Earlier this summer, we were pleased to share a report on the accomplishments of the Friends of the Public Garden in our first-ever annual review document, the Friends of the Public Garden 2013 Year in Review. We could not do this work without your tremendous support! While our significant contributions to the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall are to be celebrated, the overarching theme and much of our focus in 2013 was about planning for the future.
Ongoing work in the parks continued at a steady pace while we pursued a major initiative to develop a strategy to promote the health and vibrancy of our organization and our parks well into the future. Our vision is to achieve the highest level of excellence in these well-loved and iconic urban parks. The culmination of our year-long planning effort is described in the Friends first Strategic Plan (2014-2018). We are pleased to share the Plan with you, and to work with the City to implement it.
We continue to enjoy a good working relationship with the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department, as we have for decades. This public-private partnership has been serving our parks and our city well. The Parks Department should be commended for their enormous efforts on behalf of these parks, but the challenges of parks care in an urban environment are many; they simply need additional resources. In our role as advocates we encourage greater funding for the Parks Department to allow it to provide the necessary level of parks care, and in its absence we work hand-in-hand with the City to narrow the gap by investing private funds to enhance our parks.
Developing deeper connections to neighborhood organizations and like-minded entities across the city continued. The Friends served on the steering committee of Boston Park Advocates, a citywide network of champions of Boston’s parks and open spaces, and worked to raise the profile of issues that face our city’s parks. During the 2013 election season, we met candidates to inform them about the needs of the three parks we serve as well as the needs and opportunities for all of Boston’s greenspace. 2013 was certainly a year of successes, the details of which you will read about in this document, yet this is not a time to rest on our laurels. There is work to be done and the future of our parks depends on it, perhaps now more than ever!
As always, we thank the members of our Board, Council and committees who generously spend many hours working to support our organization and its mission. A huge debt of gratitude goes to Hill Holliday, our wonderful marketing partner, for their generous work to design and implement a Friends visibility campaign, and to Council member Ron Druker for making this connection for us. Thanks to Santander’s generosity, we enjoy wonderful office space close to the parks. We thank our members, donors and volunteers without whom our work would not be possible. We appreciate these contributions and ask for continued involvement as we strive to maintain these treasured parks and pursue the excellence that they and their many users deserve.
Anne Brooke, President
Elizabeth Vizza, Executive Director