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Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

Since 2001 the Esplanade Association has been dedicated to making life better on the Esplanade. In support of its mission, The Esplanade Association strives to:
- Revitalize and care for the park’s natural environment and historic character.
- Restore and enhance the park’s amenities.
- Improve the park visitors’ experience
- Offer a wide variety of free educational and recreational programming.
- Advocate for public policy and resource allocation to support the park.

Mission Statement

Since 2001 the Esplanade Association has been dedicated to making life better on the Esplanade. In support of its mission, The Esplanade Association strives to:
- Revitalize and care for the park’s natural environment and historic character.
- Restore and enhance the park’s amenities.
- Improve the park visitors’ experience
- Offer a wide variety of free educational and recreational programming.
- Advocate for public policy and resource allocation to support the park.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2013 to June 30, 2014
Projected Income $1,100,000.00
Projected Expense $750,994.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Volunteer and Community Fitness Programs

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2010 (%)

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


Mission Statement

Since 2001 the Esplanade Association has been dedicated to making life better on the Esplanade. In support of its mission, The Esplanade Association strives to:
- Revitalize and care for the park’s natural environment and historic character.
- Restore and enhance the park’s amenities.
- Improve the park visitors’ experience
- Offer a wide variety of free educational and recreational programming.
- Advocate for public policy and resource allocation to support the park.

Background Statement

Ten years ago the Esplanade stood neglected, unsafe and lacking in important park visitor amenities. With its high use and lack of adequate resources, this park was in need of help. A group of local citizens responded to this need and formed the park’s friends group, The Esplanade Association. The first project reopened a playground, and ten years later this park has helped to repair docks, rebuild athletic fields, improve the health of trees, install water fountains, trash compactors and exercise equipment, refresh and reopen bathrooms, reconstruct the boating docks and produce a user survey and cultural landscape report.
The Esplanade Association is a staunch advocate for investment in and protection of the park and promotes a public process for proposed changes to the park. The organization has worked with public agencies and community organizations to advocate for  improvements such as better pedestrian and bicyclist access and ADA compliance from the Longfellow Bridge to parkland on the Boston and Cambridge sides of the river. Each year, the organization brings around 2,000 volunteers to the park to help with its maintenance and beautification, saving the State more than $165,000 each year. The Esplanade Association has worked with dozens of organizations and local businesses to provide free programs at the park to promote good health, enjoyment of the outdoors and to provide an opportunity to try fitness activities in the company of a very diverse population of participants. In order to increased access to the Teddy Ebersol's Red Sox Fields, The Esplanade Association has been working with Associated Grant Makers' Summer Fund to bring campers to the park and to enjoy structured outdoor games and sports.
Since 2001, The Esplanade Association has grown from a volunteer-led organization to add a staff of six professionals and a board with expertise in management, public policy and park restoration.  The organization takes a long-term view to park restoration and has operating and financial plans in place to meet annual and longer-term goals for park restoration and for organizational growth and improvement.

Impact Statement

In the past year The Esplanade Association's top accomplishments include:
Critical Garden Care: The Esplanade Association continued an innitiative to green the park using sustainable methods.  By employing a full time and seasonal horticulturist, and hosting a record 2,800 we planted 4 new perennial beds and re-vamped the Clarendon St. Garden.
Healthy, Fit and Fun The Esplanade Association hosted almost 6,000 for Healthy, Fit & Fun.  Free programs, such as Zumba, yoga, Crossfit, boot camp,and running at the park to promote healthy lifestyles for people of all ages and from all neighborhoods. 
Children in the Park: TEA has partnered with Associated Grant Makers to provide a series of fun, outdoor activities such as kid-friendly Zumba and cardio-yoga, water games and more, to children from inner-city neighborhoods. In 2010 and 2011 nearly 2,000 youth were served.
Community Boating Docks The Esplanade Association secured the State’s commitment and helped raise funds for complete replacement of the docks and addition of universal access.
Greening the Esplanade Ten willow trees were planted to replace damaged trees and several hundred trees were pruned to improve their health.
In the coming year, top goals for The Esplanade Association include:

Revitalize the Eliot Memorial The Esplanade Association is re-landscaping and revitalizing this popular area of the park. This  initiative will serve  as a demonstration project, providing vital information on the financial and operational requirements of a better planned, planted and maintained park and guide future restoration projects. The addition of a horticulturist will ensure better maintenance here and throughout the park.

New Esplanade Cafe: Planning is underway for a new cafe building with more visitor amenities and better food choices. 
Expanded Program Outreach More resources have been invested to partner with youth-serving and health organizations in under-served neighborhoods in order to expand access to free and fun health-promoting activities at the Esplanade. 
In 2013, the Esplanade Association continued to employ a full-time and a seasonal horticulturalist to focus on  beautifying and improving the health of the park plants and trees. Working with staff from the Department of Conservation & Recreation, the horticulturists focus on tasks such as pruning trees, weeding,  planting, managing a composting program, and supervising a volunteer program.  In 2013, 3,000 volunteers provided 9,000 hours of meaningful work in the park. 
Eliot Memorial
The Esplanade Association was fortunate to receive matching funds from the Department of Conservation & Recreation to allow for the revitalization of the Eliot Memorial plaza area. $380,000 in private contributions are leveraging public monies.  When complete, the area will be a wonderful gathering spot in a prime location with river views from a re-opened overlook.  Groundbreaking occurred in September 2013, with completion of the project expected by the beginning of summer 2014.
Hatch Shell Oval Lawn Restoration
On October 18th, the Esplanade Association , in partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation officially launched a capital campaign for the restoration of the Hatch Shell area.  It is our goal to raise $4 million dollars to fully restore the Hatch Shell area, and we need your help and commitment to reach that goal. 
Garden Improvement  
5 perennial beds improved.  In addition to the re-vamping of the Clarendon St Garden, minor improvements were made to several perennial beds including those at the Dartmouth Street Comfort Station, Lotta Fountain, Storrow Memorial, and the Oliver Wendell Holmes Memorial. Perennial bed improvements will continue in 2014 in the form of soil amendments and new plant installations.
Healthy, Fit & Fun
6,000 people joined us on the Esplanade in FY 2013 for recreational and exercise programs, all held outside, and all free of charge.  The Esplanade Association recruits instructors; works with the Department of Conservation and Recreation to develop the schedule and ensure the appropriate use of the park; and performs registration, setup, cleanup, and supervision.  This year, we will provide expanded offerings including tai chi, dancing, and a community walk.

Needs Statement

Landscape Management Plan  Establish and manage a Projects Standards Committee to assess feasibility and prioritize restoration projects and oversee development of a Landscape Management Plan to guide park maintenance and project design. $100,000
Revitalize Eliot Memorial  Restore the landscape near Community Boating, adding plant diversity and restored features, and institute a maintenance system. $400,000
Build New Esplanade Cafe: An economic impact study is needed to assess value of added amenities and programs to the Hatch Shell along with planning and design of the building and surrounding landscape. $250,000.
Enhance Park Maintenance  Establish a regimen of regular tree pruning, design and maintenance of planting beds and soil health; hire a horticulturist. Annual cost for staff, project materials and maintenance: $200,000
Program Staff  & Outreach Add bilingual staff to recruit and manage partners and volunteers to deliver free, health promoting programs at the park and expand outreach to senior citizens and youth serving organizations in under-served neighborhoods. Annual cost: $50,000

CEO Statement

The Esplanade Association is the only park friends group that is focused exclusively on improving the health and beauty of the historic Charles River Esplanade and restoring its historic features. The park is visited by an estimated 3 million individuals each year and is used by many institutions for fundraising and other community events, including the Fourth of July concert and fireworks. These events take a toll on the park; yet, State systems are not in place to recoup the cost of repairing the damage caused by large scale events at the park. The Esplanade Association raises funds to help with the park's maintenance and to launch major restoration projects.
Recently, The Esplanade Association presented a vision for how the park could look given adequate resources, proper planning and public will. Recommendations include better access to and navigation through the park, improved signage, separation of paths for bicyclists/roller bladers and for pedestrians, revitalization of the park's landscape, green restoration of dilapidated or under-used buildings for year-round, multi-purpose community uses, safer, ADA-compliant pedestrian bridges and reclamation of park land being used for non-park purposes.
The Esplanade Association is working to build its capacity in landscape operations, fundraising, board development, and government relations. The Esplanade Association is a small organization with big dreams and big plans for making the Esplanade a beautiful and fully accessible park for a very diverse group of park visitors.
We are thankful to the thousands of volunteers who work with us each year to help maintain the park. They pick up trash, paint benches, remove invasive plants along the shore and help beautify the planting beds. Volunteers create an important stewardship community and add their voice in support of needed restoration, maintenance and protection of the park. 

Board Chair Statement


Geographic Area Served

City of Boston- Citywide (please select all areas as well)
City of Boston- Allston/ Brighton
City of Boston- Back Bay
City of Boston- Beacon Hill/ West End
City of Boston- Charlestown
City of Boston- Chinatown/ Leather District
City of Boston- North Dorchester
City of Boston- South Dorchester
City of Boston- Downtown
City of Boston- East Boston
City of Boston- Fenway/ Kenmore
City of Boston- Hyde Park
City of Boston- Jamaica Plain
City of Boston- Mattapan
City of Boston- Mission Hill
City of Boston- North End
City of Boston- Roslindale
City of Boston- Roxbury
City of Boston- South Boston
City of Boston- South End/Bay Village
City of Boston- Harbor Islands
City of Boston- West Roxbury

Organization Categories

  1. Environment - Environmental Beautification
  2. Recreation & Sports - Parks and Playgrounds
  3. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Arts,Culture & Humanities NEC

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



Volunteer and Community Fitness Programs

Volunteer Program  Individuals or groups from schools, community organizations and corporations can help maintain and beautify the park. Volunteers receive professional supervision by our project manager and horticulturists and are provided with tools. The volunteer program offers many opportunities for community service as well as opportunities to learn about the Esplanade's landscape and horticulture as well as its resources.
Healthy, Fit & Fun  Fitness activities, such as yoga, Zumba and tai chi, are provided by local fitness clubs and studios during summer months. All activities are free to the public and to people of all ages and abilities.
Children in the Park  Children, ages 5-17 years, from inner city camps are brought to the Esplanade for structured outdoor games and sports  to promote good health and an appreciation of public parks.
Budget  $50,000.00
Category  Recreation & Sports, General/Other Leisure & Recreational Activities
Population Served Families K-12 (5-19 years) Adults
Program Short-Term Success 
1. Program participants increase their enjoyment of the park and feel they are taking action to improve their health.
2. Participants gain a better understanding of the park's needs and The Esplanade Association's role in caring for it.
Program Long-Term Success 
1. Use of the park by children in under-served communities increases each year by 15%
2. More people from under-served neighborhoods use the park for recreation and activities to promote good health.
3. A stewardship community is created that helps to care for the park and contributes to efforts to restore the park.
4. Greater awareness is created about The Esplanade Association's role in caring for the park and membership increases to 2,000 and by 15% annually thereafter.
Program Success Monitored By 
1. Number of participants as volunteers or as event participants increase from week to week and year to year.
2. Number of partners involved in delivering the fitness programs increases each year.
3. Number of members increase each year.
Examples of Program Success 
Each year, more than 2,000 individuals volunteer to help maintain the Esplanade. Many individuals, organizations and businesses come back each year because they like the opportunity to give back to the park and they see the positive results of their labor right away. Volunteers  receive supervision and support from our project manager and horticulturist and are provided with tools to do the work. Many individuals state that they volunteer as a way to support our advocacy, project and program work.
The increasing number of participants in our summer programs is a testament to their popularity and of the public's desire for fun, free outdoor exercise activities. We had nearly 5,000 participants at our Healthy, Fit & Fun, Sunday Fun in the Park and Children in the Park programs last summer. This summer, participation in CHiP has increased 87% from 800 to 1,500 youth. This speaks to the desire and need for free, outdoor activities for  youth.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The City of Boston's Mayor and many other public leaders are expressing support for healthier lifestyles and urging citizens to exercise more. Since its inception, The Esplanade Association has been offering free activities to the public to promote exercise and healthy lifestyles and a greater appreciation of the Esplanade as a great outdoor space. During the summer we partner with numerous fitness clubs and exercise instructors to offer fun exercise classes, such as Zumba and yoga and running clubs, in a group setting. As many as 5,000 people of all ages and abilities participate in these popular programs.
We are faced with opportunities and challenges. First, we find that the local fitness clubs are eager to work with us to promote good health, so we have an abundance of support to provide professionally led classes. Our greatest challenge is to find the financial support to cover the cost of equipment and staff required to plan and coordinate the activities and partners. We continue to apply for grants from foundations and to seek corporate support for our programs.
An ongoing challenge we face is the upkeep of the grounds where programs are held. In order to address this problem, The Esplanade Association recruits around 2,000 volunteers each year to help with routine maintenance. We also raise funds for tree care and turf care and have added a horticulturist to our staff to monitor conditions of the park's landscape and to make improvements to planting beds and grassy areas. We have formed a landscape planning committee to establish landscape standards and guidelines and to prioritize landscape projects.
We believe that if more people know about the park and its needs, about The Esplanade Association and our mission and about the opportunities that exist to use the wonderful resources of the Esplanade, greater opportunities will be created to increase support for the park and for our work. We have been fortunate to receive free advertising space from the MBTA to post ads about our summer programs and mission on the Orange and Red Lines trains. We also have been granted permission by the Dept. of Conservation and Recreation to place posters at the park's kiosks in order to advertise our summer programs and to raise awareness about our projects and advocacy. 


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Kate Fichter
CEO Term Start Mar 2014
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience

The Esplanade Association, the non-profit friends’ group that helps to support the landmark Charles River Esplanade park, has named Katherine Fichter to be its new Executive Director. A graduate of the University of Chicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ms. Fichter has extensive experience in civic design, project management, and long-term planning, having worked for both the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. A native Bostonian, she grew up in the Back Bay and has known the Esplanade since her childhood. Ms. Fichter will be the third Executive Director of the Esplanade Association since its formation in 2001.

“We are extremely excited about Kate’s joining us. Her broad planning skill, organizing experience, and enthusiasm for the park are just the right elements to move us forward in making life better on the Esplanade,” noted Margo Newman, Board Chair.

“The Esplanade Association has a great gain here,” said Congressman Mike Capuano. “Kate is an able transportation planner and her work on projects such as the Green Line Extension was terrific. Importantly, Kate has always ensured that all voices are heard, all viewpoints and suggestions are considered – and that projects continue to move forward. I offer my congratulations to Kate and the Esplanade Association.”

Ms. Fichter was selected after an extensive search led by Isaacson Miller, a leading national executive search firm. Her duties will include direction of all the operations of the organization, including capital projects, program activities, park care, and advocacy.

“With a lifelong love of the Esplanade, I am eager to strengthen the resources of the Esplanade Association, joining its many partners to make this wonderful place even better,” said Ms. Fichter. “The Association has accomplished a great deal already, and pledges itself to work with the community of its friends and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation to protect and improve the Esplanade.”

“DCR has worked closely with the Esplanade Association to protect, promote, and enhance this precious cultural, historical, and recreational resource,” said DCR Commissioner Jack Murray. ” We congratulate Katherine Fichter on becoming TEA’s new Executive Director. Many of us at DCR have enjoyed working with Kate in her previous capacity at MassDOT, and we look forward to working with her as TEA’s new leader.”

Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


The Esplanade Association collaborates with numerous organizations to advocate for protection of and investment in urban green spaces. Partners include: Charles River Watershed Association, Charles River Conservancy, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Livable Streets, Walk Boston, and many others. The Esplanade Association partners with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation to make improvements to the park and to plan major restoration of important park features and amenities. We also work with numerous local businesses and fitness clubs to offer a series of health-promoting activities for free at the park each summer.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The Esplanade Association has embarked on a long-term plan for significant improvements to the Esplanade. This requires research and analysis of park programming, economic impact studies, prioritization of projects, fundraising for capital improvements, project planning and design, public meetings, agency approvals and advocacy. The organization's staff is operating at more than full capacity; however, The Esplanade Association has been able to recruit many professional volunteers to serve on project planning committees and to provide expertise in project areas such as urban design, transportation engineering, landscape architecture and design, horticulture, environmental sciences related to water, and much more. 

Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 4
Number of Part Time Staff 3
Number of Volunteers 3,000
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 6
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 5
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers --
Management Succession Plan --
Business Continuity of Operations Plan --
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy --
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 Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Ms. Margo Levine Newman
Board Chair Company Affiliation Retired
Board Chair Term July 2010 - June 2014
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Terence K Ankner The Law Offices of Partridge, Ankner & Horstmann, LLP --
Mr. Dan Capobianco Law Office Daniel B. Capobianco --
Mr. Fritz Casselman Public Health Consultant --
Jessica Crimmins Santander Voting
Mr. Chris Egan Carruth Investments Voting
Ms. Kristine Glynn Suffolk University & Glynn Associates --
David Miree Santander Voting
Mr. Frank Panayotou UBS Voting
Mr. Anthony Pangaro Millennium Partners --
Ms. Margaret Pokorny Retired --
Mr. John Shields ShieldsDESIGN LLC --
Mr. David Solomon Solomon Fund, Inc. --
Ms. Sandy Steele Law Offices of Sandra C. Steele --
Ms. Alicia Towns Franken Community Volunteer Voting
Emi Winterer Retired Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 14
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 7
Male: 9
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % 76%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions --
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Board Governance
  • Executive
  • Finance
  • Project Oversight
  • Public Policy/Advocacy

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2010 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2013 to June 30, 2014
Projected Income $1,100,000.00
Projected Expense $750,994.00
Form 990s

2012 990

2011 990

2010 990

2009 990

Audit Documents

2012 Audit

2011 Audit

2010 Financial review

2009 Financial review

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2012 2011 2010
Total Revenue $542,216 $634,050 $426,164
Total Expenses $702,021 $688,078 $405,206

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2012 2011 2010
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- $242,000 $120,000
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $512,698 $118,293 $206,695
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses $1,620 $1,865 $2,761
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $21,852 $271,892 $96,708
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $6,046 -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2012 2011 2010
Program Expense $364,529 $385,712 $152,109
Administration Expense $173,308 $120,262 $124,975
Fundraising Expense $164,184 $182,104 $128,122
Payments to Affiliates -- $0 $0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.77 0.92 1.05
Program Expense/Total Expenses 52% 56% 38%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 31% 29% 30%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2012 2011 2010
Total Assets $409,967 $520,294 $575,416
Current Assets $400,300 $514,741 $574,782
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $66,743 $17,265 $18,359
Total Net Assets $343,224 $503,029 $557,057

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2012 2011 2010
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy --
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
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 2012 2011 2010
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 6.00 29.81 31.31

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2012 2011 2010
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The organization's budget includes capital expenses, such as funds for tree pruning, athletic fields maintenance, planning and design, project materials and equipment as well as the day to day operating expenses, such as salaries and rent.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above are per the organization's audited financials and reviews. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals as the breakout was not available.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.


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?