Renee Alvarado Porter Named Chief Operating Officer

Renee Alvarado Porter Named Chief Operating Officer

Renee Alvarado Porter Named Chief Operating Officer of Myriad Botanical Gardens

Since Myriad Botanical Gardens reopened after an extensive renovation in 2011, it has experienced tremendous growth in its visitorship, special events, educational programs, rentals, Crystal Bridge visitation, and community collaborations. In addition, Myriad Gardens Foundation, the 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that manages and operates the Gardens, was asked by the City of Oklahoma City to take on the management and operations of the new 70-acre Scissortail Park in 2015. Due to this growth and expansion of responsibilities, Myriad Gardens Foundation has created a new Chief Operating Officer position and is delighted that Renee Alvarado Porter has accepted this position.

“Our priority at the Gardens is to continually improve and enhance our gardens, grounds, facilities, educational programs, and community events so Myriad Botanical Gardens is one of Oklahoma City’s cultural destinations for all to enjoy year-round,” said Maureen Heffernan, CEO and president of Park Management Company which oversees the management of Myriad Gardens Foundation and Scissortail Park Foundation. “I am excited to have someone of Renee’s caliber and background join our organization during this time of growth at the Gardens and as we launch and manage Scissortail Park.”

She brings impressive experience to this role where she will focus on overseeing the daily operations of the Gardens. Prior to joining the Gardens, Porter served as president of Cristo Rey Oklahoma City Catholic High School, a private college preparatory high school for economically disadvantaged students. She also was CEO and co-founder of Scissortail Community Development Corporation, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit helping economically disadvantaged Oklahomans, as well as CEO and president of Advancia Corporation. In addition, Porter has worked at USA Today, the Williams Companies, the University of Oklahoma, and U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch. She holds three degrees, all from OU.

“As a longtime resident of central Oklahoma, it has been a joy to watch the evolution of the downtown Oklahoma City area, and Myriad Botanical Gardens in particular,” Porter said. “I am looking forward to contributing to this beautiful space that so many have come to appreciate and enjoy.”

Gardens Foundation receives grant for The Secret Garden

The Trustees of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation announced the Myriad Gardens has been awarded a Parks and Public Spaces Initiative Grant in the amount of $25,000 to fund the construction of The Secret Garden. The Oklahoma City Community Foundation has a strong history of support for Myriad Botanical Gardens, generously supporting a number of projects over the years including a comprehensive wellness program, walking tours, a beautiful new shade garden and now The Secret Garden. Founded in 1969, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) public charity that works with donors to create charitable funds that will benefit our community both now and in the future. Grants awarded through the Parks & Public Spaces Initiative support programs that encourage the use of public parks for recreation, health and wellness activities.

The grant will help transform an underutilized 7,000 square foot section of the gardens on the busy northeastern corner between the boulder waterfall and the Seasonal Plaza. The Secret Garden will be an area where visitors can relax, picnic and enjoy the tranquility of nature. This secluded spot will be enhanced with beautiful ornamental trees, bushes and flowers to further screen and enchant the garden space.

“This grant enables us to transform an underused garden area, located behind our Boulder Fountain near the corner of Sheridan and Ron Norick. Using these grant funds, we will enhance the compact site into an oasis within an oasis– a secret garden of sorts.  The name is taken from the beloved classic book, The Secret Garden, and the space will feel like a private haven of beauty and charm, in the middle of downtown for visitors to discover and enjoy,” said Maureen Heffernan, Executive Director of the Myriad Botanical Gardens “We are so appreciative of the generous funding from this grant to help us continually improve Myriad Botanical Gardens.,” she continued.

Construction is scheduled to begin later this year and the staff of the Myriad Gardens plan to open The Secret Garden to visitors in the summer of 2019.

For more information about the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, visit