Welcome to the New Director of the Garden School

We are delighted to announce that Emma Norris is joining us as the new Director of the Garden School, reopening in fall 2021. Emma has a strong background in early childhood education and a passion for her work and she is looking forward to joining the Garden School community.  

Emma was raised in West Marin before going to college at Sonoma State. She worked at a few preschools after college, the most notable being the Coast Guard Child Development Center.

After working in the field for a few years, she took a job as a Preschool Director, working for a non-profit in Sonoma county. The school was a multi-age preschool of about 30 children ages two to five. Emma worked to elevate the school by introducing emergent curriculum and qualifying the school for a Tier 5 QIRS

rating. While at this company, Emma worked to create a program that embraced neurodiversity and inclusion in the classroom.

After moving away from Sonoma County, Emma took a job working in San Francisco directing a preschool of about 60-75 children, ages six weeks to five years, and a staff of 20. She has been there for almost two years, but is excited to get back to her true passion of working with a non-profit again and to work in a smaller school setting. She lives in Vallejo with her two dogs and her husband.

Emma is looking forward to using the beautiful gardens here as an integral part of the preschool experience. With 11 acres to explore and learn from, the Garden School students have a wealth of resources right outside the classroom door. We are all looking forward to September, when we will welcome the Garden School students and their families to Marin Art and Garden Center.

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 tod.thorpe@maringarden.org to discuss your gift to Marin Art and Garden Center