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The Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks (Institute) is pleased to announce the seven urban park organizations selected for the 2022 Partnerships Lab cohort. These organizations, representing urban park programs from around New York City and the United States, will participate in the eight-month program to learn best practices, engage in peer-to-peer mentorship, and join workshops with Central Park Conservancy subject-matter experts.
This year’s Partnerships Lab cohort includes:
- Friends of Morningside Park (New York, New York)
- Prospect Park Alliance (Brooklyn, New York)
- Queens Botanical Garden (Queens, New York)
- Seattle Parks & Recreation, the Arboretum Foundation, University of Washington Botanic Gardens (Seattle, Washington)
- Civic Center Conservancy (Denver, Colorado)
- Downtown Providence Parks Network (Providence, Rhode Island)
- Gathering Place (Tulsa, Oklahoma)
“We are so pleased to welcome the seven urban park organizations that will be joining the Institute for the 2022 Partnerships Lab,” said Maura Lout, Executive Director of the Institute for Urban Parks. “Investing in urban parks and greenspaces is investing in a more equitable and climate-resilient future for all. The ongoing pandemic and increase in park-use only deepens the urgency to support the organizations that manage these essential public spaces.”
By leveraging the Conservancy’s resources and decades-long expertise, the Partnerships Lab initiative supports urban park organizations as they build capacity to maintain great public spaces. Participants receive individual coaching sessions, a customized multi-day retreat, virtual group learning, capacity-building resources, and access to a broad network of urban park peers.
The Institute collaborates with participants to ensure parks continue to provide economic, environmental, and health benefits to the surrounding communities. Since the Institute launched the Partnerships Lab in 2019, it has collaborated with more than 125 park professionals and 16 organizations in nine cities across the United States.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE 2022 PARTNERSHIPS LAB COHORT:
Friends of Morningside Park (New York, New York)
Serving the neighborhoods of Manhattan Valley, Harlem and Morningside Heights for 40 years, the Friends of Morningside Park (FMP) is a longstanding, volunteer-led park organization in upper Manhattan. Together, FMP will work with the Institute to establish the systems and processes necessary to support its long-term goal of stewarding Morningside Park so that the surrounding community can enjoy the myriad benefits of this public greenspace.
Prospect Park Alliance (Brooklyn, New York)
With 586 acres located in the heart of Brooklyn, Prospect Park serves a wide range of constituencies and neighborhoods across the borough. The Prospect Park Alliance, in collaboration with the Institute for Urban Parks, aims to develop and implement an innovative, forward-thinking community engagement strategy that will deepen its relationships in each of the park’s adjacent neighborhoods and create a network of engaged partners that equitably represent all the communities surrounding the park and beyond.
Queens Botanical Garden (Queens, New York)
Located in and serving one of the most diverse communities in New York City, Flushing, Queens, the Queens Botanical Garden (QBG) is welcoming a new Executive Director and primed for a transformational era. Through the Lab, QBG will work with the Institute to build a plan for long-term, sustainable growth that will enable the organization to continue serving its diverse constituencies and provide access to safe, beautiful grounds and quality programming for many years to come.
Seattle Parks & Recreation, the Arboretum Foundation, University of Washington Botanic Gardens (Seattle, Washington)
The Institute for Urban Parks will work alongside these three entities and the diverse communities they serve to create a comprehensive vision and identity for the 230-acre Washington Park Arboretum and its sister facilities. Utilizing input from community leaders and key stakeholders, the Institute will help to reimagine the governance and operations structures of these spaces with an eye toward equity and inclusion so that these treasured resources function in a way that is safe for, accessible to, and representative of all residents.
Civic Center Conservancy (Denver, Colorado)
In the wake of COVID-19, Denver’s formerly most-visited public space, like those of many downtowns across the country, faced new challenges and changes in park use. As the Civic Center Conservancy now looks to the future, the Institute will support the development of a plan for the park’s activation that centers the needs of all of Denver’s communities while charting an equitable path forward.
Downtown Providence Parks Network (Providence, Rhode Island)
The Institute will support and facilitate the creation of a new parks network in Providence that will support the downtown area and ensure that all residents have access to well-cared for greenspaces. The proposed network will span 50 acres of public spaces and trails along the downtown riverfront and will engage stakeholders from across the city to cultivate community participation and a sense of collective ownership.
Gathering Place (Tulsa, Oklahoma)
Gathering Place’s state-of-the-art park seeks to bridge some of Tulsa’s most persistent racial and economic divides. To do so, the organization has identified a need to support the creation of a community-led vision for the park by building authentic, relevant relationships with stakeholders in the civic and business communities. The Institute will work together with Gathering Place to revise their community engagement model to better understand and meet the needs of the diverse communities the park aims to serve.
Support for the Partnerships Lab at the national level is provided by The JPB Foundation. Support for the Partnerships Lab at the New York City level is provided by The Prospect Hill Foundation, Inc. Support for the Institute for Urban Parks is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Mr. & Mrs. Russell L. Carson, Charina Endowment Fund, The Jerome L. Greene Foundation, Nadine & Michael Grobstein, The JPB Foundation, Ralph & Ricky Lauren, Ira & Susan Millstein, Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, Sarah Peter, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, and The Prospect Hill Foundation, Inc.
ABOUT THE CENTRAL PARK CONSERVANCY
The Central Park Conservancy is a private, not-for-profit organization that manages Central Park and is responsible for raising the Park’s annual operating budget. The Conservancy’s staff of more than 300 is responsible for all aspects of the Park’s stewardship, from day-to-day maintenance and operations to continued restoration and rebuilding projects. Additionally, the Conservancy operates the Park’s visitor centers, provides public programs, and serves as a resource for other NYC parks and for public-private partnerships around the world.
ABOUT THE INSTITUTE FOR URBAN PARKS
The Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks, founded in 2013, draws on the Conservancy’s 40 years of experience and expertise to develop programs that educate and connect park organizations, while supporting a vital community of practice among public and private partners. Through continuing education, capacity building, thought leadership, and peer-to-peer exchange, the Institute empowers, informs, and connects the individuals and organizations that care for urban parks. We do this to ensure that all urban park organizations have the knowledge and the capacity to create and sustain great public parks throughout New York City and across the country.