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 Ellisa Lanza Bregman, a dedicated Friend of Robinson Gardens Board Member. Ellisa was honored with the Camellia Award at the 2017 VRG Patron Gala for her much appreciated, deep and long-time commitment to the Gardens. Board member and Fellows Chair Jeanne Anderson added that something she finds extra special about Ellisa is that she has been an active participant yearly since she got involved with Robinson Gardens back in 1994.
Ellisa is the daughter of famed opera tenor Mario Lanza. She has taken on the responsibility of supporting and interacting with the various groups of her father’s fans, and the Mario Lanza Societies all over the world. She is the last of his four children, and spends a lot of time traveling to events and speaking to groups in this endeavor. You can catch Ellisa on PBS when they have fundraisers using her father’s albums.
We asked her these three questions:
1. How did you first learn about VRG, and what inspired you to become a Friend?
I first learned about the Virginia Robinson Gardens through Joan Selwyn, the founder of the Friends of Robinson Gardens.
Joan had invited me to the annual Children’s Christmas Party which was held every year for children who were temporarily wards of the State, due to various reasons. I was so moved by the surprised looks on their faces when Santa Claus appeared, the many gifts that were given out beside a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, and the fun activities that were a part of that amazing day.
I decided this was an organization of which I would be proud to be a member. That was about twenty-five years ago!
Over the years we have grown and evolved with the times. We now, among many other programs, have an annual Science Fair in the spring to teach children about the environment. We also have field trips teaching them about gardening and nature so that they can understand the importance of preserving our planet.
- What’s your role – How do you contribute to VRG?
I have had many roles over the years at the Gardens including working on the Garden Tour, the Patron Gala, publicity, and restoration. I am on the Board and have had the honor of being a past President and being honored by the Friends.
The Friends are a wonderful group of people who are dedicated to the restoration and preservation of this amazing property. Through their efforts, present and future generations will come and experience the beauty of nature and the rich history that is integral to this estate.
It has been such a gratifying experience, not only working with the Friends, but also making so many personal friends along the way.
- Can you share a favorite VRG memory with us?
I have so many wonderful memories, it is difficult to pick just one. I look forward to being part of the Gardens for many years to come.