Flamingo Gardens – Botanical & Wildlife Sanctuary

Step into the enchanting world of Flamingo Gardens, a botanical garden and wildlife sanctuary nestled in Davie, Florida. Keith Clark, the visionary Executive Director, has been instrumental in transforming this haven into a flourishing oasis for both nature enthusiasts and wildlife advocates.

Founded in 1927 as an Orange Grove named Flamingo Groves, Flamingo Gardens has evolved into a sprawling 60-acre sanctuary under the watchful care of Keith and his team. The garden boasts 15 Champion trees, the largest of their species in the state, and is home to over 450 rescued animals and birds. The sanctuary not only houses these creatures permanently but also rehabilitates and releases wildlife back into their natural habitat.

However, the journey to success was not without challenges. In 2017, Hurricane Irma struck, prompting Keith to seek assistance from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at FAU to navigate the complexities of applying for a FEMA Grant. SBDC advisor, Rafael Cruz recognized the potential for strategic planning to catapult Flamingo Gardens to greater heights. In a pivotal meeting that same year, Keith and Rafael delved into the unforeseen challenges that a pandemic might pose. Little did they know that this strategic planning session would become the cornerstone of Flamingo Gardens' resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, Flamingo Gardens was not caught off guard. Armed with a meticulously crafted plan of action, they navigated the challenges with agility and foresight. Keith stated, “I learned more in that three-hour meeting (with Consultant Rafael Cruz) than I had in numerous other classes that I'd taken. I knew immediately that there was a connection there with him. Not only did he have a lot that he could help teach me, but he also had a way of bringing out what I already knew and helping me organize it in a strategic way.”

The partnership between Keith and SBDC at FAU didn't end there. Monthly meetings with Rafael became a cornerstone of Flamingo Gardens' success. They formulated strategic plans, anticipated issues, and proactively addressed challenges. Even before the pandemic, they had started a capital campaign for a new Learning Center, and Rafael's guidance helped them raise funds successfully during COVID-19.

As a result of their collaboration, Flamingo Gardens emerged stronger than ever. Post-COVID, the sanctuary not only recovered, but thrived. The success of the past several years is a testament to the dedication, strategic planning, and resilience fostered through the SBDC partnership.

Keith passionately encourages fellow business owners to leverage the invaluable resource of the SBDC. He views SBDC as a treasure for Florida communities, offering free and priceless expertise. In his words, "SBDC is a great resource for our community, and a businessman is foolish not to take advantage of the availability of it."

Flamingo Gardens' success story is not just about weathering storms but soaring to new heights through strategic collaboration and unwavering dedication to their mission.

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SBDC is a great resource for our community, and a businessman is foolish not to take advantage of the availability of it.”

Keith Clark, Executive Director — Flamingo Gardens