Greenway Conservancy Executive Director to become CEO of Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation

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Jesse Brackenbury

BOSTON – The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, the non-profit responsible for the management and care of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, announced that Executive Director Jesse Brackenbury has been named President and CEO of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation in New York.

Brackenbury, who joined the Conservancy in 2009 and has led the organization since 2013, will remain in his position until April 2021 while the Conservancy conducts a national search for its new leader.

“No goal was more central to the vision of the Big Dig than reuniting the core of the downtown to the neighborhoods, the neighborhoods to each other, and all to the waterfront,” said Chair of the Conservancy Board Doug Husid. “The creation of The Greenway was at the heart of that vision. Over the past eight years, through Jesse’s extraordinary leadership, the successful fulfillment of that vision has been enhanced as The Greenway continues to evolve into a multidimensional urban oasis. Jesse will leave an indelible mark on the City of Boston, and we are extremely grateful for his stewardship of this regional treasure.”

The Greenway has lived up to its promise to reconnect the city to its waterfront by providing 17 acres of vibrant and inclusive green space for all who share our city. Public parks are among the most democratic of places, and The Greenway thrives by showcasing the ingenuity and breadth of our community, and welcoming residents, newcomers, and visitors from around the world to share common ground.

During Brackenbury’s tenure, among his many successful accomplishments, three initiatives stand out:

  • the launch of a flourishing array of food trucks and beer gardens that brought life and significant revenue to The Greenway and supported diverse entrepreneurs;

  • creation of a Greenway Business Improvement District (BID) through which adjacent property owners provide financial support for the maintenance and improvement of The Greenway;

  • and the commissioning of world-class public art along The Greenway that over the past seven years have won more awards from Americans for the Arts than any other non-profit in the country.

“The Greenway was born of the vision to create a public park that is free and accessible to all. Jesse helped bring that vision for The Greenway to life, giving Bostonians a vibrant place to enjoy and explore, and for that we will always be grateful to him,” said City of Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

Throughout Brackenbury’s tenure as Executive Director, the Conservancy’s finances have also dramatically improved. Brackenbury led the negotiation of a landmark $18 million multi-party funding agreement that solidified support from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Boston, as well as from the Greenway BID. The Conservancy’s earned income grew from less than $100,000 in 2009 to more than $1.6 million in 2019, while it consistently achieved balanced budgets and remained debt-free.

“Executive Director Jesse Brackenbury has been instrumental in putting the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy on a solid financial foundation, partnering with the public sector and also securing grants and gifts to fund maintenance, horticulture, and enhancements for the park,” said Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack. “Under his leadership the Greenway Business Improvement District was created in partnership with MassDOT, the City of Boston, A Better City and abutting property owners. We look forward to the good work of the Conservancy continuing and thank Jesse for his vision and leadership and wish him well.”

The volunteer Board of the Conservancy will launch a national search to find its new leader. The Board is forming a search committee and expects to develop a robust, diverse slate of candidates.

Brackenbury will succeed Stephen A. Briganti, who was hired by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation’s Founding Chairman Lee Iacocca, the legendary automobile executive. Briganti is retiring after 38 years of service. Under his leadership, the Foundation has raised nearly $1 billion. The organization has developed and managed more than 200 projects, in partnership with the National Park Service, including restoring the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island for their respective centennials; establishing the American Family Immigration History Center, which made millions of immigrant arrival records readily available to the public for free; expanding the Ellis Island National Museum to encompass immigration from the 1500s through to today; and creating the Statue of Liberty Museum, which tells the monument’s history and explores the concept of liberty.

“I am so proud to have helped make The Greenway central to a vibrant downtown, with offerings that are welcoming to all,” said Brackenbury. “It has been my pleasure to serve with a terrific staff who are committed to delivering an outstanding park.”