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Emerald Necklace Conservancy Inc

 125 The Fenway
 Boston, MA 02115
[P] (617) 522-2700
[F] (617) 522-2770
Veronika Trufanova
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-3414988

LAST UPDATED: 01/10/2019
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy was incorporated in 1998 with a mission to “protect, restore, maintain and promote the landscape, waterways and parkways of the Emerald Necklace park system as special places for people to visit and enjoy.” The Conservancy brings together the Necklace’s residential neighbors, community and business leaders, park advocates, and government around an agenda to restore this environmental resource and keep the parks healthy and accessible for all. The work program focuses on parks restoration, parks maintenance, volunteer programs, public education programs, youth stewardship and workforce development and reviews of projects proposed in and around the Necklace to ensure that they do not adversely affect the parks, among other initiatives.

Mission Statement

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy was incorporated in 1998 with a mission to “protect, restore, maintain and promote the landscape, waterways and parkways of the Emerald Necklace park system as special places for people to visit and enjoy.” The Conservancy brings together the Necklace’s residential neighbors, community and business leaders, park advocates, and government around an agenda to restore this environmental resource and keep the parks healthy and accessible for all. The work program focuses on parks restoration, parks maintenance, volunteer programs, public education programs, youth stewardship and workforce development and reviews of projects proposed in and around the Necklace to ensure that they do not adversely affect the parks, among other initiatives.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Oct 01, 2017 to Sept 30, 2018
Projected Income $3,185,833.00
Projected Expense $2,580,513.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Emerald Necklace Green Team and Youth Leadership Program (YLP)
  • Emerald Necklace Park Maintenance and Restoration
  • Public Education and Advocacy
  • The Maintenance Collaborative Program
  • Volunteer and Park Docent Program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy was incorporated in 1998 with a mission to “protect, restore, maintain and promote the landscape, waterways and parkways of the Emerald Necklace park system as special places for people to visit and enjoy.” The Conservancy brings together the Necklace’s residential neighbors, community and business leaders, park advocates, and government around an agenda to restore this environmental resource and keep the parks healthy and accessible for all. The work program focuses on parks restoration, parks maintenance, volunteer programs, public education programs, youth stewardship and workforce development and reviews of projects proposed in and around the Necklace to ensure that they do not adversely affect the parks, among other initiatives.

Background Statement

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy represents the Emerald Necklace, Boston’s largest park system, and is responsible for maintenance and capital restoration projects in the parks, free cultural events, visitor services and environmental education. Incorporated in 1998, the Conservancy is guided by the mission to “protect and maintain the Emerald Necklace park system for all.” The Emerald Necklace is a 7-mile, 1,100 acre linear park stretching from Beacon Hill to Dorchester featuring parkways and 6 parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The Conservancy concentrates its work in the Back Bay Fens, Riverway, Olmsted Park, Jamaica Pond Park and Franklin Park as well as the 3 parkways: Riverway, Jamaicaway and Arborway.

The Conservancy collaborates with the City of Boston, Town of Brookline, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is the only organization that brings together the Necklace’s residential neighbors, community and business leaders, park advocates and government officials to work for the renewal of this historic park system and the long-term preservation of its green and open spaces, waterways and unique structures.

The Conservancy’s business model is to operate with a small staff (8 full-time and 2 part-time) and to coordinate a strong volunteer corps, now at over 1,200 people, working on parks projects, events, fundraising, public education and outreach efforts. Conservancy volunteers and program participants contribute over 12,000 hours annually on projects dedicated to park restoration and maintenance; events for youth, visitors, residents and volunteers; public education; constituency-building and park advocacy.

Organizational objectives include:

  1. Improve parks management and complete restoration and maintenance projects in the Emerald Necklace park system in collaboration with public partners;
  2. Engage adults and young people in parks stewardship while educating the general public about the importance of the parks and the need for supplemental private support;
  3. Increase private investment in these parks to complement limited local and state budgets;
  4. Sustain a working coalition of federal, state and municipal representatives; private entities; park advocates and neighborhood groups to advocate for and set and meet goals for the Emerald Necklace’s renewal.

Impact Statement

Recent Conservancy accomplishments include:
  • Muddy River Restoration Project - completion of phase 1, including daylighting of the Muddy River and creation of the Justine Mee Liff Park; the Conservancy maintains voting membership on the oversight committee of this Army Corp of Engineer project.
  • Restoration of the Kelleher Rose Garden Fountain and Statuary, a $550k restoration project supported by the Conservancy’s Justine Mee Liff Fund.
  • Establishing the Olmsted Tree Society to care for the trees in the Emerald Necklace. Completed projects include planting of 150 red oaks along the Parkways, comprehensive pruning of trees throughout the Necklace, phase 1 of comprehensive tree and woodland work in Olmsted Park, and soil remediation, shrubs and tree planting on The Fenway in the Back Bay Fens.
  • Emerald Necklace Youth Leadership and Green Team is a youth workforce development program that provides enviromental education, leadership training and “real work” in the parks on maintenance and restoration projects to 50 urban teens and young adults annually.
  • Emerald Necklace Maintenance Collaborative workforce development initiative provides vocational training in landscaping to men in the corrections system who then staff dedicated maintenance crews in the parks.
  • Volunteer in the Parks Program staffs park maintenance and restoration projects with over 1100 youth and adult volunteers who provided more than 2,500 hours on park projects. The Volunteer Park Docent Program gives regular park tours and presentations. Restoration of the historic Stony Brook Gatehouse to become the Shattuck Emerald Necklace Visitor Center in the Back Bay Fens and the Conservancy’s office. Visitor Services began in January 2011. Serving an average of 4,500 visitors annually.
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Pathways and Park Access – successfully advocated for new, improved and safer crosswalks to and from the Emerald Necklace parks. Two Jamaicaway crossings including pedestrian-activated lights at Eliot St. and an improved crossing at Parkman Drive to provide safer access to Jamaica Pond. 

Needs Statement

The Emerald Necklace Park system requires constant restoration and maintenance to ensure that it is welcoming, beautiful and safe. Ironically, when we are doing our job, to the casual park user it looks like the park takes care of itself. In addition to park care, programming enlivens the park and enriches the experiences of park visitors and users alike. The Conservancy brings resources, expertise and programming to the park to supplement and complement the work of our public partners. To accomplish our park agenda, the Conservancy seeks to:
1. Increase unrestricted funds to $500,000 per year to support operations of core programs and park maintenance and restoration;
2. Increase public engagement with the park by 10% annually;
3. Fully fund the Olmsted Tree Society after initial $1 million funding to implement ongoing comprehensive tree canopy management program;
4. Create park signage to improve access to parks and ease of park user experience;
5. Design and program exhibit space in the Shattuck Emerald Necklace Visitor Center;
6. Educate the public about the Emerald Necklace and city parks in general and the critical role parks play in sustainable urban living.

CEO Statement

The Emerald Necklace is the region’s great “mother” park encompassing 1,100 acres, knitting neighbors and neighborhoods from Back Bay to Brookline to Dorchester. The Emerald Necklace Conservancy is the organization that convenes public partners, neighborhood groups, experts and members of the public to accomplish a range of objectives in support of its mission. Collaboration is key to the organization's success. Everyone loves the piece of park across from their house, school, or business, but the Conservancy has skillfully drawn these seemingly separate stakeholders together to successfully advocate for the $92 million Muddy River Restoration Project, to rehabilitate a decommissioned water and sewer building into the Emerald Necklace Shattuck Visitor Center, to create a youth Green Team, and to harness the enthusiasm and talents of hundreds of volunteers annually to complete parks maintenance work, present educational tours and programs, and raise funds.

Flanked by world class institutions including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in the Back Bay; Zoo New England at Franklin Park; and the renowned Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in Jamaica Plain, the 7-mile linear park provides the lungs to our city and the habitat for hawks, owls, herons, and much more. A respite, a playground, a place to watch birds, exercise, fish or golf, the Emerald Necklace is accessible green space that nurtures the body and spirit of each of us regardless of income or background.

We are proud of the Conservancy’s many accomplishments and the quality programming we bring to thousands of park users each year. Our continued work in collaboration with our public partners to secure a sustainable future for the park through preservation, maintainance, advocacy, programming and capital projects builds on Frederick Law Olmsted's legacy and vision for the Emerald Necklace. And there is always more work to be done to provide a thriving habitat for future generations of people, flora and fauna. Please, join our efforts today by supporting our work with a philanthropic contribution. 

Board Chair Statement

Reclaiming our cities from the ravages of the automobile age is one of the really important movements in 21st century America. The Emerald Necklace, Frederic Law Olmsted’s irreplaceable 19th century green space and gift to the citizens of Boston and Brookline, can and will play a fundamental role in making our city more accessible to walkers, bikers and urban dwellers who also love nature. A week never goes by that I don’t get the chance to spend some time in one of the Emerald Necklace parks. Whether I’m walking my dog, riding my bike, or simply enjoying the changing seasons and their impact on the 1100 acres that make up the Necklace, I couldn’t imagine urban life without these parks. That they stretch 7 miles from the wealthiest communities in the city (Back Bay and Beacon Hill) to the poorest (Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan) points to the essential egalitarian nature of these wonderful urban green spaces. Parks are free and open to all. They help connect families and children to the natural world. No city can be world class without parks. No people can lead a full life without experiencing nature. The political will to reverse climate disruption from greenhouse gases will not develop unless our children learn that the natural world we experience in urban parks is as important to the planet’s survival as the air we breathe and the water we drink. Good parks teach our children nothing less than what is needed for the planet’s survival.

Geographic Area Served

Greater Boston Region-All Neighborhoods
City of Boston- Citywide (Indiv. neighborhoods also listed)
City of Boston- Fenway/ Kenmore
City of Boston- Jamaica Plain
City of Boston- North Dorchester
City of Boston- South Dorchester
City of Boston- Downtown

The Emerald Necklace stretches 7 miles, through Boston and Brookline, from the Back Bay to Dorchester. It neighbors 13 neighborhoods and welcomes more than 1,000,000 visitors from these neighborhoods and visitors to Boston each year.

Organization Categories

  1. Environment - Natural Resources Conservation & Protection
  2. Community Improvement, Capacity Building - Alliances & Advocacy
  3. Youth Development - Youth Development Programs

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Emerald Necklace Green Team and Youth Leadership Program (YLP)

Our workforce development program for urban youth park stewardship provides summer and after-school jobs for up to 50 inner city teens. Youth participate in job skills training, leadership development, environmental and conservation education and jobs doing work in their community caring for the Emerald Necklace park system. The program has two components:  The summer Youth Green Team Program teaches a diverse group of 36 teens + 3 leaders environmental lessons while they do hands-on, physical labor to maintain and improve their “backyard” parks. Participants receive transferable job skills training in and planning for their educational and life goals.
The second component, established in 2009, the Youth Leadership Program, is a year-round, after school commitment. The program enrolls 8-10 emerging leaders, many who are former Green Team members (ages 15-18) and teaches personal and community leadership skills. Leaders then become eligible to apply for summer green team leadership positions.

Budget  $192,527.00
Category  Youth Development, General/Other Youth Leadership
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Other Economic Level
Program Short-Term Success 

Goals and expected outcomes:

1.     Up to 36 urban youth (ages 15-19) will be recruited and participate in the summer program, led by three crew leaders who will be hired and trained to direct the day to day activities of the three youth crews;

2.    8-10 Green Team members will participate in the year-round Leadership Training program and be eligible for employment as crew leaders in the summer by the Conservancy or other city youth programs;

3.    Youth receive environmental education and successfully complete park projects as part of their training and service to their community;

4.    Green Team crews and leaders will provide approximately 4300 hours of park project work each year;

5.    20-30% of the eligible youth will return to the program;

6.    Restoration work, plantings and trail maintenance will prevent erosion and discourage re-growth of invasive species, will promote species diversity and will be done in a manner consistent with Olmsted’s design philosophy.

Program Long-Term Success 
The program is designed to help youth become active stewards of their natural environment and develop healthy, sustainable lifestyle habits. Young people who enjoy the outdoors and understand the environment's significance to quality of life are more likely to be engaged as active users and caretakers of the world.
Through our program, youth will also expand their educational horizons to include higher education goals as they are exposed to local college programs and careers in the environment and green sector during the program.
Participants will increase their tolerance of individual differences and learn to work as a team toward a common goal and through the use of challenging outdoor activities like hiking, overnight camping and rock climbing, students will gain self-confidence and competencies they will be able to use to accomplish their goals.
Program Success Monitored By 
Success is measured by a fully subscribed program; completion of planned park projects; 6-8 youth returning to the summer program for another year of environmental education and outdoor work; participant evaluations indicating they have learned about the environment, are more invested in the natural world, and feel satisfied with the work they did. Completed park work is documented with before and after photographs and in the presentation crew members prepare to showcase their work and lessons learned at the family and community night at the end of the program. The value of the work performed in the parks by the Green Team is estimated at $55,000 (based on the Gardener Labor Union rate of $13/hr).
An immeasurable but important indicator of success will also be the cohesiveness of the group and whether they are enjoying each other as they work and learn. Past crew members have forged lasting friendships and continue to do outdoor activities together after the end of the program.
Examples of Program Success 
Green Team members were asked to complete this sentence:
Working in the parks was the first time I ever…
  •  used landscaping tools like a weed wrench, pick mattock, and loppers.
  • spread soil amendments. 
  •  saw Bittersweet and Buckthorn (invasive species).
  • had an allergic reaction to poison ivy.
  •  rode my bike on a regular basis (to get to the program each day).
  •  planted…anything.
  •  cut down plants, roots and vines.
  •  saw a hawk feast on a squirrel.
  •  planted a real tree; it was a Cherry Tree.
  •  went sailing (on Jamaica  Pond).
  •  pulled out some major roots.
  •  played basketball outside.
  • made friends from a different part of Boston.
  • saw a mouse go inside a hole like Bugs Bunny.
  • dug trenches in my life.
  • pruned a tree.
  • heard the name “Roxbury Pudding Stone” for the big rock wall.
  • appreciated nature; I was just walking and saying to myself “wow”.
  • reflected on my life.

Emerald Necklace Park Maintenance and Restoration

“We want a ground to which people may easily go after their day's work is done, where they may stroll for an hour, seeing, hearing, and feeling nothing of the bustle and jar of the streets”      Frederick Law Olmsted

Olmsted envisioned the parks he designed as places of refuge from the busyness of city life. Today more than ever they provide that important function. The Conservancy's maintenance and restoration projects are done in collaboration with our public partners and accomplished with the help of our volunteers and program participants.
Current projects include:
1. Olmsted Tree Society funded Tree Conditions Assessment and Management Project to restore the park tree canopy.
2. Watering of new and existing plantings during the growing season, as needed;
3. Invasive species removal throughout the park;
4.  Muddy River Cleanup - our biggest volunteer event each spring to remove debris and garbage along the Muddy River and the surrounding parkland.
Budget  $533,612.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental & Urban Beautification
Population Served Families Adults Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 
1.  Implementing the Olmsted Tree Society Management Plan. Current projects include the pruning of trees around Jamaica Pond, phase 1 of the comprehensive tree and woodland work in Olmsted Park, and soil remediation, shrubs and tree planting on the Fenway in the back Bay Fens.
2.  Part of the Olmsted Tree Society's work will include public education activites to educate park users and stewards about the critical importance of the urban tree canopy to the sustainability of the city.  
3.  With the hard work of volunteers and program participants, the Conservancy will bring over 14,000 hours of labor and passion to park restoration and maintenance projects annually.
Program Long-Term Success   
Continual maintenance and restoration, informed by best practices, is the backbone of a park management plan that will sustain a world class park for future generations. The Conservancy's long-term goals include a program that is robust enough to be flexible to meet unexpected as well as planned park maintenance and restoration needs. The Emerald Necklace will be a model urban park system, impeccably maintained and cared for and renowned for its beauty, vibrancy and historical significance.
Program Success Monitored By 
Success will be measured by completion of the work projects outlined above, a 10% increase in numbers of volunteers for park work events; complete funding of the Olmsted Tree Society and implementation of the tree management plan and public education initiatives.
An important measurement of success is the continued improved condition of the parks as measured by feedback from the Conservancy's Park Overseers which is made up of  representatives of 22 park interest groups that meet regularly, park users and our public and private partners.
Examples of Program Success 

Arthur Shurcliff’s original 1930 design for the Kelleher Rose Garden in the Back Bay Fens featured a simple reflecting pool consisting of an 18″ deep basin with a bluestone-capped edge. In 2010 the conservancy initiated a conversation about restoration of the basin with a new fountain and controls, restoring it to the Shurcliff design. The Kelleher fountain renovation was the final piece of an extensive Kelleher Rose Garden restoration begun in 2008. Like their predecessors last seen in the 1950s, four reconstructed cherubs now grace the edge of the fountain and two new planters join the two remaining originals. The project also included a new maintenance shed and extensive underground water filtering system for the fountain. A committee of public and private partners advised the fountain restoration, volunteering to research and review historic plans. The Justine Mee Liff Fund provided the funds for this restoration. A grand re-opening and successful summer – On June 4, 2014 the Conservancy celebrated the official re-opening of the fully restored Kelleher Rose Garden with its new fountain, statuary and planters; soon after, the Garden also provided a spectacular backdrop for the Mayor’s Rose Garden Party. After such an auspicious launch it proved to be a summer of increased attendance at the Garden, the crowds drawn in by the sound and sight of the fountain plume visible above the surrounding hedge.

Public Education and Advocacy

Our public education and advocacy program is varied and responsive to the needs identified by the 22 parks friends groups and neighboring institutions that the Conservancy convenes bimonthly. From advocating to restore the flood capacity of the Muddy River to keeping the Park Rangers on their horses to reviewing the impact on the park of proposed development projects, our advocacy plate is ever-evolving.
Based at the Shattuck Center, we greet over 4,500 visitors annually, provide our park maps and educational activities, and with additional resources we will present rotating exhibits. Currently the parks lack sufficient way-finding and interpretive signage. Signage educates and directs people on how to access park features from ball fields to sailing to wilderness walks and how to move from one park to another. New signage outside the Shattuck Center is the beginning of a more comprehensive park signage program currently in the planning stages.
Budget  $277,557.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Population Served General/Unspecified Families Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 
The Conservancy will continue to be an active presence in advocacy efforts in support of the Casey Arborway, Charlesgate access designs, Rte. 9 crossing and project review of development projects that potentially impact the park, among others.
The Muddy River Restoration Project Phase 1 will "daylight" the river near the Landmarks Center, restore banks and plantings and improve traffic patterns.  The Conservancy will continue to serve as collaborators on this $92 million project. 

We will design and install  rotating exhibit panels and institute a process for reviewing submissions and mounting rotating exhibits to educate the public.

We will continue work to increase way-finding and interpretive signage in the park and work with public partners on a comprehensive park signage plan program.
Program Long-Term Success 

The Muddy River Flood Control and Eco-Restoration Project will transform the park, adding beauty and access while preventing flooding like occurred in 1996 and 1998 that caused nearly $100 million in damages.

The Shattuck Center will feature rotating exhibits to educate park users about the wonders that await them on their visits to the parks and to increase the public’s awareness of the role parks play in a sustainable environment.

Residents and visitors alike will use park signage to plan their park explorations, getting then out of their cars and consuming calories rather than carbon fuels.

Younger patrons will check out the website and phone applications and become park volunteers, stewards and donors, leading to the long-term sustainability of public parks for all the people.
Educational programming will attract park users of all ages.
Program Success Monitored By 
The Conservancy is actively advocating for on on-grade solution to the Casey Overpass restoration project and participating in the public education efforts for the community. We successfully advocated for two pedestrian crossings at Jamaica Pond. 
Visitor requests for maps and information and participation in tours and educational activities is tracked at the Shattuck Visitor Center.
Signage design and installation is ongoing and success will be measured by the successful installation of park signage. 
Examples of Program Success 
In collaboration with park partners, we designed, printed and distributed the first Emerald Necklace Map and Guide, available in English and Spanish and online.  The Emerald Necklace is a 7-mile linear park; this way-finding tool has become indispensable as people explore their through it.  Now it is time to create a similar tool for mobile devices.
We created bird watching backpack for families to "check out" from the visitor center.  Filled with binoculars, kid-friendly bird books and bird activities, they were well-used on recent morning bird-watching walks, each attended by 15-20 bird enthusiasts.
Over 4500 visitors, from 23 countries, 24 states and all throughout the neighborhood, have come to the Shattuck Visitor Center in the 11 months we've been open to the public.

The Maintenance Collaborative Program

The Emerald Necklace Maintenance Collaborative Program provides vocational and job skills training and education in horticulture and landscape maintenance for up to 50 minimum-status incarcerated adult males. Program participants also staff two dedicated maintenance crews for the Emerald Necklace park system on a year-round, daily basis. The Maintenance Collaborative increases participants' job skills and preparedness.  After program completion, over 50% of participants apply for and secure further employment through the Dept. of Corrections work release program, increasing their positive work experiences and building skills that will be applicable upon release.  
The Conservancy works closely with program partners: Dept. of Corrections (DOC), Boston Parks Dept. and Brookline Parks and Open Space Dept.
Budget  $26,390.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental & Urban Beautification
Population Served General/Unspecified Offenders/Ex-Offenders
Program Short-Term Success 
Program Outcomes include:
1.     Provide participants with vocational training and hands-on horticultural training based on the Massachusetts Master Gardener Association's (MMGA) Master Gardener Training Certificate Program;
2.   over 50% of participants move on to the Dept. of Corrections Work Release program;
3.     Provide participants with basic job skills training and certificate of training they can use to help them find jobs in the landscape, green or other professions;
4.     Provide participants a signed certificate of completion indicating the number of training hours earned;
5.     Increase participants' sense of self-confidence and self-esteem by providing a successful job experience prior to release;
6.     Increase regular and specialized project maintenance in the Emerald Necklace in Boston and Brookline;
7.   Maintain strong collaborative relationships among program partners.
Program Long-Term Success 
The program has two primary goals:
1.    Provide training that can lead to post-release employment for ex-inmates. Finding a job is extremely difficult for ex-inmates and the risk of recidivism is high. Research findings show a significant correlation between increased job training opportunities and lower recidivism rates. This program offers a minimum of 24 hours of in-class training and over 300 hours of "hands on" maintenance experience in the parks that can be use to help secure a job in the Dept. of Corrections' work release program and then in the private sector once back in the community.
2.   Continually improve and sustain the Emerald Necklace park system, keeping it well-maintained, safe, welcoming and well-used  by all. We envision a park that is both a destination point and a place of respite from urban living.  As the lungs of the city, the park remains an important wildlife habitat, waterway and natural green space in the midst of a heavily populated area. 
Program Success Monitored By 

Program success is measured by 50% of participants securing jobs in the DOC work release program, successful and timely park project completion, fully subscribed crews, positive participant survey results and the on-going satisfaction of program collaborators.

Completed participant evaluations indicate that participants are gaining new information that will potentially impact their job prospects: 100% report the experience they gain in the program will help them get a job; 97% report learning new landscaping skills; 85% feel the work they do significantly improves the parks’ appearance.
As reported by the Dept. of Corrections, over 60% of participants go from this program to the work release program where they secure daytime, paying jobs in the community and return to the facility after work. This increased level of reponsibility is an important part of the transition as men prepare to return to their families and communities.
Examples of Program Success 
Our Maintenance Collaborative Program instructor relayed the following recent success story:  "One of my recent students came up to me yesterday in the library (of the Pre-Release facility) with a huge grin on his face and said that he had just landed a job through the work release program at BeGood, a new healthy fast food place in Boston.  He told me that he is sure he got his job because of the classes he took!  He said that he was able to discuss organic food as well as local food and told me that he never would have known the difference if he had not taken our horticulture class.  He was so delighted and proud and excited.  He hopes to keep the job upon his release as well." For a  more complete testimonial, please visit the Maintenance Collaborative blog
We are also pleased to report that several participants from the Maintenance Collaborative have secured jobs in the Gardening Department of the local Home Depot.

Volunteer and Park Docent Program

In the face of existing local government budget constraints that place the parks at risk for deferred maintenance and subsequent deterioration, volunteers are essential to our work to preserve the beauty, health, biodiversity, and safety of the parks. Annually Conservancy Volunteers and program participants bring over 12,000 hours of needed labor, energy and expertise to park projects, tours and events and in return, offer city dwellers an opportunity to care for this jewel of a park system.
  • Volunteers in the Parks staff maintenance and restoration projects with over 1500 youth and adults annually;
  • Tuesday’s with Roses provides weekly volunteer maintenance program of the Shurcliff-designed Kelleher Rose Garden in the Back Bay Fens;
  • Our all-volunteer Park Docents Program lead tours through the Back Bay Fens, both for the general public and special interest groups. Free tours  include "The History, Gardens and Changing Landscape of the Fens" and "A winter stroll through the Back Bay Fens".
Budget  $130,849.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental & Urban Beautification
Population Served General/Unspecified Families Adults
Program Short-Term Success 

Program outcomes include:

  • Restored areas remain clear of invasives and native plantings thrive and additional areas are rehabilitated;
  • Maintain and improve the health and beauty of the Kelleher Rose Garden;
  • Expand the free park tours to include specialty tours in each park of the Emerald Necklace;
  • Lead 60 free park tours and presentations annually;
  • Expand cultural capacity to introduce tours in Spanish;
  • Offer free monthly docent-led Winter Lectures on park topics;
  • Foster a greater appreciation and understanding of the Emerald Necklace through volunteer events, public education and interpretative tours to multi-aged groups including school groups, resident and civic groups, garden clubs, and visitors;
  • Enrich the visitor’s experience by sharing knowledge of both park history and current restoration and renewal projects;
  • Increase park stewardship by collecting participants’ contact information and offering future opportunities to get involved caring for the park.
Program Long-Term Success 
Volunteers in the park, whether working on a slopeside planting project, mulching roses, leading a tour for visitors or giving a free lecture on the history of the Back Bay Fens, are stewards of the Emerald Necklace. Long-term goals of this program include creating an ever-expanding community of park stewards committed to the health, beauty and sustainability of this historic urban park.
Research shows that Volunteers are also generous donors and their involvement contributes to the sustainability of both the park and the Conservancy, ensuring our ability to continue maintaining, programming and advocating for the Emerald Necklace.
Program Success Monitored By 
Success is measured by:
1.  An annual increase in numbers of volunteers, volunteer events and participation of volunteers in the Conservancy's annual appeal as tracked through the database and volunteer tracking.
2.  Successful completion of Park Projects, including removal of invasive species, deadheading and pruning of the roses in the Kelleher Rose Garden, planting and erosion control projects throughout the park, maintaining the wildflower meadow and collecting hundreds of bags of trash during the Fall and Spring Muddy River Cleanup days.
3.  Presentation of the Volunteer of the Year Award at the Conservancy's Annual Meeting - presented to both individuals and partnering organizations who go above and beyond for the Emerald Necklace.
4.  Number of tours offered and number of tour participants, as tracked at the visitor center.
5.  Number of public education events (lectures, activities, etc.) led by docents and numbers of participants. 

Examples of Program Success 
  • 60 Blue Cross Blue Shield employees planted over 800 serviceberries and hay-scented ferns around Wards Pond in Olmsted Park in the pouring rain and everyone left with a dirty hands and a smile. 
  • 225 volunteers at the Spring Muddy River Cleanup spent a Saturday morning clearing trash and raking leaves.
  • In 2014 the docents  led 41 tours for over 665 people, contributed to keep the Shattuck Emerald Necklace Visitor Center open after hours and facilitated public events ranging from free weekend and evening tours, to helping at Conservancy events and participating in the Conservancy's Boston Athletic Association's Half Marathon in October of 2014. 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

We have seen tremendous progress in the restoration of the Muddy River – with Phase One completed, resulting in the daylighting of the river and the creation of the Justine Mee Liff Park, through which the Muddy once again flows as an open river channel. The effort significantly contributes to the Conservancy’s continuing efforts to connect the missing links along the Necklace. The Conservancy continues to be a strong proponent for funding of the second phase of the restoration which calls for bank-to-bank dredging and replanting along the river through the Fens and the Riverway into the town of Brookline.

Work of the Olmsted Tree Society took hold during its first year with the completion of the Emerald Necklace Tree Management Plan and the start of the maintenance of heritage and specimen trees. Initial projects included pruning around Jamaica Pond and extensive tree and woodlands work in Olmsted Park. The Management Plan is a detailed work plan that directs the work of all our program participants. In addition to work needed for individual trees, it also shows the conditions of the woodlands in Olmsted and Franklin Parks, where invasive plants are out-competing native species and choking the woodlands. If left unchecked, invasives will continue to spread, killing trees and native plants, blocking paths and making the woodlands unhealthy and impassable.


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Karen Mauney-Brodek
CEO Term Start Aug 2016
CEO Email
CEO Experience
Karen served as a program and project manager for the City of San Francisco Parks Department where she led outreach, communications, planning, design and construction of numerous public park renovation projects and initiatives, including internal and external stakeholder management. Previous to her ten years with San Francisco Parks, she was chief of the Design Build Program in the Design & Construction Division of the New York Department of Parks & Recreation, managing a $15–20 million annual program which selected, designed, and built or rebuilt all or portions of 100 parks and playgrounds annually. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and dual master’s degrees in Architecture, and City and Regional Planning/Urban Design from the University of California, Berkeley.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Ms. Simone Auster Sept 1999 June 2007
Ms. Julie Crockford Aug 2007 Jan

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Mr. Kent Jackson Director of Education Director of Education, Kent Jackson, is an experienced program administrator and seasoned environmental educator who has successfully created, developed, directed, and evaluated environmental youth leadership programs over the past 18 years. Kent has previously worked with The Appalachian Mountain Club, Eagle Eye Institute, The Trustees of Reservations and the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. He is a certified American Canoe Association Instructor, a Wilderness First Responder and a Leave No Trace Master Educator.
Ms. Veronika Trufanova Director of Development & External Relations

Veronika joined the Emerald Necklace Conservancy in January 2018 after over six years at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, where she led the Institutional Giving program and raised significant unrestricted, project-based and campaign support. Prior to that, she worked on the development team at the Harvard Art Museums, in roles encompassing database maintenance, development operations, annual fund, membership and donor programs. Veronika is responsible for overseeing the Conservancy’s fundraising, outreach and external relations programs, including the Annual Fund, Major Gifts, 20th Anniversary Campaign, Corporate and Foundation Grants, Liff Fund Special Events and PR & communications functions. 


Award Awarding Organization Year
Circle the City is a 2012 Signature Urban Poject of the America's Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative 2012
Thiess International Riverprize for partnership with Charles River Watershed Assoc. International River Foundation 2011
Top Ten Great Public Spaces American Planning Association 2010
Editor's Choice 400 Not-to-Miss Attractions and Events Yankee Magazine Travel 2005
Elizabeth Armstrong-Cheswick Garcia Environmental Awareness Award New England Spring Flower Show 2001


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


The Conservancy collaborates with our public partners: the City of Boston, the Commonwealth and the town of Brookline.  Additionally, we work closely with neighboring institutions and park groups represented on our  22 member Park Overseers to accomplish park restoration and maintenance and present programs to the public.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 8
Number of Part Time Staff 2
Number of Volunteers 1,200
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 50%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 9
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 7
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Bi-Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Mr. Benjamin Taylor
Board Chair Company Affiliation Former publisher, Boston Globe
Board Chair Term Nov 2007 - Jan 2019
Board Co-Chair Mr. John R Cook
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation Wendling Strategies
Board Co-Chair Term Jan 2014 - Jan 2018

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Peter Barber Retired President, New Boston Development Partners Voting
Mrs. Ellie Chu Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. Chris Cook Commissioner, Boston Parks and Recreation Exofficio
Mr. John R. Cook Wendling Strategies, LLC Voting
Mr. James Cornell Fiduciary Wealth Partners LLC Voting
Mr. Chris DeSisto Maple Hurst Builders Voting
Gov. Michael Dukakis Northeastern University NonVoting
Ms. Courtney Forrester Sweet Boston Voting
Ms. Sarah Freeman Project Coordinator, Harvard University School of Public Health Voting
Ms. Erin Gallentine Brookline Division of Parks and Open Space Exofficio
Ms. Marjorie Greville New England Wildflower Society Board of Directors Voting
Mr. Martin Hall Ropes & Gray Voting
Ms. Susan Helms Daley Educator, Docent Voting
Ms. Julie Hume Gordon Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Beth Krudys Boston Red Sox Voting
Ms. Sofia Lingos-Papaliodis Trident Legal LLC Voting
Dr. Barbara Millen Millennium Prevention, Inc. Voting
Mr. Lee Moreau Continuum Innovation Voting
Ms. Allison O'Neil Partner, Locke Lord LLP Voting
Mr. Andy Pappastergion Director of Public Works, Brookline Exofficio
Ms. Adrienne Penta Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. Voting
Ms. Katherine Post JP Morgan Voting
Ms. JoAnn Robinson Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Voting
Mr. Leo Roy Commissioner, Department of Conservation and Recreation Exofficio
Ms. Wendy Shattuck Community Volunteer NonVoting
Mr. Peter Sougarides Samuels & Associates Voting
Mr. John Sullivan Chief Engineer, Boston Water and Sewer Commission Exofficio
Mr. Leo Swift Retired CEO of Energy New England Voting
Mr. Benjamin Taylor former publisher, Boston Globe Voting
Dr. Linda Edmonds Turner President Emerita, Urban College of Boston Voting
Ms. Kate Velasquez-Heller Goulston & Storrs Voting
Mr. Carroll Williamson Park Overseer Chair, Friends of the Muddy River Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Randall Albright Charlesgate Alliance NonVoting
Ms. Elizabeth Bertolozzi Fenway Garden Society NonVoting
Mr. Jeffrey Ferris Emerald Necklace Greenway Project NonVoting
Ms. Sarah Freeman Arborway Coalition NonVoting
Ms. Katie Getchell Museum of Fine Arts NonVoting
Ms. Kathy Greenough Fenway CDC NonVoting
Ms. Janice Henderson Medical and Academic Scientific Community Organization NonVoting
Mr. John Linehan Franklin Park Zoo/Zoo New England NonVoting
Mr. James Maguire Jamaica Pond Association NonVoting
Ms. Arlene Mattison Friends of Leverett Pond NonVoting
Ms. Taylor Mortell The Fenway Alliance NonVoting
Ms. Sally Muspratt Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts NonVoting
Ms. Peggy Reiser Boston Committee of the Garden Club of America NonVoting
Ms. JoAnn Robinson Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum NonVoting
Ms. Elena Saporta Boston Society of Landscape Architects NonVoting
Ms. Marilyn Ray Smith Brookline GreenSpace Alliance NonVoting
Ms. Kate Stonefoot Arnold Arboretum NonVoting
Ms. Fredericka Veikley Fenway Civic Association NonVoting
Ms. Samantha Wechsler Franklin Park Coalition NonVoting
Ms. Susan White Jamaica Hills Association NonVoting
Mr. Carroll Williamson Friends of the Muddy River NonVoting
Mr. Gerald Wright Friends of Jamaica Pond NonVoting

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 26
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 16
Male: 11
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 75%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 89%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 65%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Audit
  • Board Governance
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Education
  • Executive
  • Finance
  • Human Resources / Personnel
  • Investment
  • Operations
  • Project Oversight

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The all-volunteer Board of Directors is comprised of 25 voting members, 2 life trustees, and 5 ex-officio members and has a committee structure that includes Audit, Executive, Governance, Finance, Personnel, Advancement, Liff Fund, and Project Review Committees. In 2018, there is also a 20th Anniversary Committee. The full board meets quarterly; the Executive Committee monthly excepting months that have full board meetings; other committees meet regularly and as needed. The Liff Fund Standing Committee, comprised of board and Liff Committee members, is responsible for overseeing and making recommendations to the Board on matters relating to the Liff Fund, a quasi-endowment reserved for special restoration and capital park projects.  
The Conservancy is also served by an active Park Overseers group which meets bi-monthly and is comprised of representatives of 22 community-based groups and organizations around the park system who focus on system-wide parks concerns and undertake collaborative park projects. The Park Overseers have 3 working groups: Education and Outreach, Access, and Restoration and Maintenance, which meet bi-monthly; the full Park Overseers group meets monthly. The Conservancy's Stewardship Council, made up of individuals with special skills and interests related to the Emerald Necklace, serves in an advisory capacity for the organization.

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $1,910,297 $1,813,175 $1,498,652
Total Expenses $1,687,443 $1,577,368 $1,129,671

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $982,111 $1,091,888 $735,817
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $44,250 -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses $337,367 $283,533 $30,335
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $546,569 $416,531 $732,500
Revenue In-Kind -- $21,223 --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $1,060,384 $1,001,643 $654,505
Administration Expense $149,793 $254,933 $137,951
Fundraising Expense $477,266 $320,792 $337,215
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.13 1.15 1.33
Program Expense/Total Expenses 63% 64% 58%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 31% 21% 23%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $5,446,121 $5,224,615 $4,890,005
Current Assets $487,213 $619,348 $455,036
Long-Term Liabilities $48,750 $48,750 $0
Current Liabilities $119,443 $120,791 $70,738
Total Net Assets $5,277,928 $5,055,074 $4,819,267

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value $723,365.00
Spending Policy Income plus capital appreciation
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 4.08 5.13 6.43

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 1% 1% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

In 2013, the Board voted to change FYE to 9/30.  The 2013 audit therefore encompasses a 9 month period and does not include any revenue from Oct- Dec., the period associated with the highest giving by individuals to charity. The change aligns the fiscal year with the programming year and allows for better organizational planning. 
Annual fundraising expenses are primarily for the annual Justine Mee Liff Fund gala, the Party in the Park. Holding the event in the park is integral to the event concept and success. Because there is no built structure in the park that would hold one of Boston's premier gala events for approximately 800 people, it is necessary to create a temporary space in the park with tents, flooring and other amenities, accounting for a large portion of the expense. The Liff Fund was established to honor the legacy of Boston's former Parks Commissioner, Justine Liff.  Proceeds from the board restricted Liff Fund are used to support special capital projects in the Emerald Necklace.
In recognition of the growing loss of trees in greater Boston’s urban canopy, the Justine Mee Liff Fund has announced the launch of the Olmsted Tree Society, an initiative to raise an initial $1 million to replace damaged trees and plant new ones in more than 1,100 acres of public land in the Emerald Necklace park system.

Foundation Comments

Financial data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's audited financials. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under Individuals when the breakout was not available.
Please note, the organization changed its fiscal year in 2013, from Jan. - December (calendar year) to Oct. 1 - Sept. 30. As such, the fiscal year 2013 data in the charts and graphs above reflects 9 months, covering Jan. 1, 2013 - Sept. 30, 2013. As well, the 2013 990 and audit posted above cover 9 months.
The Other for category for FY14 reflects Special Projects revenue. 


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?