Central Park Conservancy, Inc.

New York, NY   |  www.centralparknyc.org

Mission

The mission of the Central Park Conservancy is to preserve and celebrate Central Park as a sanctuary from the pace and pressures of city life, enhancing the enjoyment and wellbeing of all.

Notes from the nonprofit

Central Park is New York City’s 843-acre backyard. It is a beloved and essential public space that serves as an escape from the stresses of the City, a place to play, relax, and breathe a little easier. The Central Park Conservancy cares for the entire Park, making sure it remains clean, beautiful, free, and open to all, every day. Conservancy employees tend to the largest and smallest details of the Park’s maintenance and restoration, while seeking innovative ways to nurture and manage a living masterpiece that feels welcoming to our 42 million visitors each year. Funded primarily by donations from the public, the nonprofit Central Park Conservancy has created a model for other parks and greenspaces to partner with the public to reclaim and enhance their neighborhoods and their cities by investing in the power of the natural environment.

Ruling year info

1980

President & CEO

Ms. Elizabeth W. Smith

Main address

14 E 60th St 8th Fl

New York, NY 10022 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

13-3022855

NTEE code info

Parks and Playgrounds (N32)

Botanical, Horticultural, and Landscape Services (C40)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Planning, Design and Construction

Design and construction in connection with the restoration of Central Park as America's foremost urban public space. The Conservancy has carried out a restoration management plan for the Park, and managed the capital restoration of a number of significant landscapes and facilities.

Population(s) Served
Adults

As the official manager of Central Park, the Conservancy is responsible for the day-to-day maintenance operation of the Park. Activities include: landscape maintenance, playground maintenance, tree care, turf care, and preservation of historic monuments. The Conservancy has set new standards in excellence in park care. It has transformed Central Park into a model for urban parks worldwide.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Conservancy's Public Programs take advantage of the invaluable resources in Central Park providing education, recreation, and volunteer programs that serve the community, In addition, the Conservancy provides services at the five following Visitor Centers in the Park: Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, North Meadow Recreation Center, Belvedere Castle, The Dairy Visitor Center and Gift Shop , and Chess and Checkers House.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks is the educational arm of the Central Park Conservancy. The Institute develops programs designed to foster a deeper appreciation for urban parks and shares the Conservancy's world-class management and stewardship practices. Through the Institute for Urban Parks, the Central Park Conservancy is training and teaching urban park professionals and park stewards, globally, and locally. The Central Park Conservancy is Helping Other NYC Parks' throughout the five boroughs to share our best practices in urban park management.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total aggregate dollars (in millions) invested in Park

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of Visitors to Park (in millions): 1981 - 12 million; 1999 - 20 million

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of Volunteers (by fiscal year)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Central Park Conservancy (the “Conservancy") is a global leader in urban park management. After a successful 34-year history our number one priority is the ongoing restoration, maintenance and enhancement of Central Park in a partnership with the people and City of New York. We do this by raising 75% of the money required to take care of the Park and by hard work, dedication and innovative stewardship. This public-private partnership and the sheer size of Central Park and its historical, economic and societal significance make us unique among conservancies.

Our future goals center around 3 guiding missions: to move forward with a new 10-year plan of restoration and stewardship concurrent with a new contract with the City of New York, to continue to build our core operating and organizational infrastructure, and to invest in our educational arm, the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks (the “Institute").

Our success has created its own set of challenges; managing the growing numbers of visitors to the Park, now estimated to be more than 40 million a year. Given the intensity of usage, we aim to continue making Central Park the safest, most beautiful urban park in the world, while sharing our knowledge and expertise with other urban parks so they can achieve similar results.

Long term success for the Conservancy will involve continued innovation in park stewardship and management, an expanded role in knowledge sharing and education about the connection between the health of the Park and the health of the City, and a robust fundraising effort and partnership with the public. One of our main slogans is, “It's your park, we just take care of it for you". And we mean it!

In 2013, the Conservancy revisited its 2010 Strategic Plan and developed a three-part strategy to address the next 10 years:

1. $170 Million capital program managed by the Conservancy's Planning, Design and Construction division. The plan includes: Parkwide Projects, Playgrounds Initiative, Woodlands Initiative, City-funded Projects and Additional Projects.

2. The Institute, the educational arm of the Conservancy whose mandate is to share its expertise of world-class urban park management with park professionals locally and globally as well as elevate the visitor experience through exploration and education. The scope of work performed by the Institute includes: continuation of work performed at locations outside Central Park under agreement with the City of New York, a new 5-Boro Crew to support additional sites throughout New York City, Training and Consulting for park professionals and Environmental Education.

3. Core Operating/Organization Infrastructure to maintain the Park more efficiently and effectively including new operations positions to support newly restored landscapes as well as site specific crews, for example to support the Reservoir Running Track, fleet purchases and miscellaneous facility and landscape improvement projects throughout the Park.

• The experience gained through our 34-year commitment to the stewardship of Central Park has endowed the Conservancy with an unparalleled expertise in urban park management.

• The Conservancy's greatest asset is our dedicated staff of over 350 full-time employees who maintain, operate, and restore the Park; provide visitor services and public programs; and share information and expertise with other parks. Our team includes:
o Park-based operations staff who carry out every aspect of the day-to-day management of the Park—from landscape and tree-care to trash removal and infrastructure repairs, playground maintenance, monuments conservation, and film and events management.
o A professional design and construction staff of landscape architects, planners, and other professionals who plan, design, and manage construction for all restoration and reconstruction projects.
o Public programs and visitor services staff who provide a range of educational, cultural, and recreational programs in the Park, including five visitor centers operated by the Conservancy.
o The staff of our newly established Institute, who develop programs and resources designed to share the Conservancy's management expertise with park professionals and organizations in New York City and around the world who want to improve their local parks.
• The work of our staff is supplemented by our committed volunteers, who in 2014 numbered 2,534 individuals and contributed a total of 51,861 hours to the Park. These include: 270 horticultural volunteers who contribute one or more mornings a week working with our staff gardeners in an assigned landscape, or on weekend projects; 148 tour guides and greeters who help to direct and educate visitors; 870 volunteers from corporate and non-profit partners participating in special “Day in the Dirt" projects; and other volunteers who assist with everything from special events to office work.
• Through our fundraising activities, the Conservancy funds 75% of the Park's $57 million annual operating budget. Our operating agreement with the City of New York, renewed for a third time in 2013, secures a commitment from the City provided that the Conservancy meets its fundraising and park management obligations.

The Conservancy continues to look for opportunities to increase awareness and understanding of both our role in managing Central Park; and our care of other New York City parks as part of our City contract. In 2012, we established the Institute as the educational arm of the Conservancy. The Institute shares best practices developed through our 34 years of experience with our staff, park professionals and other park groups. While we are an innovator among our industry colleagues, the founding of the Institute has cemented our position as the thought leader in urban park management for a wide range of new audiences.

During this same period, the Conservancy embarked on a comprehensive branding campaign to raise public awareness of the Conservancy to the same level as our industry awareness. We continue to focus on new opportunities to grow our individual membership through our branding campaign and public events. We are also developing a curriculum focused on park users and park lovers as part of our ongoing effort to educate the public about our work.

The Conservancy could not have achieved its success without its dedicated and committed staff. From its beginnings in 1980, with a staff of 7 to its current level of 350 and growing, the Conservancy continually examines staff satisfaction and effectiveness to ensure the high level of excellence required to maintain Central Park. Recently, the Conservancy engaged the Disney Institute to develop a Common Purpose which memorialized the work effort demonstrated throughout its 34-year history. This statement, “We create the Central Park Experience by keeping Central Park the most beautiful and inviting park in the world" serves as the staff's Common Purpose and informs the way we approach our work: The Conservancy Way – our 4 guiding principles - Safety/Security, Courtesy, Stewardship and Expertise. As we embark on the next 10 years of work in the Park and through the Institute, it is the Conservancy staff who will be our greatest resource to ongoing success.

Financials

Central Park Conservancy, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Central Park Conservancy, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 2/25/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Thomas L. Kempner, Jr.

Keewaydin Investments, LLC

Thomas L. Kempner, Jr.

Keewaydin Investments, LLC

Jane Bayard

Michael Grobstein

Retired Vice Chairman, Ernst & Young

Kenneth Heitner

Deloitte Tax LLP

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes