Annual Report 2020

View the complete PDF of our 2020 Annual Report

From Our Executive Director

When I began the role of Executive Director at New York Restoration Project in February 2020, I could not have imagined what would follow just one month later when COVID-19 hit—a crisis that continues to this day. As a life-long New Yorker, I was deeply struck by the impacts of the pandemic to my home and felt the loss on a personal level. I made it my goal to ensure that NYRP was an active part of local recovery and that we would continue to provide essential resources and services to the communities who have been hit hardest.

This past year has only underscored how critical access to quality open space is for our mental and physical health. Since the pandemic struck, New Yorkers have been relying on open space more than ever before, with city parks now seeing pre-COVID weekend levels of use on a daily basis.

Despite this dramatic increase, as of May 2020, open space nonprofit organizations like NYRP—which collectively support 50 percent of the city’s public parks and green spaces—suffered a devastating revenue loss of $37 million dollars due to the pandemic. This translates to 40,000 lost hours of maintenance citywide, 110,000 lost hours of horticultural care, and numerous lost jobs.

In April 2020, to address this emergency, I helped form the NYC Parks and Open Space Partners. This diverse coalition of over 30 parks conservancies and advocacy groups have worked together ever since to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and advocate for increased funding of open space. In May, we issued the remarkable “Report on COVID-19 Impact on Public Spaces,” which you can read here.

While the challenges of COVID-19 will continue into 2021, this new year presents an opportunity to ensure that our green spaces remain a priority. Upcoming elections for Mayor, City Council, and Borough Presidents provide a chance for us to raise our voices for urban green space and environmental justice. I recently wrote an op-ed on this topic, entitled “The Election No One Is Talking About (Yet).” You can read the full article here.

Amidst the pandemic, NYRP has also celebrated our 25th anniversary. Our work has left an indelible mark on New York City and our success to date is a testament to the strength and integrity of the organization, which will carry us forward into the next quarter century.

This is all possible because of the generous support of our donors. On behalf of the entire NYRP team, thank you for standing with us during this unprecedented time to ensure that all New Yorkers can experience the critical benefits of nature. I look forward to working with you in 2021.

With gratitude,

Lynn B. Kelly, Executive Director

From Our Board Co-chairs

For over 25 years, New York Restoration Project has pioneered a model to turn underutilized public spaces into beloved community assets, making our city cleaner, greener, and healthier for 8.6 million residents.

The past year has been unique in so many ways—some expected and others not. Early in the year, we kicked off our 25th anniversary by welcoming Lynn Kelly as NYRP’s new Executive Director. Unfortunately, just one month later, COVID-19 hit and devastated many of the communities where NYRP works. The immediate impact of the pandemic prompted NYRP to adapt and innovate like never before.

As New Yorkers, we understand how essential open space is to a thriving city. Community parks and gardens support mental and physical health, offer a safe place for children to play, and provide fresh, locally grown food. For all these reasons, New Yorkers need the respite of open space now more than ever. In particular, the pandemic has exacerbated the existing food insecurity crisis throughout the city, underscoring the importance of NYRP’s work in urban agriculture.

Despite the incredible challenges of this past year, we found many reasons to celebrate this milestone for NYRP. In 2020 alone, we:

  • Removed 120,000 pounds of trash from parks
  • Composted 43,000 pounds of organic material
  • Helped gardeners grow 90,000 pounds of fresh produce
  • Built or transformed 18 shared green spaces throughout the city
  • Completely renovated 2 community gardens
  • Reintroduced an oyster reef to northern Manhattan

Thanks to strong leadership, strategic management, and our dedicated donors, NYRP has been able to persevere and deliver essential services throughout this crisis. As the city begins the long process of rebuilding, NYRP will be a vital part of that recovery, working at the intersection of environmental and social justice to make communities safer, healthier, and happier.

Thank you for standing with us to ensure that all New Yorkers can access the critical benefits of green space. Your support has already made such a difference, and it is what will carry NYRP’s mission forward into the next 25 years.

With gratitude,

Helena Durst and Darcy Stacom,
Board of Trustees Co-Chairs

Mission and Values

New York Restoration Project believes that access to nature is a fundamental human right.

Read More

Revitalizing Open Space

This past year was always going to be busy for NYRP’s Operations and Capital teams: we began 2020 with ambitious plans to renovate over 15 green spaces for community partners and totally overhaul two of our biggest gardens all while continuing our routine maintenance rounds throughout the city.

Read More

Cultivating Environmental Leaders

COVID-19 fundamentally reshaped many of NYRP’s core programs in 2020: in-garden events, tree giveaways, and nature education moved online immediately for the health and safety of all involved.

Read More

Building Urban Resilience

When lockdown began in March, the essential nature of our parks and gardens became immediately clear. Spring was around the corner and New Yorkers needed to get outside safely. NYRP community garden members—volunteers who work together to steward each garden—doubled down on using their spaces to serve their neighbors.

Read More


2020 Operating Revenue $6,382,200

NYRP 2020 Operating Revenue Pie Chart $6,382,200

2020 Operating Expenses $6,012,462

This statement of functional expense does not include work that has been capitalized. In FY20, NYRP made renovations and improvements valued at $1.4 million to our community gardens and parks. As described in this report, these capital improvements are designed to ensure that NYRP’s green spaces will be functional, accessible, resilient, and beautiful for years to come.

2020 Operating Expenses Pie Chart $6,012,462

2020 Leadership


Board of Trustees

Bette Midler, Founder
Helena Durst, Co-chair
Darcy Stacom, Co-chair
Vered Rabia, President
Darryl Pardi, Treasurer
Adrian Benepe
Betty Y. Chen
Todd DeGarmo
Edmund D. Hollander
Michael Kors
Shelly Malkin
James L. Nederlander
Benjamin F. Needell
Janice Parker, Ex Officio
David Rockwell
Mitchell J. Silver, Ex Officio
Joshua Sirefman
Sophie von Haselberg
Ann Ziff
Jann S. Wenner, Emeritus

Chairman’s Council

Janice Parker, Chair
Samuel Ashner
Pamela S. Baptiste
Charles Bendit
Noble Black
Diane Brownstone
Alexandra Cohen
Sophie Coquillette Koven
Douglas Durst
Amy Goldman Fowler
Tim Gunn
Mychal Johnson
Rob Light
Margo MacNabb Nederlander
Paul D. Selver
Andrea Woodner

empire state building at night

For our 25th Anniversary, city landmarks including the Empire State Building turned NYRP green in honor of our environmental justice work. Credit: Ben Hider


This past year was truly like none other. We are grateful for our generous donors who ensured that we could continue working when our city needed us most.

This alphabetical list includes donors who gave $1,000 or more between October 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020. This list has been prepared with care but if there is an error, please notify us at [email protected].

Anonymous (9)
Barbara A. Abeles
Lloyd Abramowitz
Marina Adams
E.B. Alexander
Linda Allard
Roger C. Altman and Jurate Kazickas
American Express
Dennis Arfa
Samuel Ashner
Gillian Attfield
Bob Balaban
Bank of New York Mellon
Kim and Pamela Baptiste
Merissa Basens
Bruce Baughman
Carolyn and Laurence Belfer
Bell & Anderson LLC
Charles Bendit
David and Robbie Bent
Benton-Yang Foundation
Frank J. Bisignano
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)
Noble Black
The Blackstone Group
Bloomberg Philanthropies
Jacob Bluestein Foundation
Scott Brennan
Diane and Clyde Brownstone
Kelly Bush Novak
C.A.L. Foundation, Inc.
CBRE Foundation, Inc.
CGCC Foundation
Betty Y. Chen and Peter Coombe
Cathy Chernoff
Peter L. Christensen
Eric Clapton
Susannah Drake and Monty Cleworth
The Clinton Family Foundation
Adam Cohen
Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation
Susan Courtemanche
Gavin Creel
Tracey Cunningham
Carole Bayer Sager and Bob Daly
Daniels Family Foundation
Laurie David
Clive J. Davis
Todd DeGarmo // STUDIOS Architecture
Ellin and Ron Delsener
The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation
Discovery, Inc.
The Walt Disney Company, Inc.
Dormitory Authority of the State of New York
Peggy and Millard Drexler
Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller
Elvis Duran and Alex Carr
Susanne and Douglas Durst
The Durst Organization
EarthShare New York
The Estate of Miriam Enders
Nora Ephron and Nicholas Pileggi Foundation
Diana Erbsen
Mica Ertegün
The Ettinger Foundation
Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancement
The Ferriday Fund Charitable Trust
Flood-Gamble Foundation, Inc.
Thomas and Mindy Fortin
Susan P. Friedman
Elliot Friman
Gabelli Funds
David Geffen Foundation
Samuel Goldberg & Sons Foundation
Amy Goldman Fowler and Cary Fowler
John and Marcia Goldman Philanthropic Fund
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation
Peter and Beth Greene
Marni J. Grossman
Allen and Deborah Grubman
The Joseph Handleman “I Believe in You Trust” Foundation
Kitty Hawks and Lawrence Lederman
The Morris A. Hazan Family Foundation
Molly Heines and Thomas Moloney
Heinz Family Foundation
The Mary Hilem Taylor Foundation
New York Hilton Midtown
Edmund D. Hollander, FASLA
Walter Hood
James C. Hormel
Ingalls & Snyder LLC
JFK International Air Terminal, LLC
Elton John Charitable Fund
Jujamcyn Theaters
Sonny Kalsi
Stanley Kane Charitable Trust
The J.M. Kaplan Fund
Dr. Harvey Karp and Nina Montée Karp
Kenneth Cole Productions Foundation
Molly McNearney and Jimmy Kimmel
The Kite Key Foundation
Michael Kors and Lance Le Pere
Sophie Coquillette Koven
The Kovner Foundation
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
Christina Labonte
Helen D. Lally
Sherry Lansing
The Ronald and Jo Carole Lauder Foundation
The Ralph and Ricky Lauren Family Foundation, Inc.
Mary Lawrence
Lear Family Foundation
The Leibowitz and Greenway Family Charitable Foundation
Peter Levine
Live Nation
Madison Square Garden
Maine Beer Company
Scott and Laura Malkin
Shelly and Tony Malkin
The Malkin Fund, Inc.
Douglas S. Marron
Arlene McKay
Paul Mesher
Michael Kors (USA), Inc.
Bette Midler and Martin von Haselberg
Janet and Tom Montag
The Moore Charitable Foundation
Morgan Stanley
MRB Foundation
John Michael Murphy
Ryan Murphy and David Miller
Margo M. and James L. Nederlander
Kathy and Ben Needell
New York City Department of Youth and Community Development
New York City Green Fund of the City Parks Foundation
New York Community Trust
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
New York State Department of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation
The Non Nobis Solum Foundation
Norinchukin Foundation
Cynthia Ofer
Mark Owens
Darryl Pardi
Janice Parker, ASLA
Elizabeth T. Peabody
Mary Louise Pierson
Catherine Podell
Hayley Podschun
Bo and Anna Polk
Posner-Wallace Foundation
Paul T. Jones II and Sonia M. Jones
Vered Rabia
Caryl B. Ratner
Katharine J. Rayner
Heather Reisman and Gerald Schwartz
Resnick Foundation, Inc.
Timothy A. Robert
Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP
David Rockwell
Scott Rudin Productions
The Rudin Foundation, Inc.
S&P Global
Michael Samuelian
Stephen Scanniello and Dane Twining
Andrew Schiff
Paul D. Selver
Senlac Ridge Partners, LLC
Marc Shaiman
Bill Shanahan
David M. Sherman
The Shubert Organization
Wendy Silverstein Drobner and Family
Marilyn and Jim Simons
Joshua Sirefman and Sarah Kim
Scott and Laura Malkin
Iris and Michael Smith
Patty Smyth and John McEnroe
Garrett Snider
Darcy Stacom, CBRE
Jon Recor and Daniel Stewart
Linda and Jerry Stone
The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation
Trudie Styler and Sting
Taconic Investment Partners
Taranto Family Foundation
The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation
Linda and Brian Tauscher
Tiger Baron Foundation
Ann and Andrew Tisch
Dan and Sheryl Tishman
Tishman Speyer
Deirdre Towers
Kathleen H. Tripp
Turner Broadcasting System Inc.
UBS Americas
Estate of Arthur E. Ullrich
Margaret and Michael Valentine
Ron VanDeVeen
Sophie F. von Haselberg and Harry Guinness
Linda Wachner
Holly B. Wallace
Charles S. Warren
Webb & Brooker, Inc
Christina Weiss Lurie
Jann S. Wenner
Amos Tappan Wilder
Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks
Jill Quentzel Winston
Andrea Woodner
Ryan Worsing
Jennifer L. Wray
The Zankel Fund
David Zedeck
Ann Ziff
Isaac Zion