Press Release: Forever Green - Ensuring the Future of Central Park
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | July 13, 2016
CENTRAL PARK CONSERVANCY AT 35 TO LAUNCH FOREVER GREEN: ENSURING THE FUTURE OF CENTRAL PARK Ten-Year Campaign to Restore and Preserve This Culturally Significant Landscape
$300 MILLION FUNDRAISING GOAL – $112 MILLION RAISED TO DATE Initial Projects Include the North Woods, The Ramble, Historically and Architecturally Important Structures in Central Park – $25 Million Gift by the Thompson Family Foundation To Restore Historic Buildings
EFFORT BY CONSERVANCY TO PROMOTE LONG TERM APPROACH TO STEWARDSHIP AND FULL PARK PRESERVATION AND BEAUTY Follows Decades of Investment In Essential Rebuilding and Infrastructure
Forever Green Chaired by Anne S. Harrison, Thomas L. Kempner, Jr., John Paulson
New York, NY — The Central Park Conservancy (CPC), which has served since 1980 as the stewards of Central Park, and operates the Park in partnership with NYC Parks, today announced Forever Green: Ensuring the Future of Central Park. The campaign, with a fundraising goal of $300 million, and a ten-year time frame, will support the restoration and preservation of this culturally significant landscape, its woodlands, playgrounds, and historically and architecturally significant structures. Forever Green was conceived to promote long-term vision for the entire Park, and follows decades of investment by the Conservancy in essential rebuilding and infrastructure. $112 million toward the goal has been raised to date. The campaign is chaired by Anne S. Harrison, Thomas L. Kempner, Jr., and John Paulson, and will be supported by the 35th Anniversary Committee of the Women’s Committee of CPC.
A $25 million cornerstone gift to Forever Green has been pledged by the Thompson Family Foundation, the legacy of Wade Thompson. Their extraordinary generosity will fund the restoration of the Belvedere Castle, the historic Children’s District of Central Park, including the Dairy and Kinderberg, and Chess and Checkers House. Restoration of Central Park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux’s original vision for the North Woods and The Ramble have begun, as well as planning for arches, bridges and other structures throughout the Park. The Hallett Nature Sanctuary, featuring a picturesque, naturalistic landscape was recently reopened, with 19th century-inspired rustic elements, additional examples of which are being re-created in various locations in the Park. Restoration of the Conservatory Garden and Naumburg Bandshell are in planning phases. Additional projects are being evaluated, and may expand the scope and goals of the Forever Green campaign.
“For 35 years, the Central Park Conservancy has worked in close partnership with the City of New York, and so many great New Yorkers, to save, stabilize, rebuild and care for Central Park,” commented Douglas Blonsky, President and CEO of the Central Park Conservancy, and Central Park Administrator. “With decades of essential Conservancy investment in the Park and its once-severely decayed infrastructure, we believe the time is right for a cultural renaissance for Central Park. Forever Green will focus on the restoration and preservation of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux’s original vision, and securing the cultural value and beauty of this extraordinary work of landscape architecture. As urban density continues to increase rapidly, and urban parks become even more crucial to healthy urban life, this next major step for Central Park reflects the original, enduring reason for the creation of Central Park in the center of the City, for all New Yorkers, more than 150 years ago.”
“The Central Park Conservancy has worked tirelessly to rebuild, repair and manage Central Park for 35 years,” commented NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “The launch of the Forever Green campaign is a great example of its far-sighted vision to continue to restore and preserve Central Park’s important cultural value as a historic landscape. Their partnership with the City is exemplary, and I look forward to their progress.”
“As the Central Park Conservancy considered its future ambitions for the centerpiece of New York’s parks, and one of the greatest in the world, we knew it was time to focus dually on long-term planning and stewardship for this most culturally significant and beautiful green space in the heart of the City, free and open to all,” commented Thomas L. Kempner, Jr., Chairman of the Central Park Conservancy, on behalf of the Forever Green Co-Chairs, Anne S. Harrison and John Paulson. “Long-term financial stability for CPC is key to this goal — the milestone gift to the Conservancy by John Paulson in 2012, and the far-sighted renewal of CPC’s contract with the City of New York in 2013, reflecting years of fruitful partnership, gave us the solid foundation to envision Forever Green, to work to ensure Central Park’s future at the highest level. We are deeply grateful to the Thompson Family Foundation for their exemplary gift and commitment in preserving the significance of the Park. We are also very appreciative to the other primary donors who have brought us to more than one third of the fundraising goal of Forever Green, and to the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy for their unflagging dedication.”
The Thompson Family Foundation's mission is to better the lives of all New Yorkers through inspired and inspiring giving. The Foundation helps to fund the restoration and preservation of important sites, support art and cultural institutions, fund educational programs, and provide resources for medical research, focusing primarily on the causes and possible cures of cancer.
Today, the Central Park Conservancy raises 75% of the funds needed to operate Central Park, which is enjoyed by 42 million visitors annually. Through the model of the public-private partnership, developed by the Central Park Conservancy, CPC has invested nearly $1 billion in Central Park to date, which helps to generate approximately $1.4 billion in annual economic activity that benefits the City. The Forever Green campaign will also benefit the further development of the Central Park Conservancy’s Institute for Urban Parks, to share its knowledge and expertise with parks throughout the City, nationally and internationally to help them create strong management models, and to promote the importance of urban parks in the 21st century.