The Women's Committee is a group of dynamic women who are dedicated to the beautification and preservation of Central Park. Founded in 1983 by four visionary women, the Women's Committee has been instrumental in increasing awareness and raising funds for many Park projects including the reconstruction of the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, the renovation of Safari Playground, and recreation of the urns at Bow Bridge. The Women's Committee raises nearly 15 percent of Central Park Conservancy's $57 million annual, Park-wide budget.
The Women’s Committee is proud to host four of New York’s premier charitable events: the Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon, the Fall Luncheon, the Annual Family Party in Heckscher Playground, and the Playground Partners Winter Luncheon. With a membership of over 1,000, the Committee is responsible for the operation of many Park-wide programs including Adopt-A-Bench, Tree Trust, Playground Partners, Tulips and Daffodils, Perimeter Association, and Conservancy Docents.
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Karen Thornwell May is currently serving as the Women's Committee President for a two-year term, beginning in June 2014.
Karen is an avid Park user and has shown her devotion to the Park through her involvement in various Women’s Committee programs. A member of the Women's Committee Board since 2006, Karen has served as a Chairman of the Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon and the Bench Committee, serves on the Membership and Olmsted Visionaries Committees, and has served as Assistant Secretary to the Executive Committee.
Karen has been a member of the Administrative Board of The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center since 1988 and served as its president from 1995 to 1997.
Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Karen has a BA from Wellesley College and an MBA from Columbia University. She is married to Tony May, and they have two sons.