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Our History

In 1992, a group of community leaders began work to establish what is now the SurreyCares Community Foundation. The City of Surrey contributed significant in-kind support during these early years. Officially established in 1994, many individuals and corporate donors contributed to building the Foundation. In 1998, three donors {Intrawest, Surrey Metro Savings (now Coast Capital) and Mill and Timber} who contributed $10,000 or more were named ‘founding members.’ Fundraising events and in-kind donations supported operations. In 1997, the Foundation made its first grants, and in 1998, the Foundation’s first locally held endowment fund was created.

In 2001 Surrey has Francisca and Edwin Darts to thank for seeding the Foundation’s largest endowment fund creating a legacy that benefitted Surrey and our very own community foundation. The Darts created a trust for the land to be preserved as a plantsman's garden for a millennium. They wanted to make sure that the stunningly beautiful Darts Hill Garden Park they created could be enjoyed for generations to come.

Their original endowment of $200,000, now stands at over $4 million. With our management, their legacy will provide an estimated $4 million in interest over the next 25 years, monies that will finance capital projects in the garden. Their original investment is still intact, and yet their gift will continue for many generations.

The Story of Darts Hill Garden Park 

Darts Hill Garden is the result of over 70 years of work and dedication guided by the clear vision of Francisca Darts. Along with her husband Edwin, Francisca took a logged piece of land, turned it first into an award-winning orchard and then into the unique garden that is Darts Hill today.

Francisca’s curiosity and love of the new and interesting has resulted in the most diverse collection of mature tree and shrub species in the Pacific Northwest. Many were planted from seeds collected from around the world.

In 1994 Edwin and Francisca Darts donated their 7.5-acre garden to the City of Surrey and its citizens.  Their intention was to give Surrey its own garden to be used as a horticultural centre for the preservation, enhancement, and development of plants.  The non-profit Darts Hill Garden Conservancy Trust Society works in partnership with the City of Surrey towards these goals.

Follow the link below, for a sampling of our Fund Founders -