Each month we spotlight a volunteer, staff member, docent, donor, or sponsor of Virginia Robinson Gardens (VRG) — those that have made an impact on the organization. We want to let you know about these wonderful people and corporations that give so much to the Virginia Robinson Gardens and to the community, and what they do that is so impactful.
This month, we spotlight Elaine Stein, a dedicated Friend of Robinson Gardens Executive Board Member.
1. How did you first learn about VRG, and what inspired you to become a Friend?
My dear friend, the late Natalie Howard, introduced me to the Friends of VRG. We attended many Educational lectures and luncheons together. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience including the people, the estate, and the magnificent gardens of course. I realized Friends of VRG would be a wonderful community to join and participate in.
2. What’s your role – How do you contribute to VRG?
My first contribution to VRG took place after our “Japanese Garden” in my home was completed in 2007. When I attended programs, I always noticed volunteers working in the gardens, and I wanted to do something special to thank them for all their hard work. I invited the volunteers to my garden for a “Thank You Bento Box Luncheon.”
My husband and I served as hosts for a private garden at Garden Tour. We had such a lovely time getting to know the attendees the first year that we offered to do it again. I decided to ask Maralee Beck at VRG how I could become more involved with the organization. I was asked to join the Board of Directors and take a position as Chair of Society Membership for two years. Betty Rodriquez Goldstein invited me to become part of the Membership Committee, and we had a terrific team under her leadership. I worked on the update of the Society brochure with Rachel Ault, Betty Goldstein, Clare Wagner, Jeanne Anderson, Joan Selwyn, Patty Reinstein, and Kerstin Royce. After multiple revisions and almost a year’s worth of work, it’s now complete! I’m very proud of the finished product and the enriching time we had collaborating on it.
Jeanne Anderson put on a flower arranging class for new members, which was a huge success. We also hosted a Holiday Tour for new members, and we all baked cookies for them to enjoy and take home. Today, I am serving on the Friends Board of Directors as Corporate Secretary, and I am a member of the Executive Committee. I also continue to participate on the Membership Committee.
3. Can you share a favorite VRG memory with us?
Attending my first Garden Tour many years ago was a wonderful experience! I thoroughly enjoyed the gardens we toured and was impressed with the luncheon, floral arrangements in the interior and exterior at VRG. I talked so much about the tour that friends joined me at Garden Tour the following years and loved the experience. Everyone involved with the Friends of VRG, including Superintendent Timothy Lindsay and the office staff, are all exceptional to work with. You can’t ask for a kinder group of people to interface with!
The Virginia Robinson Estate and Gardens is a true gift to the residents of Los Angeles County and Beverly Hills, and I am proud to be part of it!