Selby Gardens to receive $2.5-million bequest from estate of long-time volunteer

Evelyn Mink worked for 25 years in Welcome Center at downtown Sarasota site

For 25 years, Evelyn Mink volunteered in the Welcome Center at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ downtown Sarasota campus. Now, an estate gift that she left to Selby Gardens “will create a special place for volunteers like her as part of Phase One of Selby Gardens’ Master Plan,” Selby Gardens has announced.

Selby Gardens will receive approximately $2.5 million through the Evelyn S. Mink Charitable Trust, a news release explains. “The gift will be used to support Phase One construction of the Master Plan,” the release adds, and the Evelyn S. Mink Volunteer Suite will be a memorial to Mink in the new Plant Research Center that is part of the project. “When the building opens next year,” the release says, “the suite named for Mrs. Mink will house volunteer workstations, a lounge area, and the office of the volunteer coordinator.”

Mink contributed almost 5,000 hours of service to Selby Gardens over the 25 years she was a volunteer, Vera Neumann-Wood, Selby Gardens’ volunteer coordinator, noted in the release. “Until very recently, you could see her driving onto the downtown Sarasota campus in her Thunderbird convertible!” Neumann-Wood added.

“Mink’s last day of volunteering at Selby Gardens was in March 2020, just before the Gardens had to temporarily close to visitors for the COVID-19 pandemic,” the release points out. That was about two months before Mink’s 100th birthday, the release says. “Mink passed away in June 2021 at 101.”

“Evelyn Mink’s dedicated service and generous philanthropy are an inspiration and, really, part of a legacy here at Selby Gardens,” said Jennifer O. Rominiecki, president and CEO of Selby Gardens, in the release. “Both of our campuses were established by forward-thinking women of their time, whose influence continues to enrich our community many decades later,” Rominiecki added, referring to Historic Spanish Point, as well as the downtown Sarasota site.

“When volunteers see Mrs. Mink’s name on their dedicated space in our new facilities,” Rominiecki continued in the release, “they’ll know she was a special woman who made Selby Gardens an even better place for those who came after her.”

With Mink’s gift, Selby Gardens has raised more than $53 million for the overall Master Plan, including about $49 million specifically earmarked for Phase One construction, the release explains.

“We only have $2.6 million left to reach our fundraising goal for Phase One construction,” said Rominiecki. To meet that goal, several Selby Gardens supporters have issued a Capping Challenge for Phase One, matching every gift dollar-for-dollar until the milestone is reached, the release points out.

For more information, visit Selby Gardens’ website.