Read about the numerous times the Boston Foundation has been “there at the beginning,” providing seed capital and early grants to new nonprofits, ideas and innovations in all areas of community life.Read More
Wendy Shattuck and her husband, Sam Plimpton, have made a legacy commitment of their own to the Boston Foundation’s Permanent Fund for Boston—the endowment that fuels all of the Foundation’s work in Greater Boston. “We feel the Boston Foundation is the right place to harbor our own legacy,” she explains. “Like the Emerald Necklace, the Boston Foundation will always be here.”
This is a story about legacies—the legacy of the brilliant landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Boston’s world-renowned Emerald Necklace parks system. And the remarkable legacy of Justine Mee Liff, the City’s former Parks Commissioner, whose life ended in 2002 but who is remembered through a fund named in her honor to protect Olmsted’s masterpiece for the benefit of the people of our city.
Wendy Shattuck was the public relations director of the Four Seasons when she met Liff. “We got together and decided that we would fill the old muddy pond in the Boston Public Garden with water to bring back winter skating in Garden.”
Their effort was a success and Liff eventually invited Shattuck to join the board of a public-private partnership called The Emerald Necklace Conservancy, which is dedicated to renewing, enlivening, and advocating for the parks system. After Liff died, Shattuck proposed to the board of the Conservancy that they start a campaign in Liff’s honor to restore and maintain the landscape that she loved so much.
The result was the Justine Mee Liff Fund for the Emerald Necklace and the Party in the Park, which every year raises $1 million to benefit the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and Olmsted’s historic park system. Next year’s Party will be held in Franklin Park, which, at 527 acres, is the largest of them all. “Parks are a very democratic concept because they are open to everyone—a place for people to rest and restore in the urban environment,” says Shattuck. “Justine really understood that.”