Vice President, Advancement & External Affairs

September 2020 | Boston, MA
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Friends of the Public Garden seeks a Vice President of Advancement & External Affairs to drive an impressive philanthropic program through its next growth phase.


About Friends of the Public Garden

The Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall have been an integral part of Boston’s identity for generations, in many ways the souls of the City, sites of countless events, public gatherings and private moments, and serve the recreational and restorative needs of millions of people. The Friends envisions these public parks to be accessible to all, and through contributions to vigilant care and purposeful innovation, reflect the natural world and the rich history of the City and country.

After 50 years of working together on a handshake, the Friends and the City of Boston signed a formal cooperation agreement to enhance the care of the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. The City and the Friends recognize that a seamless partnership is essential to renew and care for these nationally recognized parks in the heart of the City, for today and for future generations. In 2005, the Friends made the transition from a volunteer structure to an organization supported by a professional staff. In 2011, after more than forty years of inspiring leadership, the Friends founding President Henry Lee became President Emeritus, and Elizabeth (Liz) Vizza took over.

park-with-people people-in-park

Strategic Plan

This is a pivotal time for the parks and the Friends. While much improved from their low point in the 1970s, these iconic parks deserve an even higher standard of excellence. Now is the time to lay out an ambitious vision to engage the growing parks community in stewardship and advocacy, to raise additional funds, and to partner with the City of Boston to further elevate the quality of care.

During the previous planning process beginning in 2013, the Friends engaged a consultant who worked closely with a task force to interview over 40 stakeholders, collect and analyze research data, and solicit board, staff and stakeholder group input to collaboratively shape the Strategic Plan, 2014-2018.

A new strategic planning process began late last year and has continued to evolve throughout 2020. Specific attention has been placed on creating a plan that reflects the impact of COVID-19 and social justice conversations happening at a public level, and addresses implications for access, use, and mission of Boston’s communal greenspace. 

The primary goals of the new plan include:


The Friends plays a vital role in the stewardship of these parks. They work closely with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department to provide and fund the best possible professional care of their irreplaceable collection of mature trees, sculpture, and fountains. They also act as advocates, speaking out for the protection of these parks against misuse and encroachment and educating the public about park issues.

The 3,000 members come from more than 130 communities across Massachusetts and 28 states.

About the Position

boat-under-bridgeThe Vice President of Advancement & External Affairs is a new position at the Friends of the Public Garden. As noted above, this is a pivotal moment for the Friends as the organization gets ready to publicly launch its 50th Anniversary Campaign.  The Friends has an opportunity to elevate its brand and fundraising program overall, which the Vice President will lead and oversee.  The Vice President will serve as a thought partner to the President and, when appropriate, will stand in for her for events, public speaking engagements and more.  During the first three months, the Vice President will be responsible for conducting a comprehensive assessment of the development and communications departments and presenting recommendations for enhanced strategic alignment, outreach and engagement and for growing membership and fundraising overall. They will work closely with both teams and the President to capitalize on the current momentum and help take the organization to a new level.

Key Responsibilities

park-in-cityLeadership and Staff Management


External Relations

Key Qualifications

Please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to: 

Suzanne Battit
Senior Vice President, Principal
Development Guild DDI

For more information about Friends of the Public Gardens, please visit


Equal Employment Opportunity

The Friends is an equal employment opportunity employer. In accordance with applicable law, we prohibit harassment and discrimination based on race, color, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy or related medical conditions, age, national origin or ancestry, physical or mental disability, genetic information, military or veteran status, gender identity or expression, transgendered status, or any other category protected by applicable federal, state or local laws.

Interested in this position or other new career opportunities?