This section provides an overview of the Central Park Conservancy's governance policies and practices. This section summarizes existing policies, committee responsibilities, and by-laws adopted by the Board of Trustees. This overview applies to Trustees, Committee members, senior officers, and employees of the Conservancy and how they carry out their respective responsibilities.
1. THE ORGANIZATION
a. Organizational Status
The Central Park Conservancy is a publicly-supported tax exempt 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
The mission of the Central Park Conservancy is to restore, manage, and enhance Central Park in partnership with the public.
The Conservancy aspires to build a great organization that sets the standard for and spreads the principles of world-class park management — emphasizing environmental excellence — to improve the quality of open space for the enjoyment of all.
The Conservancy is committed to sustaining this operating model to provide a legacy for future generations of park users.
The Central Park Conservancy is a private, not-for-profit organization founded in 1980 that manages Central Park under a contract with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Thanks to the generosity of many individuals, corporations, foundations, and the City of New York, the Conservancy has invested $690 million to date into the Park, $536 million of which was privately funded, making it a model for urban parks worldwide. The Conservancy provides the majority of Central Park's $58.3 million annual operating budget, and is responsible for all basic care of the Park.
With 40 million visitors each year to its 843 acres, Central Park is the most frequently visited urban park in the United States. To manage the Park, Conservancy crews aerate and seed lawns; rake leaves; prune and fertilize trees; plant shrubs and flowers; maintain ballfields and playgrounds; remove graffiti; conserve monuments, bridges, and buildings; and care for waterbodies and woodlands, controlling erosion, maintaining the drainage system, and protecting over 150 acres of lakes and streams from pollution, siltation, and algae.
c. Guiding Principle
Central Park is a masterpiece of landscape architecture created to provide a scenic retreat from urban life for the enjoyment of all and, in so doing, establishes New York’s place among the great cities of the world. As the organization entrusted with the responsibility of caring for New York's most important public space, our work is founded on the belief that citizen leadership and private philanthropy are key to ensuring that the Park and its essential purpose endure.
d. Core Values
Commitment: We value commitment to our mission, Central Park, and the visitor experience.
Excellence: We value innovation and the highest quality results in every aspect of our work.
Integrity: We value ethical conduct in our business practices.
Adaptability: We value adaptability in our response to change and challenges.
Communication: We value clear, consistent communication, teamwork and an open dialogue both internally and with the public.
Public Confidence: We value the public, and work to earn and maintain their confidence in our role as caretakers of Central Park.
2. BOARD OF TRUSTEES
a. Fiduciary Duties
The Board acts as the fiduciary and the steward of the organization and as a guardian of the Conservancy's mission. All Trustees are fully expected to carry out the following duties:
b. Responsibilities of the Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is responsible for oversight of the management of the Conservancy to ensure that the resources, financial assets, and staff are properly and effectively used in support of the mission and in accordance with the Organization's by-laws, applicable laws and regulations, and the Management Contract with the City of New York. Primary Board responsibilities:
c. Size of the Board
The By-laws provide that there are fifty-two (52) Trustees.
d. Board Composition
A fourth category of Life Trustees are entitled to attend meetings. However, their presence is not counted towards quorum, they are not entitled to vote, nor are they considered Trustees for any other purpose. Life Trustees shall hold office until death or resignation.
General Trustees are divided into two (2) annual classes. Each class serves for two (2) years, and may be re-elected. There are no term limits.
A substantial majority of the Board of Trustees are independent directors, defined as individuals:
The Officers of the Board include the Board Chair; one or more Vice-Chairs; a President and CEO; and Secretary, Treasurer, and such additional officers that the Board may from time to time elect. Officers hold office for one (1) year. There are no term limits. No ex-Officio Trustee shall be an Officer. Officers may be removed with or without cause by the Board.
a. Standing Committees
b. Special Committees
c. Committee Composition
The by-laws do not limit participation of non-Trustees on Committees; therefore Committees may include non-Trustees, as is deemed necessary to expand expertise or board diversity, familiarize new donors or potential board members, or include new stakeholders in the Conservancy's work.
The Board of Trustees has four (4) regularly scheduled meetings annually. All scheduled Board and Committee meetings include an agenda and materials are provided to Trustees and Committee members in advance of such meetings. Trustees are expected to prepare for all meetings by reviewing the materials and to attend all meetings. Standing Committees are scheduled to meet four times annually in conjunction with the Board meeting, with the exception of the Audit Committee that has two scheduled meetings each year to coincide with the independent audit. Additional Committee meetings are scheduled as needed.
The Nominating Committee reviews any individuals proposed to the board as candidates for membership and makes recommendations to the full Board, in addition to reviewing the Board's composition and performance on an annul basis. The Committee takes into account the Board's overall composition in relation to the organization's short and long term goals and needs and considers the presence of appropriate combination of professional experience, skills, knowledge, perspectives, and backgrounds on the Board as a whole. The number of Trustees varies depending on resignations, retirement, or removals and the availability of appropriate qualified candidates. Vacancies of General Trustees are filled by a majority vote of the remaining General, Ex-officio, and Appointed Trustees. The Chairman, in consultation with the President and Committee Chair, appoints the Chairs for all Committees.
6. EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION AND EVALUATION
The Compensation and Management Development Committee meets annually to formally review the performance of the President and senior management and establish compensation and management development initiatives. The President does not attend or participate in the discussions, deliberations, or voting on his or her compensation.
7. RELEVANT POLICIES
a. Code of Conduct
The Conservancy is committed to maintaining the highest standards of conduct and ethics, and the organization's success is dependent upon the public's trust that Conservancy Trustees, Officers, Employees will conduct business in compliance with applicable laws, using sound judgment, and in an honest and ethical manner. The Conservancy's Code of Conduct includes guidelines with respect to business ethics, financial accounting and recordkeeping, confidentiality of Conservancy records, anti-harassment, and substance abuse.
b. Conflicts of Interest Policy
Members of the Conservancy's Board of Trustees, as well as Conservancy officers and employees have a fiduciary duty to carry out the mission of the Conservancy and conduct themselves without conflict to the interests of the organization. An actual or potential conflict of interest arises when an individual in a position to influence a decision concerning the Conservancy's operations may result in a pecuniary benefit to that person, or to his or her family. All Trustees, Officers, and Employees have a duty to disclose actual or potential conflicts of interest regarding themselves, as well as other Trustees, Officers, and/or Employees.
c. Gifts Acceptance Policy
The Conservancy accepts unrestricted gifts, as well as gifts designated for specific programs and purposes from individuals, corporations, and foundations that fulfill and further the mission of Conservancy. "Standard Contributions," which are generally accepted in the ordinary course of business, include cash, publicly traded securities, charitable gift annuities, life insurance and retirement plan beneficiary designations, and matching gifts. "Non-standard Contributions", such as tangible personal property, real estate, closely held securities, remainder interests in property, charitable remainder trusts, and charitable lead trusts are subject to review by the Conservancy's Gift Acceptance Committee prior to acceptance to determine whether (a) accepting the property fulfills the Conservancy's mission, (b) the property is marketable, (c) there are liabilities associated with the property, and/or (d) the property will generate undesirable tax consequences for the organization.
d. Whistleblower Policy
The Conservancy's Whistleblower Policy is intended to encourage and enable employees and others to report fraudulent, dishonest, or illegal conduct. No officer, director, or employee who in good faith reports a violation of the Conservancy's Code of Conduct shall suffer harassment, retaliation, or adverse employment consequences. Reports of improper conduct may be confidentially submitted to the Conservancy through a confidential portal found on the organization's intranet at http://intranet.e-cpc.centralparknyc.org.
Commissioned in 1500 BC by an Egyptian pharaoh, the obelisk was moved to New York 1881. It was offered by the Egyptian Khedive to America in exchange for funds to modernize his country.