The Friends hosted its 44th Annual Meeting at the First Church in Boston in April. The evening included updates and reports from Secretary Patti Quinn, Treasurer Bill Clendaniel, and President Anne Brooke. Bill Walczak gave a keynote address on “Opportunities for Parks in Boston’s New Political Environment. ”Executive Director Elizabeth Vizza announced plans for the future and explained the path that guided the organization to formalized planning.
In 2005, the Friends made the transition from a volunteer structure to an organization supported by a professional staff. In 2011, after more than 40 years of inspiring leadership, the Friends founding president Henry Lee became president emeritus. That same year, the Friends leased office space overlooking the Garden and the Common.
This is a pivotal time for the parks and the Friends. While much improved from their low point in the 1970s, these iconic parks deserve a higher standard of excellence. Now is the time to lay out an ambitious vision to engage the growing parks community in stewardship and advocacy, to raise additional funds, and to partner with the City to elevate the quality of care.
For the planning process, the Friends engaged a consultant who worked closely with a task force throughout 2013 to interview over 40 stakeholders, collect and analyze research data, and solicit board, staff and stakeholder focus group input to collaboratively shape the Strategic Plan, 2014-2018.
The following four goals are cornerstones of the plan:
- -Build a strong base of support for the three parks
- -Partner with the City to achieve excellence within the three parks
- -Revitalize the Boston Common so that it meets the needs of its constituents now and into the future
- -Be a robust and well-run organization