Message from NELDHA President Heidi Kost-Gross

Dear Members —

Happy New Year to all of you and best wishes.

As many of you know, I have been involved for nearly four decades with the Massachusetts Horticultural Society chairing many Spring Flower Show committees, as well as collaborating in educational programs and as a Trustee and Overseer of the corporation.

For nearly five years now, MassHort has been laboring hard to get out of its massive debts incurred through exceedingly poor management. Staff firings and board resignations allowed a thorough house cleaning and in the process new boards of Trustees and Overseers with administrative and financial acumen were recruited.

However, an Executive Director was sorely needed to steer all those valiant volunteer efforts of MHS’ members, garden clubs and the Master Gardeners, given do maintain the organization, into cohesive directions. AND, finally, after over 100 applications and 20 interviews, the right person for the job has come along.

Below is the announcement that the Trustees circulated to the MassHort membership, as well as the Executive Director’s resume.

I look forward to Neldha’s future involvement in MassHort programs.

Best regards,


Katherine Macdonald of Wellesley has accepted the appointment as the next Executive Director of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, effective January 10. A businesswoman, marketing expert, and community activist, she brings valuable experience in youth education and environmental programming.

The Society, between 2005 and 2008, amassed a large debt, requiring staff reductions and partial program curtailment.

Now, in 2011, the additional absolutely great news is that the debt has been cleared, the spring flower show restored, and three Dewey Square parcels of the Kennedy Greenway have been beautifully planted. Membership has doubled to top 5,000. Recently, over $350,000 has been quietly raised to restart leadership staff positions, the 36-acre ‘Gardens at Elm Bank’ in Wellesley have continued in fine shape, awaiting expansion for educational programming while remaining popular public destinations. Two significant foundation grants have been received, and six new Trustees have been elected.

Leave a Reply