Friends of the Public Garden 2018 Year in Review


2018 board of directors


  • Allison Achtmeyer
  • Leslie Adam, Chair
  • Bear Albright
  • Christine Anderson
  • Catherine Bordon, Secretary
  • Gordon Burnes
  • Valerie Burns, Vice Chair
  • William Clendaniel, Treasurer
  • Claire Corcoran
  • Linda Cox
  • Kate Enroth
  • Elizabeth Johnson
  • Abigail Mason, Vice Chair
  • Frank Mead
  • Barbara Moore
  • Beatrice Nessen
  • Katherine O’Keeffe
  • Patricia Quinn
  • Anne Swanson
  • Allan Taylor
  • Colin Zick, First Vice Chair

president emeritus

  • Henry Lee


  • Ann K. Collier
  • Nina Doggett
  • Barbara Hostetter

Ex Officio

  • Jeanne Burlingame
  • Jim Hood
  • Sherley Smith



  • Jane Bindley
  • Omar Blayton
  • Michael Broderick
  • Nina Doggett
  • Susan Domolky
  • Daniel Donahue (Dan)
  • Ronald Druker (Ron)
  • Matt Dwyer
  • Alexis Egan
  • Jean Egan
  • Joy Fallon
  • Ramsay Fretz
  • Deborah Hale (Debby)
  • James Hood (Jim), co-chair
  • Barbara Hostetter
  • Chu Huang
  • Sidney Kenyon
  • Thomas Kershaw (Tom)
  • Christine Letts (Chris)
  • Tom Lewis
  • Leslie Lucchina, M.D.
  • Annsely McAleer
  • Tony Morris
  • Margaret H. Morton (Meg)
  • Anne Mostue
  • Peter Nessen
  • Elizabeth Owens (Biddy)
  • Lyn Paget, co-chair
  • Frederick G. Pfannenstiehl (Fred)
  • Julia Pfannenstiehl
  • Fred Putnam
  • Ailene Robinson (Pixie)
  • Diane Rooney
  • Bill Taylor
  • Abigail Trafford
  • Anthony Ursillo (Tony)
  • Martha Walz (Marty)


  • Elizabeth Vizza – Executive Director
  • Robert Mulcahy – Director of Parks Care & Capital Projects
  • Mary Halpin – Director of Development
  • Susan Abell – Director of Communications & Outreach
  • Stephen TenBarge – Finance Manager & Brewer Plaza Liaison
  • Laura Mercure – Executive Assistant
  • Rachel Hangley – Development Associate
  • Jan Trousilek – Communications & Outreach Associate

Annual Review letter 2018

picture of Leslie and Liz

Another year, and more major accomplishments in our parks thanks to you! Your support allowed us to invest $1,247,590 this year on our core parks care priorities: the trees, the grass, the sculpture and the fountains in the Common, the Garden, and the Mall. It takes a committed and diverse group of people to renew, care, and advocate for these urban greenspaces. Long-term conservation and care require sustained investment, and we are grateful that you recognize this. Know that your support enables ongoing parks care as well as timely responses to emerging issues. Your generosity and dedication is at the heart of every success story in our parks.

We are so grateful for the trust you place in us as stewards of your parks. Your support enables us to protect the history and beauty of the parks we all love so much, now and into the future. Thank you, you make it all possible!

Leslie and Liz

The fifth and final phase of the Boylston Street Border renovation project in the Garden was finished with a new design to celebrate the promenade ending at the Channing Monument on Arlington Street.

We have been able to bring a dynamic collaboration of partner organizations together to restore the Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial including the City, the National Park Service, and the Museum of African American History, and we celebrated a kickoff event in July. As part of our year-long program to educate and engage the public about the importance of the monument, we want to use the restoration as a platform for dialogue about race, freedom, and justice.

Thanks to the generosity of the Harold Whitworth Pierce Charitable Trust, we launched what were enthusiastically received and well-used pilot temporary restrooms on the Common from July through October.

We worked with the City to ensure the Common received the promised investment of $28 million from the sale of the Winthrop Square garage to restore and maintain Boston’s center stage of civic life to the highest level. A Master Plan for the park will re-imagine the intersection of history and future possibilities, and your voices will be critical during that process.

We convened a broad coalition of advocate voices concerned about the negative impact of the Boston Freedom Rally on the Common and the park’s users at a City Council hearing. Joining our voices with others strengthened our advocacy and supported the City in limiting the event to one day this September.

George Washington, Ether Memorial, the Founders Memorial, and the Edward Everett Hale statue all were in the conservation cycle this year.

#FriendsEvents – A June deluge greeted the 500 hardy Boston schoolchildren who came to Making History on the Common, but learning and fun happened despite the weather. Duckling Day welcomed over 1,000 children and adults to participate in the cutest event in Boston. Finally, Celebrate Brewer 150! was a great success and inspired us to hold a seasonal welcome event at Brewer Fountain Plaza every year.

The sticky traps are specifically made to catch the Elm Bark Beetle but because of their design they catch a lot of other insects flying nearby. Supporting populations of beneficial insects or using them to suppress harmful insects is a necessary strategy in any integrated pest management program (IPM). ×
Fountains of fun and lunch on the Friends, a large crowd celebrated the first piece of public art on the Common. Restored in 2010 by the City with support from Save America’s Treasures and the Friends, and the revitalization of Brewer Fountain Plaza by the Friends in partnership with the City and with the support of many generous donors. ×
Thank you! It is because of your support, our Friends and park fans, that we had another significant year working to care, renew, and advocate for the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. Your support allowed us to invest $1,247,600 this year alone to provide what our parks require, beyond what the City can contribute. ×
A sad year for the rose beds. A population explosion of rabbits ate many rose bushes and necessitated four-foot fencing to protect the remaining plants. ×
The kids enjoyed learning about the history of Boston Common from the time of the first inhabitants, the Wampanoag Nation, to the significant Colonial times, through the thought-provoking protests of the 1960’s with immersive activities and programs. ×
A fall leaf blanket can protect the critical root zone with disease-suppressive effects having a powerful influence on the survival of trees. The leaf mulch also can improve the survival rate of beneficial insects and spiders and help them in our urban environments. ×
The restroom facilities on Boston Common were extremely popular! The configuration of women’s, men’s and ADA restrooms worked very well with short, if any wait times for the public. ×
A wonderful way for the public to participate in the stewardship of the parks. And of course, you can have a short message on the plaque to celebrate a special occasion or to remember or honor someone. ×
To keep our lawns green, we optimize growing conditions. We monitor soil temperature and nutrient balance closely to optimize our periodic seeding, aeration, and liming programs. We fertilize using organic methods, and we monitor the turf for excessive weeds, insects, and thatch build-up. ×

OPERATING RESULTS (in thousands)

INCOME 2018 2017
Support $2,136 $1,866
Public Programs & Revenue 170 85
Draw on Invested Funds 686 684
Release of Temporarily Restricted Funds 400 175
Total Income $3,392 $2,810
Parks Care:
Common, Garden & Mall $1,248 $1,040
Public Programs 194 135
Personnel & Overhead 441 355
Total Parks Care $1,883 $1,530
Communications & Development:
Communications $40 $55
Development Events 125 116
Personnel & Overhead 371 334
Total Communications & Development: $536 $505
Administration: $191 $144
Total Expenses: $2,610 $2,179
Transfer to Temporarily Restricted Funds $(770) $(600)
Net Surplus $12 $31

statements of financial position (in thousands)

ASSETS 2018 2017
Current Assets:
Cash & Cash Equivalents $673 $716
Pledges & Accounts Receivable 355 644
Prepaid Expenses 36 34
Total Current Assets $1,064 $1,394
Investments $21,727 $21,454
Property & Equipment 784 817
Performance Deposit 35 40
Total Assets $23,610 $23,705
Accounts Payable & Accruals $489 $117
Deferred Revenue 26
Mortgage Payable 252 293
Pilot Bathrooms (fiscal agent) 1,335
Total Liabilities $2,076 $436
Net Assets:
Unrestricted $5,355 $6,006
Temporarily Restricted 2,276 3,857
Permanently Restricted 13,903 13,406
Total Net Assets $21,534 $23,269
Total Liabilities & Net Assets $23,610 $23,705

Friends of the Public Garden, Inc.

Notes to Operating Results and Statements of Financial Position

Operating Results

Total Support was $2.1 million, 14% higher than the $1.9 million received in 2017. Support consists of Membership, Designated and Undesignated Con- tributions, Grants, Bequests, and Special Event proceeds. Designated Contributions exceeded budget by $159,000 primarily due to the continued popu- larity of the Sponsored Benches & Trees programs. We also received two unexpected undesignated gifts totaling $300,000. The rolling three-year average of our investments, measured at September 30, 2017 for the 2018 draw, remained at $17.1 million. Income from Temporarily Restricted Assets increased due to a larger pool of funds available from the previous year. Total Income rose 21% to a new high of $3.4 million.

Total Expenses for 2018 were 20% higher than in 2017 primarily due to a $208,000 increase in Parks Care spending. The increase in Personnel & Over- head expenses is mostly due to an increase in the use of professional services – public relations, legal, IT, and contract labor. We transferred $770,000 to Temporarily Restricted Funds: $300,000 to a new Brewer Fountain & Mall Sculpture Lighting Fund, $170,000 to a new Friends 50th Anniversary Fund, and then $100,000 each to the Common Fund, the Garden Fund, and the Mall Fund. These distributions will support much of the work set out in the 2019 budget. We ended the year with a small surplus, just as in 2017.

Statements of Financial Position

Due to the market downturn during the fourth quarter, investment performance for 2018 was -6.8%, which is less negative than our benchmark for the year. Our endowment performance remains in the top 25% of the Cambridge Associates universe of endowments of less than $100 million. The decrease for Pledges Receivable is due to the receipt of many pledges made for the Henry and Joan Lee Sculpture Endowment. The increase in Accounts Payable is primarily due to future in-kind payments that will be due to contractors for restoration of the Shaw/54th Memorial. Lastly, we are acting as the fiscal agent for a $1.5 million grant from a charitable trust for a multi-year pilot program to bring temporary public restrooms to the Boston Common.