Finding Their Niche

The Garden Club of Indian River County celebrates the 25th year of its annual ornament fundraiser.
The 2016 ornament, Royal Palm Pointe Park

Twenty-five years ago, Nat Jackson received a gift that would change the future of the Garden Club of Indian River County. It was an ornament from the Garden Club of Virginia, and instead of hanging it on the tree she took it straight to her club president, Mary Graves. Jackson thought their club could design their own ornaments and sell them as a fundraiser.

Graves took the idea to the board; they approved it and elected Jackson chairperson of the new ornament committee. Now she just needed an artist. Another member, Arun Wijetilleke, was perfect for the job. “I didn’t think it was going to take off like this,” says Wijetilleke, who today is putting the finishing touches on the club’s 2016 ornament, which features Royal Palm Pointe. This year the club will sell about 2,200 ornaments through 18 local vendors, raising money for scholarships, other nonprofits and community projects.

“It’s a collectible at this point,” says Jackson. “And that’s what we hoped in the beginning that it would be. That first year as chairman, my heart was in my throat all the time because we had to put money down to have these things made for us and I thought, ‘Will they sell?’ But they did.”

Categories: Features