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A Day to Celebrate Trees and Start Bidding for Them

September 25, 2015

Berlow large bowl 1

October 7 will be a day to celebrate trees and support the roughly 1,700 in the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall in more ways than one!
Members Reception
Join us at the Four Seasons for our Members Reception at 6:30 p.m. for “Digging In: Beyond the Roots of Urban Tree Care,” a behind-the-scenes exploration into our 45-year efforts to help the trees in our three treasured greenspaces persevere in the stressful environment of an urban park. Find out what a dramatic difference your support makes to the health of our park trees.
The discussion will be moderated by Friends Council co-chair & Swan Boats owner Lyn Paget. It will  feature panelists  Margaret Pokorny, a greenspace advocate and Friends Board member, and Friends Project Manager Bob Mulcahy.

Please RSVP at 617-723-8144 or by e-mail to by October 1. The event is free for members, but space is limited. You can join the Friends or renew your membership at this event! Reception with refreshments to follow program.

Online Art Auction 
The Friends Online Art Auction will also kick-off at 12 Noon on October 7 featuring art pieces made of Boston Common elm wood and other fun objects. Visit our online art auction page to view the auction catalog.
We hope you join us for a wonderful evening to celebrate our trees and will be inspired to bid to support their care!

Update on White Memorial Restoration and Boston Common Advocacy

September 25, 2015

The Friends is embarking on a campaign to restore the George Robert White Memorial

Photo: Elizabeth Jordan


We hope you had a terrific summer and are ready for what is sure to be a spectacular fall. Thanks to all of you who joined us for our Summer Party and came out to support our treasured greenspaces!

The past few months have been a busy time as people flocked to our parks to take full advantage of these wonderful outdoor spaces. We also took full advantage of the favorable weather to care for trees, turf, and sculpture, and move forward with special projects. If you missed it, you may be interested to read the Boston Globe article, They get the gunk off Boston’s outdoor treasures. Yes, Friends, you are the “they” who make it possible for the “gunk” to come off!

This year’s harsh winter delayed our restoration work on the George Robert White Memorial fountain in the Garden, and construction is now slated to begin in spring of 2016. We are eager to bring the water back to this historic fountain and will keep you updated on timing.

We continue to advocate against overuse of our parks and use that damages them, in particular the Boston Common. This weekend (September 26 and 27), the Boston Freedom Rally (also known as Hempfest) will return to the Common. We heard your concerns loud and clear about the poor condition the Common was left in following this event in previous years, and your safety concerns while visiting this neighborhood park, especially with your families, during the event. Thanks to the over 50 of you who wrote letters of concern to Parks Commissioner Chris Cook. Please continue to send us your feedback, share it with the Commissioner, and report it to the Mayor’s hotline or through the City’s new 311 system, which also offers a smartphone app. Visit to learn more.

We look forward to seeing all who can come to our annual Members Reception on October 7th at the Four Seasons Hotel where we have a wonderful presentation planned for you, “Digging In: Beyond the Roots of Urban Tree Care.” That evening we will also kick-off an online art auction featuring pieces made from Boston Common elm wood.

Again, thanks to all of you, whose support makes it possible for us to care for our wonderful parks.


Anne Brooke, Chair
Elizabeth Vizza, Executive Director

What’s New at the Boylston Street Border?

September 24, 2015


Did you notice that the Boylston Street border of the Public Garden is looking better than ever these days? Phase III of a multi-year project recently brought plant improvements to the edge of this popular strolling path. Passersby will notice reorganized plants and new shade-tolerant varieties.

For those who have traditionally enjoyed the sport of puddle jumping on this path, that activity just became more challenging. More than 200 feet of drainage with new low drainage points will help reduce pooling water. For visitors who prefer a more relaxing stint in the Garden, three new benches will soon be available to provide a place to pause and soak up the view. Views are not available for sponsorship, but benches are! Contact the Friends office to find out about the opportunity.

We encourage our Friends to check out this latest facelift made possible by your support and let us know how we did!

Photos by Alysha Griffiths.

Interested in Joining Our Team?

September 9, 2015


Do you love the Public Garden, Boston Common, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall? This may be your chance to join the team that works to preserve and enhance them. The Friends of the Public Garden is seeking an Executive and Development Coordinator.

The Executive and Development Coordinator supports the work of the Executive Director and Director of Development in a variety of administrative and management functions. Of primary importance is support for the effective functioning of the Friends board and committees, donor database management and donor relations support, and volunteer management. Reporting both to the Executive Director and Director of Development Director, the responsibilities of the position include:

Administrative Support

Record-keeping and Expense Tracking Support
In coordination with accountant, accurate tracking of expenses and revenue for each mailing, fundraising event, campaign, etc.; monthly reconciliation of donor financial records with accountant records

Board and Committee Support
Meeting scheduling; meeting materials preparation; coordinating to ensure accurate recording of meeting minutes; attending selected committee meetings and support minute recording as needed; maintaining current board and committee lists

General Office Functioning Support
Phone support as needed; ordering of supplies; oversight of equipment maintenance needs (phones; computers; printers); management of small mailing projects

Receptionist duties including providing excellent customer service to members of the public who visit the office

Vendor and Materials Production Support
Making vendor calls and obtaining estimates; oversight of materials production (printing jobs, invitations, programs)

Assistance with managing Executive Director’s schedule
Membership, Database Management and Donor Relations Support

Membership Mailing and Online Support
Research, obtain and create mailing lists; coordination of mailing projects with printer and mailhouse; tracking and recording of responses; preparation of statistical reports; facilitation of note writing by committee members; oversight of online donation process including updating of online giving page and tracking of statistics on online giving for each electronic appeal;

Database Management
Accurate tracking and recording of donations in database; mastery of complex reports in Donor Perfect; research and application of ways to improve use of Donor Perfect; management of donor lists

Donor Relations Support
Conducting of donor research (individual, foundation and corporate); preparation of prospect reports; drafting of custom thank-yous for editing with little guidance; phone calls to donors as needed; management of annual report donor permission process

Volunteer Support

Recruit and supervise office volunteers/interns/Co-Op students
Train all above in relevant technology and office systems
Event Support

Event Logistics Support
Obtain site and catering details, effectively manage rsvp process; prepare materials for exhibit tables or events; solicit in-kind donations as needed (food, services, items)

Event Management Support
Help recruit volunteers to staff FOPG tables; staff events as needed and supervise volunteers


Education – Bachelors degree

Minimum three years professional, related work experience

Minimum 1 year fundraising-related experience (can be volunteer work)

Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite applications; ability to master fundraising databases with ease and to train others

Familiarity with online fundraising technology and adding/editing website content

Superior attention to detail and accuracy in writing and record-keeping

Experience leading and motivating volunteers

Ability to multi-task

Organized, self-motivated and self-directed

Flexibility and ability to work collaboratively and harmoniously in a small office environment; availability for occasional evening meetings and events

The ideal candidate will be someone who desires a career in a nonprofit organization.

Please submit a resume and cover letter to Executive Director Elizabeth Vizza at No calls please. Local candidates only.

Looking back at 2014

August 31, 2015


We are pleased to report that 2014 will go down as a milestone year for the Friends of the Public Garden in working with the City to care for the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. Please join us in celebrating the completion of a successful year of accomplishments, none of which would have been possible without you. Highlights of the year can be viewed in our 2014 Year in Review.

In 2014, we invested $952,000 directly into parks care, with an additional $1.6 million spent to complete the Brewer project on the Common. We also made significant progress on goals set out in our five-year strategic plan, which you can read more about on page 8 our Annual Review.

This has also been a year of relationship building with Mayor Walsh, our newly elected city and state officials, and the City’s newly appointed Parks Commissioner, Chris Cook. We look forward to continuing our four-decade partnership with the City, to care for and improve our three treasured parks.

As we continue to advocate for our parks, we appreciate your help in these efforts. Members voiced concern over the condition of the Boston Common following the Freedom Rally (also known as Hempfest), and many submitted letters. Your concerns and ours were shared with the Parks Department, to be considered when the group applies for its next permit. We must be continually vigilant to make sure that events on the Common enhance the public’s enjoyment of the park while at the same time mitigating the damage caused, in order for this intensively used space to thrive over the long term.

“Ah, the great indoors,” said no one ever was one of several phrases that appeared on eye-catching signage at MBTA sites throughout the city, courtesy of a generous and creative marketing campaign by Boston communications firm Hill Holliday. These signs engaged new audiences, introduced them to our organization, and served as a reminder of our work to those who know us.

As Bostonians flocked to Brewer Fountain Plaza, they let us know how much they enjoyed the enhanced area despite lunching near the last phase of our construction fencing. The project sailed to a November finish, marking the completion of the most ambitious capital project in the Friends history.

A major milestone of 2014 came in the last few days of the year when we finalized purchase of our office at 69 Beacon Street from Santander Bank. Thanks to Santander, we enjoyed three rent-free years at a perfect location for the Friends, directly across the street from the Common and Garden and close to the Mall, easily accessible to the public. A permanent home gives us stability, and we are grateful to Santander for a below-market purchase price and to First Republic for favorable mortgage terms.

We thank you for your tremendous support, and we honor you with our commitment to preserve, enhance, and advocate for our three historic parks.

Anne Brooke, Chair
Elizabeth Vizza, Executive Director

Meet the Friends: Tim Mitchell

August 31, 2015


Beauty is everywhere in the three parks the Friends of the Public Garden work with the City to care for. We often see the beauty in the natural features of these greenspaces, but public art also calls one’s attention. The art caught Tim Mitchell’s eye and continues to attract this architect and ceramics sculptor to the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. He found out about the Friends through the Neighborhood Association of Back Bay (NABB), and has been a member for at least twenty years. When asked why someone might consider joining the Friends his answer is simple, “You should not just join, but also get actively involved in a specific project.” That is exactly what he did. Tim has served on our Board of Directors and is currently the chair of our Sculpture Committee.

For Tim, the parks act as a creative inspiration that continue to capture and hold his attention. Everything about the art in them, from the artists and craftsmen, to the actual pieces and narratives that the objects evoke, is what give the parks special meaning for him.

He is currently completing a six-month body of sculpture using two kilns that are large tunnel-like structures representative of Japanese-style kilns called Anagama, one of which can load about 1,000 pieces at a time.  In September he will start an artist residency with Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, Maine. There he will work on a historic brick-making project and a related contemporary art expression.

Tim recently donated a piece of his work to the Friends upcoming online art auction. The jar wth lid is stoneware with shino glaze to the interior and wood-ash glaze marks to the exterior. The lid is made of wood taken from one of the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial elm trees, across from the Massachusetts State House, during a preservation pruning on December 13, 2014.

Tim says if there is one thing people should know about the Friends of the Public Garden it would be the advocacy we do for all three parks, not just the Public Garden. He says people may also be surprised by the art in the parks, its “magnitude and provenance, all public…24/7.”

Friends Members Reception is Digging in Beyond Roots of Tree Care

August 27, 2015

Public Garden_2015_Members Reception_Elizabeth Jordan

Digging In: Beyond the Roots of Urban Tree Care

Join us for a behind-the-scenes exploration into our 45-year efforts to help the trees of the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall persevere in the stressful environment of an urban park. Attendees will learn how these trees show us when they are in trouble and what methods are being used to care for them. Find out what a dramatic difference your support makes to the health of our park trees.

Moderator: Council co-chair & Swan Boats owner Lyn Paget

Panelists: Friends Board member & greenspace advocate Margaret Pokorny and Friends Project Manager Bob Mulcahy

Wednesday, October 7, 2015   6:30 p.m.
Four Seasons Hotel, 200 Boylston Street

Visit our online art auction page for this event to view objects made from Boston Common elm wood.

Event is free for members. Please RSVP by Friday, October 1 at or call 617-723-8144.
Your membership can be renewed at this event.

Reception to follow program

Thank you to the Motor Mart Garage, our generous Lead Sponsor for this reception.

Motor Mart Garage


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