Fund Story

The Jeanette and George Neagu Gardens for All Fund provides access and educational opportunities to underserved and disadvantaged families and children by giving them an opportunity to learn, grow, and recreate within the unique Friendship Botanic Gardens.

This Fund is inspired by the spirits and legacies of Jeanette and George Neagu, longtime area residents and lifelong social activists. Jeanette and George spent their lives working to mitigate the effects of poverty, environmental contamination, and limited educational opportunities. Together for nearly 50 years, they supported one another’s causes and worked tirelessly to help others wherever possible. At the root of their activism was a desire to leave a better world for the next generation.

They gave of their time and energy in their volunteer work, as well as professionally. George was a psychologist in community mental health centers while Jeanette spent much of her career as a clinical social worker supporting women and children fleeing domestic violence. As social activists, they each earned numerous awards and accolades. They both marched with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on numerous occasions; George having had the opportunity to work directly with Dr. King on various racial justice issues, primarily housing equity. In her later life, Jeanette shifted most of her efforts toward focusing on the environment; the Great Lakes and educating others about environmental threats.

In addition to their social and environmental justice activities, George and Jeanette helped give Friendship Botanic Gardens a second life, as part of a group of volunteers that worked to restore the Gardens beginning in the 1990s. This effort led to George creating the Romanian Garden, as well as co-founding the Polish Festival in the gardens. While we will miss their enthusiasm and humor, their legacy lives on in these places and events.

This Fund is intended to honor Jeanette and George’s efforts, while also acknowledging the social value of access to beautiful spaces and the outdoors. By supporting the Jeanette and George Neagu Gardens for All Fund you will be helping to:

Provide outdoor education to resource-constrained families and children; support local schools, daycares, and other programs provide an interesting outdoor experience; encourage outdoor play; foster the next generation to value and care for their environment; support a Northwest Indiana asset, Friendship Botanic Gardens, grow and flourish; give children and families a recreational resource they can enjoy again and again; and finally, your support will help continue the Neagu legacy of promoting community over self. Please consider contributing to this fund. In so doing, you’ll be supporting area families, the Gardens, and the spirit of Jeanette and George.

  • Your gift is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
  • You will receive a tax receipt electronically for your records once your donation is processed.
  • Gifts by credit card incur a processing fee for each transaction which will be deducted from your gift. The current fee is 3.5% per transaction. When donating online, we invite you to select the option to increase your gift to cover this fee so that your charitable intent can be fully realized.
  • If you would like to make a one-time or recurring payment from a bank account, please contact the Unity Office at (219) 879-0327 or
  • If you prefer to donate by check, our mailing address is 422 Franklin St, Suite C, Michigan City, IN 46360. Please include the fund name(s) you wish to donate to in the memo line.