Iris Lax Named Executive Director

Nonprofit veteran elevated to helm at public garden and event space

The Board of Trustees of Marin Art and Garden Center (the Center) announced today that it has elected Iris Lax as executive director. In her new position, Lax will oversee all operations of the 11-acre publicly open, privately operated garden and event space, named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2022. Most recently, Lax served several years as the Center’s director of events and marketing. Lax will oversee the Center’s expansive gardens and historic buildings, administration, finance and marketing, fundraising, public and private programs and events, and the Garden School preschool. Lax will manage a staff of 16 full and part-time employees and dozens of dedicated community volunteers.

“Elevating Iris Lax to lead Marin Art and Garden Center is the best decision today for this beloved 77-year-old garden and for its future well-being,” said Thomas Perry, Board President and Acting Executive Director. “Iris is a community builder and a key reason why the Center is the premier location for weddings, celebrations of life, and other special events. We look forward to her stewardship of the entire operation, including programming, fundraising, and much-needed facilities renovations, upgrades, and expansions,” continued Perry.

Prior to joining Marin Art and Garden Center in 2021, Lax served as marketing and communications manager for KQED where she was responsible for developing and executing communications strategy, and a branding and advertising campaign for the local public broadcaster’s headquarters renovation and grand opening and the KQED Live events series. For 14 years, Lax was director of marketing and strategic projects for Osher Marin JCC, where she led all marketing, advertising, PR, social media, strategic projects, fundraisers and events for the JCC’s fitness and aquatics, performing arts, early childhood, youth and family and adult education businesses. Lax has an extensive background in fundraising and development, working on large-scale campaign projects in Marin and the greater Bay Area.

“My entire career has focused on creating community, expanding awareness, and increasing participation for critical public institutions,” said Lax. “I look forward to expanding these efforts at Marin Art and Garden Center and realizing the mission of our founding women to truly make it a place for all the people of Marin—and beyond.”

Lax started her career in Los Angeles and San Francisco advertising and PR agencies after earning her degree in Communications from California State University Northridge.

Lax and her husband reside in San Anselmo, where they raised their two grown children.

Lax will begin her executive director assignment on December 15. She succeeds Antonia Adezio, who left Marin Art and Garden Center in June of this year. The search process for the new executive director, which solicited internal and external input, managed nearly 200 applicants, and multiple rounds of interviews, was led by Stacy Nelson & Associates – Leadership Search Partners of San Rafael.

More to explore

IRS Guidelines for Gifts from Donor Advised Funds to Support MAGC Events

Thank you for your interest in giving to the Marin Art & Garden Center events from your Donor Advised Fund (DAF) or Family Foundation.

We sincerely appreciate your generosity and support!

To ensure your gift follows the current IRS guidelines for DAF/Family Foundation support of an event, we would like to share the below guidelines with you.

  • Raffle tickets, tickets to galas and other special events, auction items, and benefits conferred in connection with a DAF/foundation grant are not permitted.
    • IRS has specifically ruled that fair market value associated with fundraising events cannot be separated, a practice known as “bifurcation.”
      • For example, with Edible Garden, if the price of the ticket is $200 and the FMV fair market value (non-tax-deductible amount) is designated to be $50, the donor must pay from sources other than her DAF/foundation for the full value of the ticket ($200) and not just for the non-tax-deductible amount ($50).
    • We recommend you confer with your financial advisor to confirm if any of these examples of how donors may still use their DAF to support an event would work for you:
      • A donor could sponsor the event, and not attend, and pay fully out of the DAF/foundation.
      • A donor could sponsor the event using DAF/foundation funds and attend by purchasing an individual ticket through non-DAF/foundation funds.
      • A donor could sponsor the event, join the event as a guest of another donor/table guest, and pay fully out of the DAF/foundation.
      • A donor could sponsor the event and host the afforded number of people at their chosen level as long as they pay for the seats at the lowest ticket price ($200 for Edible Garden) outside of their DAF.
        • As an example, a $1,500 sponsor that covers 2 guests, could pay for their sponsorship with $400 from a different source of funds, and then give an additional gift of $1,100 out of their DAF.


Please email Tod Thorpe, Director of Development at to discuss your gift to Marin Art and Garden Center