February 3, 2016
On February 2nd, 2016, Tupper Thomas, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks, announced her intention to retire in the coming months. She believes that finding the "perfect" Executive Director to replace her is her last key priority here, and is working with the NY4P board to recruit the best person to take on the position. Read her letter, below, to learn about her work with NY4P, and what she sees as the biggest challenges and opportunities facing New York City parks and open space going forward.
Two years ago, I came out of retirement to take on the Executive Director role at New Yorkers for Parks. As many of you know, I agreed to lead the organization for a finite period of time, so that we might maintain the momentum of this important – in fact essential – civic organization. I’m very proud of the work we have accomplished these past two years, and I am grateful for our staffs who have worked tirelessly to fight with me for our city’s parks and open spaces.
Now I believe the time has come to think about the long-term future of NY4P, and with that, to find a great leader to capably take the organization into its next chapter. While I intend to retire in the coming months, I believe that identifying the perfect Executive Director is the last key priority to complete my tenure here. Thus, I will be very involved in making sure that we recruit the best person to continue the great work that has become the hallmark of our brand.
The Board and I have created a Search Committee, and we have begun to discuss the ideal characteristics that we should be seeking in a leader. We will soon be posting a description of the position and role, and encourage you to engage with us as we look for our next leader.
We have laid the ground work – through solid and credible research, effective advocacy, and broad-based community-building – to have even greater impact on the future direction of New York City. Amid a stream of special interests and other considerations, it is a constant battle to make the case that parks and open space are critical for a thriving urban environment. The reason I took the job is the same reason we must sustain our efforts: this organization is the only voice for the 100% of New Yorkers who use and benefit from our parks and open spaces across all five boroughs.
The city is changing. Increased density and a housing crisis puts pressure on our few public spaces. However, if we want to remain the best city in the world – attracting talent, ensuring safety and health, and providing a high quality of life – we have to prioritize open space. To meet the challenges of inequality, we must ensure that all parks in all neighborhoods are great! I think we have a rare opportunity to not only make that case stronger than it has ever been made before, but also to garner the public will to do something about it. I’m honored that I will always be a part of the legacy of this great institution, and I’m excited to be in a position to help shape its future.
Thank you, as always, for all of your support and encouragement.