Houston Botanical Garden’s Biggest Giveaway Ever Creates a Water Wall Party – Emily Clay Makes a Million Dollar Difference


OWhat better way to celebrate personal growth and happiness than writing a check for a million dollars at the Houston Botanic Garden? This, the largest single donation made to the 132-acre garden, was the generous contribution of philanthropist Emilie Clay. A celebration of this gift was held recently in her honor at the Garden Water Walls, which are now called the Emily Clay Water Walls.

Friends and family gathered for the noon party which included lunch from Silver Stone Events, the event presented as a special thank you to Clay for his contribution.

“We are all very grateful, Emily, for your donation to the Garden as a celebration of the capacity for growth and positive change,” Claudia Vassar, Houston Botanical Garden President and General Council, said in her toast to the gathering. “Your donation has truly and positively changed us.”

She went on to quote an ancient Greek proverb: “A society grows when elders plant trees in whose shade they know they will never sit.”

At the end of the toast, Clay’s mother Angie Eckerman and her children Katherine and Will Claypresented a papaya plant in commemoration of the day.

It’s the same Emily Clay who, along with then-husband Robert Clay, donated $10 million for the Eastern Glades at Memorial Park in 2018.

Andria & Brian Francis, Mary & at Luncheon Celebrating Emily Clay’s Million Dollar Donation to the Houston Botanic Garden. (Photo by Hung L. Truong Photography)

Guitarist Marc Garvin provided sing-along tunes as guests dined in front of the water walls which are located in the center of the garden where guests had the opportunity to explore the plants in the cultivated gardens and natural ecosystems of the Gulf Coast and of the whole world. Several weeks prior, the garden had been the site of a young professionals event which also opened the garden up to a host of fans.

PC seen: Chairman of the Houston Botanical Garden Board of Trustees Jim Reeder, Lesley and Kevin Lilly, Stacey Christ, Meredith Lamberton, Sandra and Randy Stavinoha, Mary and Stephen Schneidau, Bill Schneidau, Sister Mary Jane Meyer, Sister Mary Brenda, Louis Mason, Laura Weeks, and Laura Wheels, Deputy Director of Development HBG.


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