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Holden Forests & Gardens’ President & CEO Jill Koski is Stepping Down

Tue., Sep. 6, 2022

Board of Directors will launch a national search for the next CEO to lead one of the largest public gardens in the country

(Cleveland) September 6, 2022 – Holden Forests & Gardens, the combined entity of the Holden Arboretum and the Cleveland Botanical Garden today announced that Jill C. Koski, president and CEO, will be leaving after five successful years leading the nonprofit organization devoted to celebrating and studying Northeast Ohio’s trees, plants and broader natural world.

“Upon the successful integration of the Holden Arboretum and the Cleveland Botanical Garden; leading the development of a strategic plan, vision and comprehensive site plan; Jill’s guidance leaves the organization well-poised for continued momentum, growth and success with a talented staff team that will further advance the mission-critical work of the organization,” said Board Chair Tom Anderson.

Koski is returning home to Chicago to be closer to family while continuing her leadership in the field of public gardens and arboreta as the newly appointed President and CEO of The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL., one of the largest arboreta in the world. Her last day will be October 28, 2022.

“My tenure at Holden Forests & Gardens has been a great privilege,” said Jill Koski, president and CEO. “I am proud of the partnership with a wonderful staff team and the broader community. It has been an exceptional experience to be a part of Northeast Ohio’s commitment to ensuring the health and vitality of the community through the appreciation of plants, trees and the natural world around us.”

The Holden Forests & Gardens Board of Directors will launch a national search to fill this key leadership role of President and CEO for one of the largest public gardens in the country.

Interim leadership will be provided by Joel Alpern, chief of education and guest experience and deputy director, and Kathy Heflin, treasurer and chief financial officer and deputy director, until a successor is named.

Holden Forests & Gardens’ mission is to connect people with the wonder, beauty and value of tree and plants for healthy communities. Holden has become increasingly recognized and lauded for its living collections and groundbreaking work in science and conservation. As such, the organization recently issued a statement about the effects of climate change on the natural world and what Northeast Ohioans can do – plant a tree.

The organization is in the best shape in its history, with a healthy financial position with increased philanthropic and earned revenue programs, substantially increased community partnerships and impact, expanded science and conservation work with international reach, and a growing audience of visitors and members to both campuses. The recently launched People for Trees™ campaign is on track to have 15,000 trees planted and cared for in partnership with residents of Northeast Ohio by 2025. The arboretum and botanical garden will celebrate 100-year anniversaries in 2030.


About Holden Forests & Gardens
Holden Forests & Gardens is made up of two of Northeast Ohio’s most important environmental and cultural institutions — the Holden Arboretum and Cleveland Botanical Garden — whose mission is to connect people with the wonder, beauty, and value of trees and plants, to inspire action for healthy communities. One of the largest public gardens in the country, Holden Forests & Gardens has more than 17,000 member households and an annual attendance of more 350,000 for whom we strive to provide inspirational and educational visitor experiences. For more information, visit holdenfg.org.

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