Delaware Botanic Gardens raised $122,000 at Annual Dinner

a large group of people sitting at tables in a tent

Ray Sander, president of the Delaware Botanic Gardens (DBG) at Pepper Creek, thanked over 300 guests and supporters at the sold out DBG Annual Dinner held on September 28. Under a white sail cloth tent provided by Coastal Tented Events. SoDel Concepts provided delicious food & desserts at multiple chef stations. Scott Kammerer, president of SoDel Concepts, along with his wife, Lisa, were honorary co-chairs of the dinner. Scott welcomed the guests to one of the “Best Charity Events in Delaware.”


Sander said, “This is the 11th anniversary of our first fundraising farm-to-table dinner created by Matt Haley and Sue Ryan at the Good Earth Market. Tonight, our dinner partners have braved the cloudy day and showers for a glorious celebration of the gardens. We are indebted to: Scott Kammerer and Ronnie Burkle and the amazing SoDel chefs; Riley Quinn & Derrick Kelley of Bin 66 for their beautifully paired wines; Zack McCarthy and his team for the spectacular tent; Vince Varrassi and the 5th Avenue for their musical virtuosity; and Affairs to Remember for their special outdoor lighting.”


He continued, “In addition, in memory of our recently deceased Board Member, Peter Carter, Sarah Gilmour sponsored the Welcoming Prosecco. The enthusiasm and high spirits were shared by all and representative of how much Delaware and Sussex County citizens care and support our community non-profits.”


Sander also took note of attending supporters including Chuck Pennoni, founder of Pennoni Associates; Sussex County Land Trust; and the distinguished elected officials from across the State, including Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, Senators Gerald Hocker and Russ Huxtable, Sussex County Council Member Douglas B. Hudson, Sussex County Administrator Todd Lawson, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer and Dagsboro Mayor Brian Baull.  “Support from our State, County, and local governments and the private sector is vital to the success of our public garden. Also, without the support of all of you in this tent tonight, there would be no botanic garden in Sussex County,” Sander said.


This year, DBG challenged our guests to help us raise funds for our operations. By the end of the evening, our generous guests donated nearly $26,000, bringing the grand total raised at the Annual Dinner to over $122,000. The donations are still coming in and are welcome.


In her remarks, DBG Executive Director Sheryl Swed saluted the DBG Board Members & Advisory Council members present, dinner sponsors, volunteers and staff, including Stephen Pryce Lea, Director of Horticulture & Educational Programs and Sam Cashdollar, DBG Director of Grounds and Facilities.


Swed said, “This is a special dinner because it marked the annual gathering of our most dedicated supporters and donors to celebrate the gardens’ progress and to recognize the board, staff and volunteers who make it happen. As a nonprofit, we could not operate without the support of the dedicated volunteers, staff, and our generous community supporters. Thank you!”


The DBG is now open to the public Thursday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guided tours are at 10 a.m. Reservations are desired and can be made at the website at The tickets for non-members cost $15 for adults, and anyone 16 or younger is admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Members are admitted free. The Delaware Botanic Gardens is located at 30220 Piney Neck Road, Dagsboro. Memberships are available by going to