Board of Trustees

Bette Midler, Founder  View Bio

Dave Barger, View Bio

Adrian BenepeView Bio

Ellen Crehan-Corwin, View Bio

Todd DeGarmo, View Bio

Linda Allard GallenView Bio

Edmund HollanderFASLA View bio 

Michael Kors, View Bio

Ellen Levine, Vice President View Bio 


Sarah E. NashSecretary & Treasurer View Bio

Benjamin F. Needell Esq.Chairman  View Bio

Patricia Salas Pineda, View Bio

Maria Rodale, View Bio

Darcy A. Stacom, View Bio

Charles Sussman,  View Bio

Jann S. Wenner, View Bio

Ann Ziff, View Bio

Hon. Veronica M. White, ex-officio View Bio


chairman's council

Diane Brownstone

Lisa Caputo

Vishaan Chakrabarti

Alexandra Cohen

Douglas Durst

Adam Flatto

Amy Goldman Fowler

Tim Gunn

Jacqueline Hernández

Peter Jueptner

Yoko Ono Lennon

Timothy J. McClimon

James L. Nederlander

Margo MacNabb Nederlander

Joshua Sirefman

Bette Midler, Founder

Since 1995, the award-winning actress and singer has been a tireless, passionate and influential advocate for New York City's most neglected and forgotten spaces and, as such, has been responsible for rescuing parks and scores of community gardens in underserved neighborhoods throughout the city’s five boroughs. Bette’s initial and ultimate visions for New York Restoration Project (NYRP) and its role in the greening of New York City continue to steer NYRP in both inspiration and execution at every level of the organization.

Bette is NYRP’s principal fundraiser and primary cultivator of donors, corporate partners and members – tirelessly rolling up her sleeves and getting involved in NYRP’s many events, projects and programs. She is the main draw at NYRP’s annual Spring Picnic and Hulaween gala benefits, where her performances and commentary are anxiously anticipated each year, raising almost $3 million annually to support the organization’s efforts. She also leads selective donor tours of project sites, opens newly restored community gardens and – every year – generously donates to NYRP and its many programs.

Bette has received many honors for her critical work and leadership in protecting and restoring some of New York City’s most vital green spaces, including the 2002 Governor's Award for Parks and Preservation. In 2005, she was made an honorary member of the American Society of Landscape Architects and, in 2008, she received the National Audubon Society’s Rachel Carson Award, the nation’s premier recognition of women who have demonstrated great leadership and commitment to conservation.

Dave Barger

As President and Chief Executive Officer, David (Dave) Barger leads JetBlue's charge to bring humanity back to air travel and to establish JetBlue as a new standard in the airline industry for service, performance and innovation. Mr. Barger founded JetBlue in August 1998 as President and Chief Operating Officer, and was named Chief Executive Officer in May 2007. He assumed the additional role of President in June 2009.

Mr. Barger is Chair of the FAA's NextGen Advisory Committee; a member of the Board of Governors and Treasurer of the Flight Safety Foundation; a President Emeritus of The Wings Club; and Chair of the Board of Directors of PENCIL, an education not-for-profit. Mr. Barger studied at the University of Michigan where he majored in Economics and Political Science.      




Adrian Benepe

Adrian Benepe has worked for more than 30 years protecting and enhancing New York City's parks, gardens and historic resources, most recently as the Commissioner of Parks & Recreation.  He continues this effort but now on a national level, as Senior Vice President for City Park Development for the Trust for Public Land, starting in that position in September, 2012.

After graduating from Middlebury College in Vermont, he became a member of the first corps of Parks & Recreation's Urban Park Rangers in 1979. He then served in several positions including Director of Public Information, Operations Coordinator, Director of Natural Resources & Horticulture (overseeing scores of restoration projects in the City's wetlands and forests), and Director of Arts & Antiquities (in charge of the City's conservation and interpretation of 1,300 statues and monuments and 23 historic house museums). From 1990 to 1993, Commissioner Benepe was the Director of the Annual Fund & Major Gifts for the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, where he expanded his knowledge of plants, trees and children's education. At the Garden, he co-founded the "Holiday Garden Railway" exhibition. From 1994 to 1996 he served as Vice President for Issues & Public Affairs for the Municipal Art Society, working on planning, historic preservation, and other civic programs, and he co-curated "Kid City," an exhibition for children on NYC's built environment. 

After six years in the non-profit sector, he returned to NYC Parks & Recreation in January 1996 as the Manhattan Borough Commissioner, where he managed Manhattan's green infrastructure of more than 300 parks, playgrounds, and malls, and helped found the Fort Tryon Park Trust, a public-private partnership for the historic park and its Heather Garden. He served in that position until he was appointed Commissioner of Parks & Recreation in January, 2002 by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, where he oversaw the operation of over 29,000 acres of public park land, encompassing nearly 5,000 properties including over 1,000 playgrounds, 600 ballfields, 600 tennis courts, 63 swimming pools, 35 recreation centers, 14 miles of beach, and over 2.5 million street and park trees, with an annual expense and capital budget of over $800 million. During his tenure, the NYC park system grew by more than 800 acres, including major new parks such as Hudson River Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the Highline, and new standards for sustainable design were introduced to guide all landscape architecture and architecture projects. He also served on 76 non-profit boards and helped to manage and develop significant public-private partnerships that contributed over one million annual volunteer hours and raised more than $165 million annually in private contributions. 

Adrian Benepe holds a B.A. in English Literature from Middlebury College and a Master's Degree in Journalism from Columbia University, where he was awarded a Pulitzer Fellowship. He lives in New York City.  



Ellen Crehan-Corwin

Ellen Crehan-Corwin, registered nurse and philanthropist, is the wife of Dr. Steven J. Corwin, Chief Executive Officer of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Ellen began her career as a staff nurse in the medical intensive care unit at the former Presbyterian Hospital of New York. She went on to hold various nursing management positions at the Hospital before starting a family. She also worked briefly managing her husband's Hospital-based cardiology practice. Ellen graduated with a B.S. degree in nursing from Herbert H. Lehman College, Summa Cum Laude, and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the National Honor Society of Nursing.

Currently, Ellen is a member of the Executive Steering Committee of the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Women's Health Symposium. She is also involved in The Citizen's Committee for Children, and Autism Speaks. Ellen has recently served as a key player in connecting community leaders across NYC with MillionTreesNYC—a joint initiative of NYRP and the City of New York to plant one million trees across New York City’s five boroughs.



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Todd DeGarmo


Todd DeGarmo is Chief Executive Officer of STUDIOS architecture, an international design and architecture firm. Todd is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and is a LEED accredited architect. His current projects include the renovation of the AIA’s National Headquarters and a Platinum LEED nature center on Kingman Island, both located in Washington, DC. Todd has been an NYRP board member since May 2008 and serves as Chair of the Real Estate Committee. He and his firm also provide pro bono design services and support to various NYRP projects.


Linda Allard Gallen

Linda Allard previously served as Design Director of Ellen Tracy. Under her guidance, the fashion company became a leading iconic brand offering designer sportswear, dresses, accessories, fragrances and a collection of home furnishings. She is the author of Absolutely Delicious, published by Random House in 1994. It is a handwritten collection of her favorite recipes, illustrated with her own watercolor paintings.

An avid gardener, Linda is a former board member of The Garden Conservancy and continues to participate in their annual Open Days program. She recently partnered with NYRP to design and help implement the 111th Street Community Garden. Currently, she serves as a board member for the American Ballet Theatre, Housantonic Valley Association. The Shakespeare Society, Washington Art Association, and Weantinoge Hertiage Land Trust, Inc.


Edmund Hollander, FASLA

While an undergraduate at Vassar College studying history, Edmund Hollander discovered his passion for plants as he created a masterplan for all the trees on the campus. After Vassar, he completed a program in Ecology and Horticulture at the New York Botanical Gardens. He then continued his studies at the University of Pennsylvania in Landscape Architecture under the direction of Ian McHarg, an inspiring force in the field of ecology and regional planning. Ed's commitment to design integrity and understanding of the site's natural factors have allowed him to create landscapes that are beautiful as well as ecologically appropriate. 

Edmund Hollander is President of Edmund Hollander Design, a firm with offices in New York and Sag Harbor which includes environmental planners, landscape architects and horticulturists. He has taught at the City College of the University of New York and in the Graduate School of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania and has lectured at the New York Botanical Garden. He is the Past President of the New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and was recently elected a Fellow in the American Society of Landscape Architects. 

Hollander Design has received many awards including the 2006 American Society of Landscape Architects Honor Award in the residential design category as well as the New York Chapter American Society of Landscape Architecture awards in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 & 2012. The firm has also won awards from the New York and Connecticut Chapters of the American Institute of Architects.


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Michael Kors


Michael Kors is recognized worldwide as an award-winning designer of luxury accessories and ready to wear. His namesake company, established in 1981, produces a range of products through his Michael Kors, KORS Michael Kors and MICHAEL Michael Kors labels, while Michael Kors stores are located globally in the most prestigious cities in the world. Since 2004 Michael has served as a judge on the internationally syndicated, Emmy-nominated show Project Runway. He has been involved with NYRP since its founding as an enthusiastic patron of the organization and its annual Hulaween gala benefit. Michael also is a supporter of amFAR, and received its Award of Courage in 2011. He lives in New York City with his husband Lance LePere and can often be found in a Broadway theater on nights he’s in town.

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Ellen Levine, Vice President


Ellen Levine, Editorial Director of Hearst Magazines has held numerous, prominent positions in the publishing industry. Levine made publishing history in October 1994 as the first woman to be named editor-in-chief of Good Housekeeping since the magazine was founded in 1885. She was also instrumental in launching new titles at Hearst, including O, The Oprah Magazine in 1999, the most successful magazine launch ever. A Founding Trustee of NYRP, she and her husband, Dr. Richard Levine, were honored with NYRP’s Wind Beneath My Wings Leadership Award in 2003 for their distinguished service to NYRP and to many philanthropic causes involving women’s health and media issues.

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Sarah E. Nash, Secretary and Treasurer

Sarah Nash recently retired as Vice Chairman of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.'s Investment Bank, where she was responsible for the firm's client relationships. She now concentrates on philanthropic efforts and her work as an investment advisor, including serving on the Board of Directors of Knoll, Inc., a renowned international innovator in workplace furnishings. Sarah has served as a Board member since 2001 and currently chairs NYRP’s Finance & Audit Committee.

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Benjamin F. Needell Esq., Chairman

Benjamin Needell is a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, where he heads the firm's Real Estate Department, which also provides valuable pro bono legal services to NYRP. As Chairman of NYRP's Board since 2001, he led the successful effort to secure a $2.5 million grant from the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation to build NYRP's Per Jay Sharp Boathouse at Swindler Cove Park.


Patricia Salas Pineda

Patricia Pineda is a Group Vice President at Toyota Motor North America, Inc where she has responsibility for Toyota’s national philanthropy and the Toyota USA Foundation.  Previously, Ms. Pineda served as General Counsel and Group Vice President of Corporate Communications. 

Ms. Pineda sits on a number of nonprofit boards and the board of Levi Strauss & Co.  She has been involved with NYRP since 2005 and was instrumental in securing the funding for the Toyota Children's Learning Garden in the East Village and Toyota's lead sponsorship of the MillionTreesNYC initiative.


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Maria Rodale

Maria Rodale is the CEO and Chairman of Rodale Inc., a global healthy lifestyle company with a mission to inspire and enable people to improve their lives and the world around them. Reaching more than 70 million people worldwide, Rodale publishes some of the best-known health and wellness magazines, including Men's Health, Prevention, Runner's World, Women's Health, and Organic Gardening. The company is also one of the largest independent booksellers in the United States with a collection of bestselling titles that include Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, South Beach Diet, and Eat This, Not That!

Maria Rodale is founding editor of, the go-to source for smart news and ideas for healthy living on a healthy planet, as well as her blog, Maria's Farm Country Kitchen. During 2012, Rodale is releasing Maria Rodale's Organic Gardening Secrets, a seasonal e-book series offering easy-to-follow organic gardening basics. The author of several books, she is known for her recent title, Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe. Written to cut through the confusion and misinformation surrounding the U.S. agriculture system, Organic Manifesto provides a highly readable look at why chemical-free farming holds the key to better health for our families and the planet. 

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Darcy A. Stacom

Crowned the "Queen of the Skyscrapers" by the Wall Street Journal in 1997, Darcy Stacom's prolific resume is as diverse as to deal type as size, ranging from multi-asset trust and estates dispositions to the $5.4 billion sale of Peter Cooper Stuyvesant Town for Metropolitan Life. She enjoys representing the Educational Construction Fund of the City of New York utilizing excess air rights to refurbish and build the City's children new schools. Ms. Stacom is an avid gardener and a long term proponent of organizations that focus on New York City's health and future. NYRP is a perfect match for her interests of beautifying the City, increasing the average New Yorkers awareness and ensuring its future. 

Ms. Stacom is a Vice Chairman and head of the investment Properties group for CBRE's New York Office. As the gateway to the global marketplace capital flows, the role is dynamic and ever-changing. In 2010, Ms. Stacom was the #1 investment sales professional, and closed 9 of the top 10 investment deals in New York City. In addition, she secured a 75% share of the overall market. 

With over 29 years of real estate experience, Ms. Stacom's expertise is often sought evidenced by her speaking engagements for numerous industry and educational organizations including Urban Land Institute, Harvard, New York University, Columbia, Wharton, AFIRE, Practicing Law Institute and many others.


Charles Sussman

Charles Sussman, is a CPA and the President of Sussman & Associates, which provides business management services to the entertainment industry. Mr. Sussman has served as Treasurer of NYRP's Board of Trustees since the organization’s founding and also sits on NYRP’s Finance & Audit Committee. In October 2006, he joined the NYRP Board in contributing funds to restore Bette's Rose Garden, a community garden in the South Bronx that honored NYRP Founder Bette Midler's 60th birthday.

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Jann S. Wenner

Jann Wenner, Chairman of Wenner Media, is the co-founder and publisher of the music and politics biweekly Rolling Stone, as well as the owner of Men’s Journal and Us Weekly magazines. In 1997, The American Society of Magazine Editors inducted Jann into their Hall of Fame, making him the youngest editor ever inducted there and, in 2004, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the Lifetime Achievement category. Jann is a founding Trustee of NYRP and, since 1995, has provided guidance and advice, in addition to generous personal contributions.

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Ann Ziff

Tamsen Ann Ziff is Chairman of the Metropolitan Opera and a Vice-Chairman on the Board of Directors of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. She is also a member of the National Council of the Aspen Music Festival. In addition, Ann is the Founding Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Smile Train, an International Organization that provides free cleft lip and palate surgery for underprivileged children. Ann was Chairman of the Board of the Rainforest Alliance for six years and is now a member of the Board of Directors of Conservation International and the Fairchild Tropical Garden. She is a founder and producer of the Caribbean Community Theater, St.Croix, U.S.V.I. Ann joined NYRP’s Board in 2009.


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Hon. Veronica M. White, ex-officio

Veronica M. White is Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, which is steward of more than 29,000 acres of land including 1,700 parks, 14 miles of beaches, 500 community gardens, and 2,500 Greenstreets. Parks also manages the City's athletic fields, playgrounds, tennis courts, public pools, nature centers, golf courses, monuments, and historic house museums. The Department of Parks & Recreation plays a key role in the PlaNYC and MillionTreesNYC initiatives, Mayor Bloomberg's signature projects to green the city and develop a more sustainable future.

Commissioner White has worked on behalf of New York City as a public official under the administration of Mayors Edward I. Koch, Rudolph Giuliani and Michael R. Bloomberg. She has also served in the private and non-profit sectors. Prior to her appointment to the Department of Parks & Recreation, Commissioner White was the founding Executive Director of the Center for Economic Opportunity. Commissioner White has worked as a consultant specializing in strategic business planning  and management for non-profits, real estate development and environmental issues, and public-private partnerships. She has served in various executive positions, including as Chief Operating Officer of the New York City Partnership and President and CEO of the New York City Housing Partnership. She also worked as Deputy Commissioner of Planing, Policy, and Intergovernmental Affairs at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and practiced law at the firms of Brown & Wood and Sidley & Austin. Commissioner White served for eight years on the New York Advisory Council of The Trust for Public Land and for seven years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Taconic Foundation.

A lifelong New Yorker, Commissioner White grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and now lives in Manhattan with her husband, Victor Marrero and two sons, Andrew and Robert. A graduate of Niagara University, she received a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a Juris Doctorate from the Harvard Law School.