Major Gifts

Major gifts are critical for realizing the Arboretum's bright future, whether they finance construction of an entire building, support educational programs or fund the upkeep of our spectacular gardens. Generous supporters have contributed to the Arboretum and made an incredible impact on the institution. The buildings, gardens and programs they fund will be a testament to that fact for many years to come.

To discuss opportunities for major giving, contact the Director of Development Frank Molek at 612-301-1237 or 




Major Gift: Tashjian Family

Tashjian Bee Center at the Arboretum

Dec. 18, 2013--Alice Tashjian grew up in her father’s garden in upstate New York, with wonderful memories of watching the gentle bees dance as they pollinated flowers. Years later, when she and her husband Harry moved their family to Minnesota, she vowed to raise her own children in a backyard filled with flowers. Son Joe Tashjian remembers tending his mother’s three formal gardens, a rock garden and one with wildflowers, attracting hummingbirds, cardinals and insects, especially honeybees.

When the Tashjians’ learned of the crisis facing honeybees, their passion for gardens blossomed into a generous gift to establish an outreach center about bees at the Arboretum. Alice became concerned after attending an Arboretum workshop about the crisis facilitated by U of M honeybee expert Marla Spivak.

Professional beekeepers across the country are worried about the mysterious demise of entire colonies of bees. Why they are disappearing is still being investigated, but one fact is certain: a threat to honeybees is a threat to fully one-third of the world’s food supply.

After Harry passed away, Alice and Joe decided to honor his memory with a transformative ($2 million) gift to establish the Tashjian Bee Center at the Arboretum. Joe, now in his second year as a member of the Arboretum Foundation’s board of trustees, states. “We hope the Center will raise awareness and support of Marla’s

research. Dad would have loved it.”

“What an important role the bee center will play in telling the story of bees and their role in nature,” said Arboretum Director Dr. Ed Schneider. “Its location near the iconic Red Barn will make that area accessible to visitors. The Tashjians’ generous support is a marvelous expression of their love of gardens and learning.” The bee center opening is planned for 2015.

Alice added. “We want future generations to understand the importance of bees, and find ways to protect them. We want to make a difference.”

Except from Legacy magazine article by Mary Winstead, University of Minnesota Foundation