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Sheryl Swed and Ray Sander are the 2015 recipients of the Lois Lipsett Memorial Award for Voluntary Community Services

The annual Holiday Luncheon was the setting for the presentation of the Shore Democrats Lois Lipsett Memorial Award for outstanding voluntary community services.  The 2015 winners are: Sheryl Swed and Ray Sander for their work in establishing the Delaware Botanic Gardens.  The award was presented by Shore Democrats member Diane Maddex

Award Presentation by Diane Maddex: 

All of us here probably volunteer for one group or another.  But few of us ever have to create a new organization from scratch.  Our honorees today did just that.  They may not have been employees no. 1 and 2 of the Delaware Botanic Gardens, but they were certainly 3 and 4.

And in just 3 years they have taken a project with practically nothing in the bank, only a few volunteer board members, and no site … to today:

  • A beautiful wooded waterfront site leased for 99+ years at $1 a year
  • A site plan created by one of our state’s leading landscape architects to give southern Delmarva its first world-class public garden
  • A commitment by one of the leading international garden designers to create a spectacular meadow that will draw visitors from around the world
  • An active board of directors and an Advisory Council of highly regarded professionals, chaired by Delaware’s First Lady
  • Hundreds of members and supporters from individuals to businesses and foundations
  • A lecture series that has attracted leading garden speakers and authors
  • A sought-after farm dinner that has raised tens of thousands of dollars
  • One grant just a month ago that, when matched, will bring in $1.2 million
  • A capital campaign to Open the Garden Gates that is just getting started
  • Other grants waiting in the wings
  • A new web site and an active Facebook presence


With all these achievements, the garden has plans to break ground next year and open Phase One the following year.

The leaders behind these many achievements are SHERYL SWED and RAY SANDER, dedicated members of the Shore Democrats.  Please join me in recognizing them for these amazing feats of volunteer accomplishments!  Congratulations to Sheryl and Ray!

DELAWARE BOTANIC GARDENS,  Diane Maddex, Board Member