Friends of the Public Garden

2021 Year in Review



  • Elizabeth Vizza
  • Susan Abell
    Director of Communications and Outreach
  • Eric DiTommaso
    Parks Care Specialist
  • Lynn Page Flaherty
    Vice President of Advancement & External Affairs
  • Amanda McGuire
    Development Manager
  • Laura Mercure
    Executive Assistant
  • Robert Mulcahy
    Director of Parks Care & Capital Projects
  • Stephen TenBarge
    Finance Manager and Brewer Plaza Liaison
  • Jan Trousilek
    Communications, Outreach, & Design Associate
  • Hannah Williamson
    Development Associate

2021 Board of Directors


  • Leslie Singleton Adam, Chair
  • Colin Zick, First Vice Chair
  • Valerie Burns, Vice Chair
  • Abigail Mason, Vice Chair
  • Catherine Bordon, Secretary
  • Jim Bordewick, Treasurer
  • Henry Lee, President Emeritus


  • Gordon Burnes
  • Claire Corcoran
  • Kate Enroth
  • Alexandra Hastings
  • Elizabeth Johnson
  • Frank Mead
  • Barbara Moore
  • Anne Mostue
  • Jeff Mullan
  • Beatrice Nessen
  • Katherine O’Keeffe
  • Margaret Pokorny
  • Brent Shay
  • Anne Swanson
  • Roger Tackeff
  • Janie Walsh


  • Ann K. Collier
  • Nina Doggett
  • Barbara Hostetter


  • Jim Hood
  • Molly Sherden
  • Sherley Smith


  • Pamela Beale
  • Omar Blayton
  • Michael Broderick
  • Gene Clapp
  • Meredith Clapp
  • Dan Donahue
  • Ron Druker
  • Matt Dwyer
  • Alexis Egan
  • Joy Fallon
  • Tracy Flannery
  • Ramsay Fretz
  • David Friedman
  • Arturo Gossage
  • Deborah Hale
  • Christine Hayward
  • Jim Hood, co-chair
  • Barbara Hostetter
  • Namrita Kapur
  • Sidney Kenyon
  • Bill Kieffer
  • Tom Lewis
  • Jim May
  • Annsley McAleer
  • Karl McLaurin
  • Tony Morris
  • Meg Morton
  • Ailene Robinson
  • Diane Rooney, co-chair
  • Kimberly Stockwell
  • Roger Tackeff
  • Anthony Ursillo
  • Marty Walz
portrait of Liz Vizza
portrait of Leslie Adam

Dear Friends,

Thank you to all our Friends and park fans. Our mission continues to inspire us, as does the generosity of our supporters and the commitment of our staff and volunteers. Looking back over 2021, our parks have been an ongoing source of renewal and joy. These special greenspaces remain unique urban treasures, loved and valued by people from every walk of life and from every city neighborhood and beyond.

Throughout the past year, we have thought often about the three parks and how we describe them. Beautiful. Rejuvenating. Magical. Educational. Accessible. Connecting. Peaceful. There are so many words to express the impact of these 84 green acres and how they bring millions of us together.

We celebrated a number of new projects and programs with our community this year. We commissioned our first public art installation. What Do We Have In Common?, asked what we all share in common and represented a whole new way for visitors to experience Boston Common. Inspired by the history of the park itself, nationally acclaimed artist Janet Zweig immersed herself in the concept of “commoning,” reflecting the Friends long commitment to build community around care for a public space.

Lighting the Patrick Collins statue enhanced the beauty of a historic sculpture, as well as safety, along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. The statue lighting is part of a wider effort kicked off during our 50TH anniversary. Despite the ongoing pandemic, we found ways to connect to the larger community by bringing the joy of song to the Common and parks throughout Boston in partnership with the Boston Children’s Chorus and our park partners in Chinatown, Mattapan, Roxbury, and Dorchester.

Our Parks Care team continued to ensure that our three parks are vibrant and resilient greenspaces with their scientific approach to turf management, tree pruning, soil biology, smart irrigation, beneficial insect monitoring, and conservation maintenance for statues and fountains. As we plan for the future, we can look back over the past year with pride and remember how the parks continued to be lifesavers in bringing people together and offering a respite in a challenging time.

Your dedication, time, generosity, and vision have allowed the Friends of the Public Garden to advance our vital work to ensure that our parks are healthy and welcoming to all people, from Boston and beyond.

We are grateful to each one of you who has helped to make this all possible.

Leslie Adam Signature

Leslie S. Adam

Liz Vizza Signature

Liz Vizza

Boston Children’s Chorus sponsored by the Friends held 16 concerts in 8 city parks over the summer.
$1,546,000 spent by the Friends for direct parks care and capital projects in 2021.
One Public Art Project What Do We Have In Common? featuring a cabinet with 200 drawers, each with its own unique question. Two of 12 guides were available each day to engage with the public, and they interacted with an estimated 3,500 people, with over 16,000 people viewing the art installation.
2,729,297 million impressions on social media across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Over 41,000 users of the Public Restroom on Boston Common, during three and one half months on Boston Common.
A new Beneficial Insect species found in our parks in the Public Garden this year, a Say’s Mantidfly was found on the Kentucky Coffee tree Elm bark beetle trap. Say’s Mantidfly (Dicromantispa sayi) is a fantastic natural predator whose common and scientific names are based on its resemblance to a praying mantis.
19 new trees installed in the Public Garden and Mall, 17 unique species and 14 native species.
1996 bags of turf and soil amendments were applied including grass seed, organic granular fertilizer, organic biostimulant and lime.
Two in person events, the Third Annual Young Friends Winter Party with over 100 guests. An extraordinarily festive night with everyone there to support the parks and celebrate the holidays, seeing old Friends and meeting new ones for the first time in two years. The second was the evening Flashlight Tour for WDWHIC of the illuminated question boxes distributed on the grass over three acres of Boston Common.

2021 Income

2021 Expenses

OPERATING RESULTS (in thousands)

INCOME 2021 2020
Support $1,705 $1,548
Public Programs 102 112
Draw on Invested Funds 848 804
Release of Temporarily Restricted Funds 580 600
Total Income $3,235 $3,064
Parks Care:
Common, Garden & Mall $1,230 $680
Public Programs 369 328
Personnel & Overhead 641 565
Total Parks Care $2,240 $1,573
Communications & Development:
Communications $69 $36
Development 123 300
Personnel & Overhead 438 386
Total Communications & Development: $630 $722
Administration: $212 $187
Total Expenses: $3,082 $2,482
Transfer to Temporarily Restricted Funds $(153) $(580)
Net Surplus $- $2

statements of financial position (in thousands)

ASSETS 2021 2020
Current Assets:
Cash & Cash Equivalents $743 $638
Pledges & Accounts Receivable 967 334
Prepaid Expenses 39 36
Total Current Assets $1,749 $1,008
Investments $31,133 $27,620
Property & Equipment 682 703
Performance Deposit 35 35
Total Assets $33,599 $29,366
Accounts Payable & Accruals $328 $310
Mortgage Payable 119 165
Pilot Bathrooms (fiscal agent) 900 1,093
Total Liabilities $1,347 $1,568
Net Assets:
Unrestricted $6,710 $6,138
Temporarily Restricted 6,228 6,916
Permanently Restricted 16,314 14,744
Total Net Assets $32,252 $27,798
Total Liabilities & Net Assets $32,599 $29,366

Friends of the Public Garden, Inc.

Notes to Operating Results and Statements of Financial Position

Operating Results

Total Income was $3.2 million in 2021, 6% higher than the $3 million received in 2020. Support, which consists of Membership, Designated and Undesignated Contributions, Bequests, and Special Event proceeds, was 10% higher than 2020 primarily due to a large corporate gift from Zegna plus the success of the virtual 50th Anniversary Celebration. Sponsorships for Benches and Trees were down 2% compared to 2020, but non-project support for the Public Garden was up 15%. Although Membership came in 6% lower than the previous year, it still exceeded the Expanded Budget by 4%. The Duckling Day and Making History on the Common events were held virtually for the second year and Brewer Fountain Plaza was programmed for a half season. The rolling three-year average value of our investments, measured at September 30, 2020 for the 2021 draw, increased from $20.1 million to $21.2 million, resulting in an increase in the draw from 2020 of $44,000 to a total of $848,000. Income from Temporarily Restricted Assets decreased slightly due to a smaller pool of funds available from the previous year.

Total Expenses for 2021 were 24% higher than in 2020 primarily because direct Parks Care spending tracked to the Expanded Budget and came in 81% above the pandemic-induced essential services spending of the previous year. Spending on Public Programs was 12% higher in 2021 due to the return of half-season programming on the Brewer Fountain Plaza. Development spending decreased substantially compared to the previous year due to the phasing out of the consultant hired to provide development and 50th anniversary capital campaign support after the departure of our Development Director in 2020. The increase in Administration resulted from the incremental expenses associated with the hiring of the new Vice President of Advancement & External Affairs for a full year, two capital assessments to pay for projects in our co-op building, and the hiring of a DEI consultant. We transferred $153,000 to Temporarily Restricted Funds for parks care work in the three parks in 2022.

Statements of Financial Position

Investment performance for 2021 was 15.3%, slightly higher than our benchmark. Our performance remains in the top 25% of the Cambridge Associates universe of endowments of less than $100 million. The large increase in Pledges Receivable was due to pledges made for the 50th anniversary capital campaign. 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. In 2021 we spent $193,000 of that grant for a somewhat shortened season. The remaining $900,000 of the grant should allow for another three years of the pilot program.

the parks reawaken
a slow unfurling
spring rhythm
a place of belonging
botanical reaquaintance
a place of ritual
a place for everyone
a place of occasion
at home in your parks
boston's green heart
a place of renewal
a place of renewal
a place of renewal
a place of renewal
a place of renewal
a place of renewal
a place of renewal
a place of renewal
a place of renewal
a place of renewal
a place of renewal
a place of renewal
a place of renewal
a place of renewal
thank you to all contributing photographers, artist Sam Vokey, and a special thank you to Gene Bollinger for his many wonderful photographs.