Members Reception: Legacy Parks in a Changing City

This past Tuesday, John Alschuler, Chairman of HR&A Advisors spoke to Friends members at our annual Members Reception at the Four Seasons Hotel Boston. John Alschuler gave an excellent and thought-provoking presentation entitled Sustaining Excellence: Legacy Parks in a Changing City. The capacity crowd was very engaged and asked John many interesting questions after his presentation. Attendees enjoyed meeting new friends and catching up with old ones at the reception after the program.

If you were unable to attend, the entire program is available to watch on YouTube. The presentation slides are here.

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Boston Common Receives Lime Treatment


The white dusting appearing on the grassy areas of Boston Common over the next few days is not made up of snowflakes that we traditionally expect to see this time of year. Warmer temperatures have made it possible for us to fit in one more needed treatment to help trees, turf and soil on the Common. The treatment will support better root growth and development, provide plant nutrients, increase disease resistance, and correct several conditions that are causing additional stress on the plant life in this heavily used urban park.

Interested in Joining Our Team?


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.

Summer Party Raises Roof and Funds for Parks

We were delighted to be joined by 170 Friends at the Rooftop of the Taj Hotel on July 22 for our second annual Summer Party. The event doubled in size from the the previous year and sold out nearly one month earlier. Thank you to our generous event sponsor First Republic Bank, and to old Friends and new who stepped out to celebrate and support the three parks we care for in partnership with the City. Read about the evening in the Boston Herald  and visit our Facebook album to view more photos.

Photos: Pierce Harman

Meet the Friends: Sherley Gardner-Smith


Love for our special historic parks inspires many to become members of the Friends of the Public Garden. It was certainly a driving force that prompted Sherley Gardner-Smith, a passionate Master Gardener and lover of nature, to become actively involved in our organization more than ten years ago. For Sherley, however, the other driving force that led to her involvement was a little closer to home. Her husband Fred has been involved with the Friends for many years, and was the first person to introduce her to our work and us.

Anyone who knows Sherley knows of her boundless energy. Happily, we are the beneficiaries of that energy through a number of Friends initiatives that she has become involved with. She has a keen interest in plantings in the parks and is a past member of our Horticulture Committee. In 2014, she became a member of our Communications and Outreach Committee. In that role she volunteered to test a natural science curriculum designed for use in the Public Garden with several local school groups. Children were able to observe natural occurrences and use them as the basis of scientific discovery. It may come as no surprise that this former teacher was attracted to a project that helps students find a new and deeper appreciation for a Garden she loves so much.

Her advocacy for learning continues in what may prove to be her most significant undertaking yet on behalf of the Friends, as co-leader of the newly launched Public Garden Tour Program. Sherley, along with Sidney Kenyon, is overseeing more than a dozen docent volunteers who lead tours of the Public Garden. The pair have spent hours coordinating trainings and implementing the program with the assistance of Friends staff.

We asked Sherley what our parks mean to her, and she said, “Enclosed in the sanctuary of the Public Garden, under the canopy of the magnificent trees, surrounded by the vibrancy of the flower beds, one can contemplate nature with solitary reverence or share in the beauty with fellow citizens.”

We thank Sherley for her many volunteer hours and for taking an active role in sharing her love for our parks with others.

It’s Hot, Humid, and the Public Garden Tropical Plants Love it!

This summer has been hot and very humid, one might even say tropical.The tropical plants in the Public Garden fit right in this year!

IMG_2451 Tropical plants have been present in the Public Garden for most of its history. According to the book, the Public Garden Boston published by the Friends in 2000, they were first planted by William Doogue in the late 1800’s. The palms and other plantings were stored in the greenhouses and brought out to be placed in the Victorian-style garden. Doogue’s horticultural displays stayed true to the Victorian style, however not everyone loved the non-native species. Many considered it odd to have such plants in the Boston Public Garden. However, these plants appeared year after year to continue the tradition and to further educate people on plants from around the world. IMG_2442 Today, the tropical plants continue to educate and honor a tradition started by Doogue over a century ago. A new executive assistant in the parks department, Josh Altidor, has designed beds that attest and expand this practice. The Boston Globe recently featured Josh in a story about this year’s plantings. IMG_2444 IMG_2449 IMG_2447