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Friends of the Public Garden

 69 Beacon Street
 Boston, MA 02108
[P] (617) 723-8144
[F] (617) 723-8127
friendsofthepublicgarden.org
[email protected]
Mary Halpin
Facebook Twitter
INCORPORATED: 1975
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 23-7451432

LAST UPDATED: 09/06/2017
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

Mission StatementMORE »

The mission of the Friends of the Public Garden is to preserve, protect and enhance Boston's first public parks - the Boston Common, the Public Garden and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall - in partnership with the City of Boston's  Parks and Recreation Department.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Friends of the Public Garden is to preserve, protect and enhance Boston's first public parks - the Boston Common, the Public Garden and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall - in partnership with the City of Boston's  Parks and Recreation Department.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2017 to Dec 31, 2017
Projected Income $2,321,550.00
Projected Expense $2,098,690.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Advocacy for the Parks
  • Public Programs on the Common
  • Sculpture Care in the Parks
  • Tree Care

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

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


Overview

Mission Statement

The mission of the Friends of the Public Garden is to preserve, protect and enhance Boston's first public parks - the Boston Common, the Public Garden and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall - in partnership with the City of Boston's  Parks and Recreation Department.

Background Statement

The Friends of the Public Garden (The Friends) is one of the oldest parks advocacy groups in the nation, formed when the Public Garden and Boston Common were almost beyond saving. In the early 1970s, the Friends joined other civic groups to defeat the Park Plaza Urban Renewal Plan, a proposal for five massive towers that would have cast damaging shadows over the Garden and Common and brought untenable levels of traffic to the area and the parks. Since then the Friends has worked closely with the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Dept. to preserve, protect and enhance all three of Boston’s first public parks -- the Common, the Public Garden and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. Over the years, the Friends has created a highly effective public/private partnership with the City by encouraging citizen rticipation, conducting improvement projects, sponsoring educational programs and family events in the parks, and providing much needed financial support for activities beyond the capacity of the Parks Dept. This includes tree care, bench replacement, monument conservation, and fountain restoration and maintenance, ensuring that the critical natural and structural features of these parks receive the vital care that they need. The Parks Department does all that it can to maintain these properties but will never have the resources to meet their full needs or to bring about major enhancements to these parks.


Impact Statement

1.)   Successful completion of $4 million multi-year fundraising campaign to revitalize Brewer Fountain Plaza and Parkland on Boston Common, and completion of final phase of construction at the end of 2014. Creation of one of the most popular outdoor spaces in the city!

 

2.)   Completion of first-ever five year Strategic Plan to guide the Friends work in parks advocacy and care, and to collaborate with the City to achieve higher levels of excellence in these iconic  and heavily used greenspaces.

 

3.) Completed the fundraising campaign and design plans for the restoration of the George Robert White Memorial fountain in the Garden.

 

4.) Completion of third phase of multi-year renewal of Boylston Street border landscape in the Garden, including correction of longstanding drainage issues.

 

5.) Creation of community advisory Council to provide advice and support in strengthening the Friends mission on behalf of the parks and the people they serve.

6.) Created a successful docent program offering tours of the Public Garden. 
 

Needs Statement

1.) To continue to maintain the amenities at the Brewer Fountain Plaza on Boston Common. Funding needs to be secured to support the activation of the plaza: tables, chairs and umbrellas; piano music at lunchtime and jazz concerts on Thursday evenings; and the outdoor reading room providing free periodicals for plaza visitors.

2.) To implement a soils and turf renovation program on the Common, and ensure that the Friends significant investment in turf renovation on the Mall is protected through regular maintenance.

3.) To increase our educational programming including completing the labeling of all trees in the Public Garden.

4.) To work with the Parks Department in implementing our Strategic Plan goal of raising the standards of excellence in all three parks.

5.) To expand our base of support throughout the adjacent neighborhoods of our parks, and engage the growing parks community in advocating for their protection and enhancement.


CEO Statement

The Friends of the Public Garden is the first parks advocacy organization in the region, and one of the first in the country. Each year the Friends spends close to $1 million to preserve and restore the essential elements of these three parks for future generations. In addition to ongoing care of the 1,700 trees and over 40 pieces of public art, the Friends undertakes major capital improvement projects to enhance the visitor experience in the parks.  

Board Chair Statement

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Geographic Area Served

Greater Boston Region-All Neighborhoods
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Organization Categories

  1. Environment - Alliances & Advocacy
  2. Public & Societal Benefit -
  3. -

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

No

Programs

Advocacy for the Parks

The Friends monitor and voice concern about conditions, misuse, developments, legislation and encroachments that affect the parks as needed. The Friends has been very successful in galvanizing citizen engagement in voicing concern on issues negatively impacting the parks. 



Budget  $0
Category  Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy, General/Other
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success 
The leadership of the Friends has currently been engaged in hearings regarding new shadow bill legislation put forward by local representative Martha Walz. 
Program Long-Term Success  Over past 41 years, the Friends has been highly effective at creating a public/private partnership with the City by encouraging citizen participation in advocating for the protection and care of the parks,  conducting improvement projects, sponsoring educational programs and family events in the parks, and
providing much needed financial support for activities beyond the capacity of
the Parks Department.
Program Success Monitored By  --
Examples of Program Success  In the 1970s, the Friends joined other civic groups to defeat the Park Plaza Urban Renewal Plan, a proposal for five massive towers that would have cast damaging shadows over the Common and Garden and brought untenable levels of traffic to the area and the parks. Since then the Friends has worked closely with the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department to preserve, protect and enhance all three of Boston’s first public parks--the Common, the Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall, however the Friends will always engage local citizens in voicing concern on issues impacting the parks.

Public Programs on the Common

The Friends host educational and social programs and events on Boston Common for the youth of the City. The annual Duckling Day event charges a nominal fee for an entire family to participate, and the other events described below are free of charge for the children who participate. 
Budget  $42,000
Category  Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years) Infants to Preschool (under age 5) Families
Program Short-Term Success 
In May, the annual Duckling Day event brings together over 1,500 participants, primarily families, to walk in the footsteps of the famous ducklings from Robert McCloskey’s book, Make Way for Ducklings. Before the parade, entertainment and fun activities for children and parents is provided. The goals of this day are to celebrate the wonderful piece of children's literature, public art - the wonderful ducklings sculpture, and to foster an awareness and concern for the preservation of the Public Garden. 

The Friends’ interactive history programMaking History on the Common is open to 3rd-5thgraders from the Boston Public Schools. In 2011 and 2012 more than 1,800 school children came to the Common from schools in almost every neighborhood in the City including: Roxbury, Dorchester, East Boston, Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, Allston, Chinatown and Roslindale. 

In 2011, the tradition of Puppets on the Common, was revived by the Friends and two shows were held on the Parkman bandstand in July attracting 100 guests. In 2012, that number grew to 350 insuring that this  tradition will continue!  

In addition, the annual Friends’ Frog Pond skating program brings several hundred Boston Public School children to the Common to skate, free of charge, each Winter.


Program Long-Term Success 
The Friends goals are to increase appreciation for the Boston Common by offering opportunities to learn about the history of the Common or to enjoy a fun event in the park.  Ideally, the children who come to the park for our special youth programs will develop long-lasting, happy memories of the place and one day become environmental stewards of the historic downtown parks: the Boston Common and Public Garden. 
Program Success Monitored By 
Each year the Friends receives positive feedback on these events from families and BPS teachers, and the number of people participating grows each year. 
Examples of Program Success 
Each year Duckling Day grows as more families consider it a tradition or a must-do activity in the city of Boston.  Duckling Day usually attracts families from more than 100 Massachusetts communities. 
 
Making History on the Common - has been a successful collaboration with Historic New England, the Massachusetts 54th Regiment volunteers and other community groups. BPS teachers  have been enthusiastic supporters and now plan on this day as part of their curriculum. 
 
Puppets on the Common is especially popular with downtown families with very young children. The fact that the show is free and at a comfortable, accessible location, like Boston Common is greatly appreciated by all who've attended.  The Friends is pleased to be able to offer this special entertainment for the future park stewards!  

Sculpture Care in the Parks

Sculpture Care

Along with the trees, the second great collection that defines the Common, Garden and Mall is that of their significant sculpture,
including statues, fountains, and commemorative plaques. Forty-four in all, they range from the Shaw/54thRegiment Memorial of Augustus
St.-Gaudens on Beacon Street opposite the State House, acclaimed by many as the greatest work of American sculpture of the 19thcentury, to small plaques on the entrance gates at the mid-block Charles Street entrance to the Common.

Budget  $82,000
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Historic Preservation & Conservation
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success 
Annual Sculpture Care Program-In 2010 the Friends launched an annual program of sculpture and fountain maintenance. Work includes a regular cycle of cleaning as well as conservation and restoration. The cost for cleaning a piece of sculpture is approximately $700, while the cost for full restoration can be $20,000-$25,000. Implementing this annual program allows these important pieces of art to be professionally and cost effectively conserved.

Henry Lee Conservation Fund
During the 40th anniversary year in 2010, another initiative was launched to strengthen the sculpture care program of the Friends and to honor Henry Lee’s longstanding commitment to the care of sculpture throughout Boston. The Henry Lee Conservation Fund was established to raise funds for the care of sculpture, fountains and other selected structural features of the three parks.
Program Long-Term Success 

Before 1970, public monuments and plaques had received little
or no care by the city. Only one statue (the White Memorial in the Garden) was endowed. In an era of acid rain, pollution and graffiti, such neglect was leading to disaster. The first project of the Friends was the restoration of the Shaw/54th  Regiment Memorial. After that success, the Friends joined the Art Commission in creating an Adopt-a-Statue program for restoration and endowment of sculpture citywide, and in the three parks began to restore each work one by one.


Program Success Monitored By  The cost for cleaning a piece of sculpture is approximately $700, while the cost for full restoration can be $20,000-$25,000. By carefully maintaining each piece of sculpture in the three parks each year the Friends will succeed in avoiding costly restoration projects.
Examples of Program Success 
The City of Boston, with help from the Save America's Treasures fund and the Friends, recently restored the historic 145 year old Brewer Fountain which had lain dormant for many years.  The cost of the restoration project was $630,000.  The Friends has now established a regular maintenance schedule for the fountain at an annual cost of $20,000 a year to keep the fountain flowing for all to enjoy. 

Tree Care

One of the most important roles played by the Friends has been the care of the trees in the three parks. The stately and mature specimen trees in the three parks, numbering over 1,700, are the “bones” of these parks, without which there would be only the barren vestige of parkland. They define these magnificent green spaces, and contribute aesthetically as well as ecologically to the health and well-being of the city and its inhabitants. Trees planted a century or more ago need special care, and it is critical to continue a regular program of planting and maintenance to ensure the beauty and vitality of these landscapes for generations to come. Without the significant commitment of funds and expertise by the Friends, the parks’ trees would have suffered irreparable harm from the effects of urban pollution, compaction and disease. If not for the Friends’ annual program of treatment to protect against Dutch elm disease, it is most likely that there would be not one majestic elm remaining in these parks.


Budget  $364,000
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental & Urban Beautification
Population Served US
Program Short-Term Success 
Tree Inventory
In 2010 the Friends completed the first-ever computerized inventory of all of the trees in the three parks. This invaluable document gives the Friends and Parks Department a tool to document and manage the care of the parks’ trees, providing an interactive database that can identify their location, planting date, condition and treatment over time.

Fertilization & Soil Compaction Relief - The Friends has also initiated programs of tree fertilization and soil compaction relief. Fertilization has had a significant positive impact on the growth of mature trees in the parks. Soil compaction is a major threat to tree health in urban parks, reducing oxygen available for tree roots as well as their capacity to absorb water. A pilot air spading program on one block of the Mall was conducted in 2011 to relieve compacted soil, cut girdling roots, and learn about the effectiveness of this process, the largest such pilot in the region. Other procedures are being tested on the Mall and the Common to determine the most effective methods.



Program Long-Term Success 
Investment over Time in the Parks’ Trees
The inability of the city to adequately fund tree care has been one of the most pressing problems the Friends has addressed over the years. Since 1970, each year brought a crisis in basic tree care and protection. Despite advocacy for more city funding, it was clear that in the end the private sector had to make a deeper and more consistent commitment to
address this situation. The Friends has raised endowment funds for care of the trees in all three parks. In 1971, the Friends contributed a modest $500 to remove dying elms in the Garden. In stunning contrast, the 2012 budget has $364,000 allocated for tree care. The Friends has committed to long-term care of the trees in the Boston Common, the Public Garden and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. 


Program Success Monitored By 
The success of the Friends Tree Care program is evidenced by the great number of mature, healthy trees in all three parks, especially the survival of the historic elm trees. The Friends annual program of Dutch elm disease prevention has been critical to the survival of the elm trees.  Each year the Friends prune, fertilize all of the trees in all three parks to enhance their growth and to insure the beauty of the parks.
Examples of Program Success 
When the Friends formed in 1970 many of the trees in the Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall were either dead or dying. On the Mall there were less than a third of the 600 trees that are now thriving there. 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The Friends of the Public Garden is the first parks advocacy organization in the region, and one of the first in the country. Our 2013 budget was a 41% increase from last year’s investment directly into the parks, and 150% over the last four years in order to carry out our mission to preserve and restore the essential elements of these three parks for future generations. Our location at 69 Beacon Street has brought increased visibility and awareness to the organization, and enhanced our work in the parks. The addition of several key staff members over the last several years has allowed us to increase annual contributions 162% over five years, take on more park restoration projects, and do a much better job of communicating with our community of park users.

Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Elizabeth Ann Vizza
CEO Term Start Apr 2009
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience
30 years professional experience as a landscape designer and planner focusing on urban open space planning and historic landscape preservation. Significant experience in Boston park planning. Past board and stewardship council memberships have included Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Mass Audubon, Conway School of Landscape Design, and Dept. of Conservation and Recreation.
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
Mary Halpin Director of Development
18 years of nonprofit management and development experience at the following institutions in the Greater Boston area: American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay, Satellife, Arthritis Foundation New England Region. B.S., Univ. of Mass., Amherst and MSW, Boston University.

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

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

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

--

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The Friends has developed a strong staff infrastructure in the last several years, implementing recommendations from a transition process conducted years ago before the hiring of its first Executive Director. Since that time, the management has become professionalized with expertise in landscape preservation and management as well as development.

Foundation Comments

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Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 7
Number of Part Time Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 125
Number of Contract Staff 3
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 8
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 6
Male: 2
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

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

Governance


Board Chair Mrs. Leslie Singleton Adam
Board Chair Company Affiliation Caldwell Banker
Board Chair Term June 2017 - June 2020
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms. Allison Achtmeyer Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. Bear Albright Bain Capital Voting
Ms. Christine Anderson Gibson Sotheby's International Realty Voting
Ms. Catherine Bordon Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Jean Burlingame Community Volunteer Exofficio
Mr. Gordon Burnes Bullhorn Voting
Ms. Valerie Burns Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. William C. Clendaniel Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Claire Corcoran Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Linda Cox Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. Jim Hood Hood Design Exofficio
Ms. Elizabeth Johnson Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Abigail Mason TIAA Kaspick Voting
Mr. Frank Mead Beacon Hill Village, Walnut School, Light Boston Inc. Voting
Ms. Beatrice Nessen Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Katherine O'Keeffe Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Margaret Pokorny Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Patricia (Patti) Quinn Newton Public Schools Voting
Ms. Sherley Smith Community Volunteer Exofficio
Mr. Allan Taylor Peabody and Arnold Voting
Mr. Colin Zick Foley Hoag 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: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 23
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 16
Male: 7
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % --
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

  • Audit
  • Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Executive
  • Finance
  • Investment
  • Marketing
  • Membership
  • Nominating
  • Program / Program Planning

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $3,207,966 $3,308,917 $2,619,413
Total Expenses $2,573,921 $1,848,578 $3,445,527

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $1,371,872 $1,221,337 $1,365,716
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $34,775 $24,194 $13,438
Investment Income, Net of Losses $1,397,586 $1,602,200 $891,121
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $403,733 $461,186 $349,138
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $2,081,941 $1,482,123 $3,101,434
Administration Expense $152,045 $122,733 $116,509
Fundraising Expense $339,935 $243,722 $227,584
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.25 1.79 0.76
Program Expense/Total Expenses 81% 80% 90%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 19% 14% 13%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $19,377,458 $18,887,081 $19,703,948
Current Assets $1,022,445 $977,611 $1,264,777
Long-Term Liabilities $527,671 $558,062 $585,000
Current Liabilities $193,899 $86,297 $315,018
Total Net Assets $18,655,888 $18,242,722 $18,803,930

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
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 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 5.27 11.33 4.01

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 3% 3% 3%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Please note that the nonprofit changed its fiscal year period at the end of 2011 and as such, the Audit and 990s for 2011 cover a 16 month time period.  Financial data posted for fiscal year 2011 is for an entire 12 month time period.  Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

Impact

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?

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2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

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

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

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

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