Botanical Garden names Ron Cox as new executive director

The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks today announced that Ron Cox, a Fayetteville resident and successful fundraiser, has been appointed Executive Director of the Garden.

Cox fills the position left open by the previous director, Rae von Holdt, who resigned in May after only six months on the job, citing personal and health reasons for her departure.

The Botanical Garden set an Aug. 1 deadline for appointing a new director. Cox will official begin working Monday, July 26.

According to a news release issued this morning, Cox has 14 years of fundraising experience, including having received his Certified Fund Raising Executive designation from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Since 1996, he has managed a non-profit organization and staff of similar size to that serving the Botanical Garden. Most recently, he held the position of Vice President of Network Development for St. Edward Mercy Medical Center, and before that, he served as Executive Director of the Mercy Foundation.

Ron Cox

The garden’s search committee evaluated 24 local, national and international applicants before choosing Cox, who BGSO Board President Walt Eilers said exceeded the board’s expectations to find someone with significant fundraising experience and a history of successfully operating a non-profit organization.

“Speaking for the fifteen members of the BGSO board, I am confident that Ron will bring our organization to new heights and will help the board realize the long-range fundraising and master plan goals to complete the remaining twelve phases of the Garden,” said Eilers. “The depth of his experience in both fundraising and non-profit management, his proven track record of successes, and his demonstrated commitment to the greater Northwest Arkansas community make him the perfect fit with our mission and will ensure the success of the Garden.”

Located on the east shore of Lake Fayetteville, near the Fayetteville-Springdale border, the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks consists of nine demonstration gardens displaying woody, herbaceous and exotic plant species that thrive in Northwest Arkansas. The operations of the Garden are wholly supported by memberships, sponsorships, admissions and donations.

For more information, or to become a volunteer, join or donate, visit