plant kingdom fostering environmental sustainability and promoting knowledge and learning about the importance of plants in the world in which we live.

Description Powell Gardens education staff are currently revising curriculum to launch in January 2018 to enhance and deepen K-12 teacher and student experiences at the Gardens. We currently offer one hour-tour guided garden experiences that enfold hands-on activities for varied age levels and we offer our signature three-hour curricular program for grades three to five, Good to Grow. Most of the K-12 structured experiences we offer enfold aspects of the Heartland Harvest Garden and are taught in the Education Building and surrounding Education Garden. Common topics enfolded in our current offerings include: pollination and the role of pollinators related to the landscape and food we eat; introductory plant science (parts of a part and plant reproduction--the seed to plate experience); and garden sensory and observation experiences. To help offset the cost of these educational offerings and to better reach students and educators regardless of their ability to pay, Powell Gardens places an emphasis on securing gifts and sponsors to underwrite the cost of maintaining the gardens, the cost of all education program supplies and materials, the cost of education staffing and garden staffing the Harvest Garden, and transportation costs for schools to get to and from the Powell Gardens to attend our programs.Funding for ongoing improvement, assessment, and teacher support is also an area for which we seek support as we refine our education offerings.
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
Between January-June 2017, we served 2,022 K-12 students through our revised one-hour tour experiences and the Good to Grow program. All students had focused experiences in the Powell Gardens Heartland Harvest Garden and hands-on components in our education garden and building. This number of students served in six month's time surpasses the amount of youth participating in field trips in the Heartland Harvest Garden in 2015 annually (1900 students). We have a waiting list for Good to Grow bookings for fall of 2017 between September and November.
With the addition of a formal docent program (beginning fall of 2017) and revised curriculum for all K-12 programs offered we will improve and strengthen relationships with schools and teachers and be able to reach more students through having more extended staff to assist with teaching in the gardens. 
Long-Term Success
The primary goal of the longstanding program Good to Grow is to teach our next generation to make wise and deliberate choices about the foods they eat, and to understand how food is grown, and where it comes from. Through this program, children learn how to grow and prepare fresh, healthy foods and combine understanding of a plant's life cycle. The measurable objectives of Good to Grow include: students will understand where fresh food comes from; students will learn about the necessary environmental conditions needed to grow a plant from see to harvest; students will learn about the reproductive parts of a plant and the role of pollinators in the cycle of life; students will be able to define and name several pollinators; students will understand the difference between whole and processed foods; students will learn how to prepare one of two types of produce after harvest; students will learn how to safely use kitchen tools and properly care for them; students will be introduced to one or two things that can be grown in a home garden or prepared at home in a kitchen to teach their families.
Program Success Monitored By
We know that Good to Grow is a beneficial program for students and fits well within the K-12 curriculum, and solidly relates to state science standards.
We currently use a paper assessment tool with the Good to Grow program that asks students five simple questions. We are revising however our indicators of success and improving this assessment tool to better capture and demonstrate what students have learned after participating in this program--this will more accurately reflect meaningful impact.
By comparing pre- survey to post survey results, we will demonstrate there will be an increase in students' ability to identify how plant reproduction benefits humans and an increase in the number of students who can accurately describe how pollination occurs. As a result of participating in this program, More than 50% will also indicate that they learned something new he/she could teach someone at home. More than 50% will demonstrate an increased understanding of how to grow one type of produce or raise a plant at home.
Examples of Program Success A Raytown School teacher wrote: “Powell Gardens is a place where students can go and get hands on experience to learn about plants in a way that cannot be done in the classroom. Our third graders have had the opportunity to attend a Powell Gardens’ field trip the last several years thanks to funding provided by gifts to Powell Gardens. The staff has been fabulous every year we have been. We participated in the Good to Grow program where our students get a plant to take home, learn about green exercise, taste fresh veggies they wouldn’t normally try, learn about healthy choices and create a smoothie. They take the smoothie recipe to share with their family. It is a truly wonderful experience for our students. Going to Powell Gardens is something our students cannot experience. They don’t just go with their family on a weekend. Many of our students do not leave Raytown. Our teachers cannot recreate the experience they get at Powell Gardens.”
CEO Comments
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Ms. Tabitha Schmidt
Term Start Aug 2016
Compensation $100,001 - $125,000
Experience Mrs. Schmidt has over 20 years of experience in non-profit administration specifically in cultural and educational institutions.  Her Kansas City experience includes work at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City Young Audiences, Maple Woods Community College and the Jewish Community Center.  Mrs. Schmidt was the Interim Executive Director of the Museum of Texas Tech University. 
Co-CEO/Executive Director
Term Start 0
Compensation Last Year
Former CEOs
David Bismara Jan 1983 - Dec 1985
Barry Yinger Jan 1985 - Dec 1987
Senior Staff
Title Chief Financial Officer
Experience/Biography Sara was employed by BKD and was our auditor prior to assuming the role of CFO.
Title Director of Advancement and Communications
Title Director of Education, Outreach and Interpretation
Paid Full-Time Staff 35
Paid Part-Time Staff 75
Volunteers 200
Paid Contractors 1
Retention Rate 85%
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 has strong relationships with organizations throughout the region serving as a partner, advisor, educator and donor. As a recognized leader in display gardens, Powell Gardens manages and maintains with the Kauffman Memorial Gardens, a 2-acre garden in the heart of Kansas City.  The Gardens staff also has relationships with the Missouri Prairie Foundation, the Kansas City Native Plant Initiative and the extension office in Missouri and Kansas at the Master Gardener and professional levels. Staff members also maintain relationships with teachers and administrators in school districts in the greater Kansas City area to provide appropriate field trip opportunities. Several nonprofit organizations also glean crops from the Heartland Harvest Garden and the High Tunnel project to provide food for Harvesters and other food pantries. Powell Gardens is also a strong supporter of other nonprofits providing free admission to patients of area hospice organizations and free admission passes to organizations hosting fundraisers. The Friends of Powell Gardens sponsors programs in conjunction with the Kansas City Rose Society and the Kansas City Public Library.

MemberAmerican Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta2008
MemberAmerican Public Gardens Association2010
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
CEO Comments

Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Jeanie Latz
Term Jan 2016 to Jan 2018
Board Members
Mr. Perry Atha Atronic Alarms, Inc.
Ms. Beth Bader VML
Mr. Clay Barton Barton, Hall, & Schnieders, P.C.
Mrs. Lynne Brown Community Volunteer
Mr. Dick Brown Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Mr. Kevin Childress My Freightworld
Mr. Carl Chinnery Chinnery Evans and Nail
Ms. Courtney Earnest Community Volunteer
Mr. George M. Guastello Union Station
Mr. James (Jim) Houx Retired
Mr. Tom Isenberg Western Extralite
Mrs. Jeanie Latz MidCap Advisors, LLC
Mr. Jay Longbottom Robert Family Holdings
Mr. Mark McCasland Community Volunteer
Mr. Larry McMullen Husch Blackwell Sanders
Ms. Diane Phillips Commerce Bank
Mr. Nicholas K. Powell Colt Energy
Mrs. Wendy J. Powell
Mrs. Tabitha C. Schmidt Powell Gardens
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 19
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 12
Female 7
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 75%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
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
Board member selection is based on a matrix that allows us to review the strengths and weaknesses of our present board. New members are selected to help fill those voids. This past year our focus was on individuals in the marketing/advertising and corporate worlds and those with strengths in fund raising; at the same time we tried to be mindful of our need for all types of diversity.
Board members listed as “Additional Board” on this profile represent the board of directors for Friends of Powell Gardens, Inc., a separate supporting membership organization that exists solely to support Powell Gardens, Inc. In addition to providing valuable in-kind volunteer support, this board cultivates a membership base of 3,600+ member households.
The Friends of Powell Gardens board is very active and tends to be a training ground for future members of the Powell Gardens, Inc. governing board. While diversity is always a major concern when recruiting board members for both boards, currently there is more cultural diversity on the Friends of Powell Gardens board. This changes from year to year as the makeup shifts. This fact does not show up in the demographic information collected by this profile.
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2017
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2017
Projected Revenue $3,133,522
Projected Expenses $3,075,755
Endowment Value $6,500,000
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage 5
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FY 2015, 2014, 2013: 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 Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions------
Investment Income, Net of Losses$124,230$178,048$740,288
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$190,999$245,753$233,635
Revenue In-Kind$91,538$298,722$27,161
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$3,275,867$3,445,695$3,448,874
Administration Expense$700,454$677,175$586,295
Fundraising Expense$336,384$150,599$156,656
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.051.590.91
Program Expense/Total Expenses76%81%82%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue11%3%7%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$18,129,713$17,988,509$15,924,290
Current Assets$608,902$483,036$3,652,309
Long-Term Liabilities$32,000$55,837$455,945
Current Liabilities$595,979$478,344$527,059
Total Net Assets$17,501,734$17,454,328$14,941,286
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.021.016.93
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%3%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountIndividual Donor $1,771,322 -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountIndividual Donor $500,000 -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFriends 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 Sept 2018
Amount Raised to Date $5,500,000.00 as of Apr 2016
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years No
Organization Comments
Powell Gardens continues to benefit from the generosity of the Greater Kansas City community whose contributions through membership and philanthropy accounted for approximately 65% of the Gardens' annual operating budget in 2013. This annual support allows Powell Gardens to focus resources and attention on the maintenance of the gardens and program delivery.

Additionally, Powell Gardens and its leadership has begun to rethink and rework its business plan for a successful future. Leadership staff have worked diligently to create a diversified revenue mix for the Gardens, which in addition to philanthropic support includes earned income and admissions. This diversified portfolio provides the Gardens with a solid foundation with which it operations on each year.

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 Ms. Jeanie Latz
Year of Incorporation 1988