The Houston Botanic Garden is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The ZimSculpt exhibit -- on display through June 2 -- is included in general admission.
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Meet our staff

Julian Serebrin

Membership & Development Manager

Under the leadership of Director of Development Laura Wheless, the Houston Botanic Garden’s development team is responsible for raising more than $3 million each year through grants, donations, sponsorships, memberships, and other fundraising activities.

The most recent addition to the team, Julian Serebrin, took some time to share his passion for community engagement and how he hopes to help grow and sustain Houston’s world-class botanic garden in his new role as membership and development manager.

What brought you to Houston?

I was born and raised in Houston but left for college. I went to Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and earned a degree in political science. After four years there, and while snow was still on the ground in May, I was ready to return to Texas. So, I moved back right after graduation.

How did you get involved in fundraising for organizations?

I’ve been interested in development work since college, when I completed an internship at a small non-profit and was part of a team of three. I got to do a little bit of everything and found a niche in fundraising, grant writing, and the whole development process. After graduation and moving back to Houston, I worked in a high school for two years as a public access counselor, helping juniors and seniors apply for and get ready for college. However, I knew I wanted to get back into fundraising, so I joined Houston Public Media, where I spent two years working on the major gifts team.

When did you first become aware of the Garden?

I’ve been a fan of the Garden basically since it opened. I found it early on in 2021, during COVID. It was great as a place to go when I wanted to get out of the house and into nature. It was nice to be surrounded by plants and enjoy the peaceful greenery. Growing up nearby, I really think it’s a bright spot for the neighborhood. It’s unique in the way that it blends the curated gardens with the changing exhibits where different artists can display their work in a natural setting.

Why did you decide to pursue a position at Houston Botanic Garden?

It’s hard to pick just one thing that made me go to the website and look for open positions, but part of it was that I went to see Radiant Nature in December. Of course, there are a lot of light displays around for the holidays, but it stood out as something different that caught my attention. Something about it spurred me to explore whether they had any fundraising jobs available. 

Where do you focus your attention as membership and development manager?

As the membership manager, I’m all about the community and the members, the people who are in the Garden day in and day out. We want to become a local destination similar to Houston’s most popular museums. We hope people say, “Oh, I’ve got an afternoon free. Let me go to the Botanic Garden.” Growing our membership has the benefit of bringing in revenue, but also bringing in people. It increases the potential that someone who may just be a family member now could become a major donor or corporate sponsor in the future. Ultimately, it’s about making sure this is a place that people want to be and that they enjoy coming back to. That is how we can build the membership program and grow those annual gifts into much bigger ones down the line, to have an even bigger impact on our mission of discovery, education, and conservation. 

Is there a specific development initiative that you are excited to work on?

We just relaunched our Giving Circle, which is an elevated membership option that starts at $1,500 per year for a Cultivator membership and increases all the way up to our $15,000-per-year Botanist level. It’s exciting to build out the offerings around those options to engage bigger donors and highlight the value of their investment in the Garden. I want to show donors how their support tangibly affects what we can do and work to develop a relationship by including them in our events and exhibit openings. Hopefully, that type of continuous programming will be something that people want to be a part of, and we can establish it as a major part of our membership growth.

What would you like the community to know about the Garden?

I think we’re very lucky to be a living museum. Obviously, the rotating exhibits are a huge draw, but the plants are the most incredible part of what we offer. Everything changes from season to season, so you can come every week and have a different experience. I often go for a walk around the grounds during my lunch break, and I always see something new. I encourage people to keep coming back and to tell their friends about us because repeat visitors and word-of-mouth will play a big role in our future success. 

Check out the Houston Botanic Garden’s membership and giving opportunities

Our Mission

Enriching life through discovery, education, and the conservation of plants and the natural environment.

Hours

DAILY
9:00 am — 5:00 pm

Garden Entrance
One Botanic Lane
Houston, TX 77017
Mailing Address

8205 N. Bayou Drive
Houston, TX 77017

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