Friends of the National Arboretum

Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA) was founded in 1982 as an independent 501(c)(3). FONA serves as the primary private partner of the U.S National Arboretum in Washington, DC. We preserve and enhance this vibrant public space and facilitate experiential programs that instill a love of plants, nature, and the outdoors in all who visit the Arboretum. We also promote the overarching research and education mission of the Arboretum.

Since its beginning, FONA has raised funds for projects around the Arboretum like the Capitol Columns, Flowering Tree Walk, and Springhouse Run stream restoration. FONA also supports the Arboretum’s research, plant explorations, and collections maintenance.

Washington Youth Garden

Washington Youth Garden (WYG) is a one-acre fruit and vegetable garden on the grounds of the National Arboretum. It began in 1971 as part of a city initiative to encourage children living in under-resourced neighborhoods to cultivate and grow their own food. Today, WYG is a destination for garden-based education and nature play, and is an inviting place for the DC community to learn and grow together.



As the National Arboretum’s primary private partner, FONA supports the Arboretum by:

  • Facilitating youth education programs and public events that connect the community with nature, science, health, and wellness.
  • Communicating on behalf of the Arboretum through weekly publications, a magazine, and social media.
  • Advocating on behalf of the Arboretum with city and federal officials and promoting strong buy-in from USDA leadership and partners.
  • Collaborating with the Arboretum on infrastructure projects and operations.
  • Providing discretionary funding for Arboretum operations and interns through private donations and venue rental revenue.


FONA’s programs nurture a love of plants, nature, and the outdoors for the DC community and all who visit the National Arboretum. FONA’s programs include the Washington Youth Garden, School Garden Support Program, Green Ambassador Program, and Visitor & Volunteer Engagement Program. Our core values are at the heart of all of our programs.


Green Ambassadors honed their gardening, leadership, and communication skills


DC Title 1 school students engaged in hands-on garden education


people attended community events that brought $145K+ in revenue to local businesses



A connection to the land fosters the mental, physical, and spiritual wellness of individuals, communities, and the planet.


Experiential learning encourages creativity, strengthens problem-solving skills, and inspires lifelong curiosity and engagement.


The whole is greater than the sum of its parts: we are stronger and more impactful when we work collaboratively with our fellow team members, other organizations, and the communities we serve.


We better meet the needs of our communities by strategically responding to our changing world.


We acknowledge the history and harms of systemic racism and recognize our duty to take action to support the reconnection of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) to the land.


Amplifying underrepresented voices by creating space for constructive conversations and actions ensures universal access to the Arboretum and its resources.


Sharing joy through our work connects us with others and creates positive change.


Craven Rand staff photo

Craven Rand

Executive Director

Susan Chapin staff photo

Susan Chapin

Director of Operations

Caryn Sykes staff photo

Caryn Sykes


Cathy Kerkam staff photo

Cathy Kerkam

Director of Philanthropy and Communications

Bea Trapasso Dermer staff photo

Beatrice Trapasso Dermer

Director of Foundation and Government Relations

Anne McGarvey staff photo

Anne McGarvey

Marketing & Communications Manager

Claire Alrich staff photo

Claire Alrich

Development Officer

Claire Broderick staff photo

Claire Broderick

Membership Program Manager

Brianne Studer staff photo

Brianne Studer

Director of Programs

Allie Arnold staff photo

Allie Arnold

School Garden Program Manager

Ashley Rattanawan staff photo

Ashley Rattanawan

School Garden Program Manager

Christin Riddick staff photo

Christin Riddick

Green Ambassador Program Manager

Emilia Kawashima staff photo

Emilia Kawashima

Garden Manager

Xavier Bure staff photo

Xavier Bure Quijano

Garden Manager

Caroline Brown staff photo

Caroline Brown

School Garden Support Educator

Cheryl Wojnar staff photo

Cherri Wojnar

Garden Educator

Erin Close staff photo

Erin Close

Demonstration Garden Assistant

Mariyah Whitle staff photo

Mariyah Whitley

Garden Assistant Coordinator

Max Skoglund

Youth Programs Educator

Breyonna Evans

Venue Rentals Coordinators

Stephanie Mui

Venue Rentals Coordinators


Michael Stevens, Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District
Board Chair

Martha Van Dale, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
Vice Chair

Virginia Kromm, Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History Treasurer

John Dillard, Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz P.C

Robert Bartlett Jr., The F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Co.
Mark Buscaino, Casey Trees
Zandra Chestnut, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
John Cooney, Venable LLP, retired
Elizabeth M. Dugan, MD, Medstar Georgetown University Hospital
Chandler Goule, National Association of Wheat Growers
Jennifer Hatcher, Food Marketing Institute
Anne MacMillan, Invariant, Food and Agriculture Practice
Bill Matuszeski, Chesapeake Bay and Anacostia Citizens Advisory Committees
Eric Michael, Occasions Caterers, retired
Vaughn Perry, Building Bridges Across the River
Melissa Pflieger
Lucy S. Rhame
Catherine Robbins, Vault Consulting
Keith Sellars
Barbara Shea, Founding President, Casey Trees
Lou Slade, Gorove Slade Associates
Peggy Strand, Venable LLP, retired
Amy Titus, Deloitte
Nzinga Tull, Jackson and Tull
Tuckie Westfall, KraftHeinz, Director of Federal Government Affairs, retired


Our David Fairchild Society commemorates the work of David Fairchild, who spent his life exploring the world, collecting plants, and sharing them throughout America and the world. He brought us many plants and foods that are staples in American culture, such as ornamental cherry trees and Meyer lemons.  Learn more on our Support page.

Donor list as of June 30, 2023.

David Fairchild $50,000+

Robert and Kate Bartlett

Azalea $25,000

Betty and Alex Boyle
Lynne H. Church
Linda and John Derrick
Lucy S. Rhame

Boxwood $10,000

Louisa Copeland Duemling
Elizabeth M. Dugan
Colien Hefferan and Hollis Summers
Eric Michael and Craig Kruger
Barbara and James Shea
Margaret Strand
Tara Varghese
Amy A. Titus
Tuckie and Don Westfall
Ken and Dorothy Woodcock

Magnolia $5,000

Luanne Adams and Murrell Smith
Karen and Dan DuVal
Miriam Gitler
Kathryn and Michael Hanley
Lynne and Joseph Horning
Liza and Andrew Labadie
Rafael V. Lopez and Linda I. Marks
Bill Matuszeski and Mary Procter
Tuuli Mooney-Schindler
Peter and Jainel Morris
Nancy and Robert Shoemaker
Beth Wehrle

Crapemyrtle $2,500

Barry L. Abel
Harold Belcher
Deborah E. Bowles and Derik Burgess
Bonnie and Louis Cohen
John F. Cooney
Sally Donner and Kenneth Briers
Charles and Linda Findlay
Frank Guzzetta and Paul Manville
Sheldon and Audrey Katz
Marcel C. LaFollette and Jeffrey K. Stine
John and Jean Lange
Anne MacMillan and Tim Bass
Kevin and Marla McIntosh
Anita Menghetti
Catherine Casey Nottingham
Jacqueline E. Pechmann
John and Melissa Pflieger
Craven Rand
Lauren Richardson
Michael G. Stevens

Holly $1,200

Bentley Andrews
Suzy Bakshian and Vinny Chiappinelli
Marion S. Ballard
Suzie and Rich Bissell
Wendy Blair
Nancy and John Bryson
Laura and Guy Cecala
Diana Clagett
Eli Cohen
Jeanne Connelly and Marty Scherr
Martha Van Dale
Valerie Eisenberg
Gail Charnley Elliott
Leanna and Thomas Fenske
Joseph and Agatha Francis
Madeleine Golde and Norman Oslik
Barbara W. Gould
Chandler Goule
Bean Granger
C. A. Greene
Lindsay Shea Hardesty
Corbin C. Harwood
Jennifer and Christopher Hatcher
Sandy Hecker
Sherrill Houghton
Betsy and Bob Huffman
James Hughes
William Inglee and Jane Madden
Virginia Kromm and Joe Shultz
Annetta H. Kushner
John C. MacMillan, Jr. and Emily Stopa
Sara Mills Mazie
Leslie McKay
David and Rose Mollitor
Mary Eugenia and Theodore Myer
Georgia Chafee Nassikas
Shirley and Frank Nicolai
Elizabeth L. Nottingham
Maureen Orth
Heather Paradise
Natalia Petrie
Karen Rand
Pamela Raymont-Simpson and Charles J. Simpson, Jr.
Bill and Donna Roberts
June Rowe
Kathy Sawyer
Liz Shriver and Jon Blake
Louis and Nancy Slade
Kimberly and John Snedden
Luise Strauss
Edward Szrom and John Geiger
Allison Taylor and Ryan Mukherjee
Robert and Ann Thompson
Jay and Jamie Vroom
John and Val Wheeler
Elsa B. Williams
Helena Zinkham

Supporter list as of December 31, 2023.

With appreciation to those who have made a provision in their estate planning for FONA:

Anonymous (12)
Harold Belcher
Daragh Cassidy
Regina Chua
Lynne H. Church
Ann Fessenden Clymer†
John F. Cooney
Robert C. Daniels, Jr. & Richard R. Beman, Jr.
Frances Duttkin†
Edith N. K. Meyer†
Judith A. Hecht
Mandy Hursen
Dorothy Kidder†
Herman W. Koch & Rosalie Martin Koch†
Frederick G. Meyer†
Susan H. Robeson†
Michael G. Stevens


Thank you to the following foundations and government partners who support FONA’s mission and programs, in particular the Washington Youth Garden.

Donor list as of February 1, 2023.


Capitol Hill Community Foundation
Chaffin Luhana Foundation
Charles H. Miller Charitable Foundation
Congressional Sports for Charity
Corina Higginson Trust
DECK Foundation
Dimick Foundation
Hattie M. Strong Foundation
International Paper Foundation
Jean T. and Heyward G. Pelham Foundation
Kimley-Horn Foundation
Mars Foundation
Matz Family Foundation
Nora Roberts Foundation
Pepco/Sustainable Maryland
Philip L. Graham Fund
Rosenbaum Family Foundation
Temkin Family Foundation
The Burpee Foundation
The Herb Block Foundation
The Kay Family Foundation
The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
The Three Friends Fund
Venable Foundation
William H. Donner Foundation, Inc.


DC Department of Health
DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education
Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program
U.S. Department of Agriculture
University of the District of Columbia

Thank you to all the supporters for the 27th Annual Dinner Under the Stars, to be held on September 19th, 2023! Interested in sponsoring or attending this event? Learn more at our Dinner page.

Sponsor list as of September 10, 2023

Scarlet Oak $50,000

Robert and Kate Bartlett/Bartlett Tree Experts

bartlett tree experts logo

American Elm $15,000

corn refiners association logo
nutrien logo

Lacebark Pine $10,000

National Confectioners Association
Lisa and Chris Smith

Red Maple $5,500

CropLife America
Farm Credit
FGS Global Food Team
FMI — The Food Industry Association
Anne MacMillan/Invariant
National Association of Wheat Growers

Flowering Cherry $3,500

Agri-Pulse Communications
American Seed Trade Association
Congressional Federal Credit Union
Marcel C. LaFollette and Jeffrey K. Stine
Lloyd E. Mitchell Foundation
National Association of Conservation Districts
Nancy and Robert Shoemaker
Michael G. Stevens
Linda A. Strachan
Amy A. Titus
Torrey Advisory Group
U.S. Beet Sugar Association
USA Rice Federation
Tuckie and Don Westfall
W.S. Jenks/Becky and Jerry Siegel

Flowering Dogwood $1,200

Laura and Guy Cecala
North American Millers’ Association
Nzinga Tull
Dottie and Ken Woodcock

In-Kind Donors

Right Proper Brewing Company Logo


us national arboretum logo
the national bonsai foundation logo
the herb society of america logo

Potomac Unit

national capitol area garden clubs logo