The Queens Botanical Garden received an $8 million donation from the Joan N. and Norman Bluestone Foundation on Tuesday, the largest private one in its history.
The funds will be put toward developing and continuing a number of the garden’s environmental education programs, which will be held at its upcoming new, $32 million education center. The garden will break ground on the building, which will be named for the Bluestones, this summer.
“A gift of this magnitude not only recognizes all that the Garden offers; it also validates the direction it is taking to expand its capacity, programming, and role as a leading cultural institution in New York City. We are deeply grateful to the Foundation for their generosity.”
The Bluestone Foundation aims to provide disadvantaged students in the Metropolitan area with the support they need to succeed in their educational pursuits. Joan Bluestone was a longtime member of the garden’s board of directors before her passing in 2020; she and her husband, Norman, lived in Flushing.
“We are so pleased to make this significant donation and having the Education Building bear Joan and Norman’s names,” Sara B. Herbstman, the foundation’s president, said in a statement. “We couldn’t think of a better way to honor their memory.”
Borough President Donovan Richards said in a statement that he was “thrilled” by the news, noting that the garden is one of Queens’ “crown jewels.”
“With this donation, and our collective investment in the Garden, we give them the tools to continue to cultivate the minds and spirits of the hundreds of thousands of visitors it welcomes every year,” he