City Life Org – Seven Urban Parks Organizations Selected for the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks 2022 Partnerships Lab


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The Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks (Institute) is pleased to announce the seven urban parks organizations selected for the Partnerships Lab 2022 cohort. These organizations, representing urban parks programs in New York City and the United States, will participate in the eight-month program to learn best practices, engage in peer-to-peer mentorship, and participate in workshops with experts in material from Central Park Conservancy. .

This year’s Partnerships Lab cohort includes:

  • Friends of Morningside Park (New York, New York)
  • Prospect Park Alliance (Brooklyn, New York)
  • Queens Botanical Garden (Queens, New York)
  • Seattle Parks and Recreation, Arboretum Foundation, University of Washington Botanical Gardens (Seattle, Washington)
  • Civic Center Conservatory (Denver, Colorado)
  • Providence Downtown Park System (Providence, Rhode Island)
  • Gathering Place (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

“We are very excited to welcome the seven urban parks organizations that will join the Institute for the 2022 Partnerships Lab,” said Maura Lout, Executive Director of the Urban Parks Institute. “Investing in urban parks and green spaces is investing in a more equitable and climate-resilient future for all. The ongoing pandemic and increased use of parks only heightens the urgency to support the organizations that manage these essential public spaces.

Leveraging Conservancy’s decades-long resources and expertise, the Partnerships Lab initiative supports urban parks organizations as they build their capacity to nurture large public spaces. Participants receive one-on-one coaching sessions, a personalized multi-day retreat, virtual group learning, capacity-building resources, and access to an extensive network of city park peers.

The Institute works with participants to ensure that the parks continue to provide economic, environmental and health benefits to surrounding communities. Since the Institute launched the Partnerships Lab in 2019, it has collaborated with more than 125 park professionals and 16 organizations in nine cities across the United States.


Friends of Morningside Park (New York, New York)

Serving the Manhattan Valley, Harlem, and Morningside Heights neighborhoods for 40 years, the Friends of Morningside Park (FMP) is a longtime volunteer-run park organization in Upper Manhattan. Together, FMP will work with the Institute to establish the systems and processes necessary to support its long-term goal of managing Morningside Park so that the surrounding community can enjoy the myriad benefits of this public green space.

Prospect Park Alliance (Brooklyn, New York)

With 586 acres located in the heart of Brooklyn, Prospect Park serves a wide range of precincts and neighborhoods in the borough. The Prospect Park Alliance, in conjunction with the Institute for Urban Parks, aims to develop and implement an innovative, forward-thinking community engagement strategy that will deepen its relationships in each of the park’s adjacent neighborhoods and create a network of committed partners who fairly represent all communities surrounding the park and beyond.

Queens Botanical Garden (Queens, New York)

Located in and serving one of New York’s most diverse communities, Flushing, Queens, the Queens Botanical Garden (QBG) welcomes a new Executive Director and prepares for an era of transformation. Through the lab, QBG will work with the Institute to develop a long-term sustainable growth plan that will allow the organization to continue to serve its diverse constituencies and provide access to safe, beautiful grounds and quality programming. for many years to come.

Seattle Parks and Recreation, Arboretum Foundation, University of Washington Botanical Gardens (Seattle, Washington)

The Institute for Urban Parks will work alongside these three entities and the diverse communities they serve to create an overarching vision and identity for the 230-acre Washington Park Arboretum and its sister facilities. Using input from community leaders and key stakeholders, the Institute will help reimagine the governance and operating structures of these spaces with a focus on equity and inclusion so that these valuable resources work in a way safe, accessible and representative of all residents.

Civic Center Conservatory (Denver, Colorado)

In the wake of COVID-19, Denver’s once most-visited public space, like those in many downtown areas across the country, has faced new challenges and changes in park usage. As the Civic Center Conservancy now looks to the future, the Institute will support the development of a park activation plan that centers the needs of all Denver communities while charting an equitable path forward. .

Providence Downtown Park System (Providence, Rhode Island)

The Institute will support and facilitate the creation of a new network of parks in Providence that will support the downtown area and ensure that all residents have access to well-maintained green spaces. The proposed network will span 50 acres of public spaces and pathways along the downtown waterfront and engage stakeholders across the city to cultivate community participation and a sense of collective ownership.

Gathering Place (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

The state-of-the-art Gathering Place park seeks to bridge some of Tulsa’s most enduring racial and economic divides. To do this, the organization identified the need to support the creation of a community vision for the park by building authentic and relevant relationships with stakeholders in the civic and business communities. The Institute will work with Gathering Place to revise its community engagement model to better understand and meet the needs of the diverse communities the park aims to serve.

Learn more about the organizations selected for the Urban Parks Institute’s 2022 Partnerships Lab.

Support for the National Level Partnerships Lab is provided by the JPB Foundation. Support for the Partnerships Lab at the New York City level is provided by The Prospect Hill Foundation, Inc. Support for the Institute for Urban Parks is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Mr. and Mrs. Russell L. Carson, Charina Endowment Fund , The Jerome L. Greene Foundation, Nadine & Michael Grobstein, The JPB Foundation, Ralph & Ricky Lauren, Ira & Susan Millstein, Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, Sarah Peter, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, and The Prospect Hill Foundation, Inc.


Central Park Conservancy is a private, nonprofit organization that manages Central Park and is responsible for raising the park’s annual operating budget. The Conservancy’s staff of more than 300 is responsible for all aspects of park stewardship, from day-to-day maintenance and operations to continuing restoration and reconstruction projects. Additionally, the Conservancy operates the park’s visitor centers, offers public programs, and serves as a resource for other New York City parks and for public-private partnerships around the world.


The Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks, founded in 2013, draws on the Conservancy’s 40 years of experience and expertise to develop programs that educate and connect park organizations, while supporting a vital community of practice among public and private partners. Through continuing education, capacity building, thought leadership and peer-to-peer exchange, the Institute empowers, informs and connects individuals and organizations who care for urban parks. We do this to ensure that all urban park organizations have the knowledge and ability to create and maintain great public parks throughout New York City and across the country.


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