Patsy and George Bucklen

Donor Advised Legacy Fund

North of downtown Elkhart, the Wellfield Botanic Gardens are beginning to blossom into an educational, recreational and cultural attraction for Elkhart and the region. When completed, this exciting project, which will feature 22 planned gardens on property leased from the City for 99 years, is a vision of the Elkhart Rotary Club to commemorate the 100th birthday of Rotary International.

One Elkhart Rotarian, retired businessman George Bucklen, has special reason to be attracted to the project. His great-grandfather, Herbert E. Bucklen – known for building the Bucklen Opera House and Bucklen Hotel in the late 1880s – had the foresight to acquire real estate, including the land for the City’s wellfield. Blessed with Christiana Creek flowing through the 36-acre wooded site, the Gardens will educate adults and children about the history of water power in Elkhart, our relationship with the abundant creeks, ponds, rivers and lakes in our area and the importance of conservation and restoration.

Through a gift to the Elkhart County Community Foundation, George and his wife Patsy have established a donor-advised fund to benefit the Gardens, creating a memorial legacy to his great-grandfather and, in their way, giving back to the community. “Our plan will benefit the Gardens into the future,” George and Patsy say. “When the Wellfield Gardens become self-sustaining, our children will be able to designated income from the fund for another philanthropic use.”

“Creating the Wellfield Botanic Gardens is a great thing to do,” George says. “Taking property of limited use to become a community asset benefits everybody.”

Catherine Wells-Bentz