The National Fund for the United States Botanic Garden was initially established as a 501(c)(3) in 1991 to fund and build the National Garden. Designed as a living laboratory, the 3-acre National Garden educates visitors about the diversity of American plants and their importance to the environment, including the benefits of sustainable gardening. It was the first public-private project undertaken by the Office of the Architect of the Capital and raised $11.5 million. After the National Garden opened in 2006, the National Fund adopted a new mission focused on supporting the educational activities at the USBG. In 2018, the National Fund for the United States Botanic Garden began operating under the name Friends of the U.S. Botanic Garden.