The board of directors of the Friends of the Public Garden has elected Anne Brooke as president. Brooke has been on the Friends board for more than six years, serving as co-chair of the Development and Membership Committees and as a member of the Executive Committee. She and her husband, Peter, live in the Back Bay.
The Friends of the Public Garden, founded in 1970, works with the City of Boston to protect and enhance Bostonâ€™s first public parksâ€“-the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. Brooke is only its second president, succeeding founder Henry Lee.
President Emeritus Henry Lee said, “The Friends is enormously fortunate to have someone of the intelligence, nonprofit experience, and sound judgment as Anne Brooke assuming the presidency at this important time in the organizationâ€™s life. Under her leadership I know the Friends will continue to prosper.â€
Anne Brooke said, â€œIt is an honor for me to serve as the president of the Friends of the Public Garden. We all at the Friends look forward to continuing our work with the Parks Department. This wonderful organization has done so much for the Boston community by providing hundreds of thousands of dollars, each year, to assist the city in the care of our parks. I sincerely encourage all of our friends and neighbors here in the city to join the Friends in supporting the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall so that we are able to continue to maintain, preserve and improve the quality of care for our three historic green spaces.â€
Brooke has long and varied experience as a leader in nonprofit organizations. She is active with the Massachusetts Audubon Society, where she served as a board member for twenty years and as vice-president for ten of those years. She was instrumental in establishing the Boston Nature Center in Mattapan, at the end of the Emerald Necklace. Currently she is an Overseer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and of the Museum of Fine Arts, a Visitor to the Harvard Art Museums, and a member of the Council of Overseers at the Massachusetts Historical Society.Â While living in Concord, Massachusetts, where she and her husband raised three sons, Brooke served as president of the Concord Garden Club, chairman of the Historic Districts Commission, and president of the board of the Concord Museum.
Brooke takes the helm at an exciting time for the Friends. Last spring, the organization completed the first phase of the most ambitious project in its 42 year history, renovation of Brewer Fountain Plaza and its adjacent landscape at the southeast corner of the Common. Last year, thousands of park users enjoyed the revitalized space animated with a food truck, tables and chairs, a reading room and piano music at lunchtime. The Friends will complete this $4 million revitalization effort over the next year. Its campaign to raise funds for the project is well underway, attracting gifts of all sizes from across the community. The final project phase includes more landscaping and restoration of the historic iron fence along Tremont Street.
The Friends continues its primary mission of funding the expert care of trees and sculpture in all three parks. This month a first phase of new tree labels in the Garden is being installed. A second major turf restoration project will be implemented on the Mall in 2013, and planning for landscape improvements to the Boylston Street boundary of the Garden has begun.