Why We Give: Jean
Volunteer Shares Time and Treasure 

Jean Leonhardt 

Jean Leonhardt has a knack for remembering faces and names. She possesses an unwavering faith and an intuitive sense of people’s needs.

That combination of gifts has shaped Jean into a veteran volunteer at the Missouri Botanical Garden and a generous supporter. “My heart is just with it,” she says of the Garden. “I stick with it because of the people—the members. I see this volunteer group as my extended family.”

Jean began volunteering at the Garden’s membership services desk in 1983. She works at least three shifts a month in Ridgway Visitor Center, inviting visitors to become members and asking members to continue to support the Garden.

Jean says she finds satisfaction in volunteering because she discovers what matters most to people. “If it is a grandmother with grandkids, the conversation will be different than with a young couple,” she says. “I listen. I find out what matters, and I talk about the Garden in the way that seems best. In some cases, I explain membership the way I see it, which is a mutual giving and receiving.”

During Jean’s three-decade volunteer relationship with the Garden, she also became a donor. She contributed to the Garden’s endowment fund because she liked the idea of the gift providing funds in perpetuity. Jean also became a member of the Heritage Society when she decided to include the Garden in her estate plans. “I truly believe that to whom much is given, much is expected,” she says. “Whatever I give comes back to me somehow.”