Community Government Real Estate

Fun Facts From Greenway Conservancy’s Annual Report – Following the Money

Browsing through the pages of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy’s Annual Report reveals some interesting facts about how the Conservancy is managing the parks.

On the revenue side, State is providing nearly half of the funding being used for the burgeoning Conservancy. But the most surprising element that pops out from the numbers is on the expense side. The Conservancy reported only 1% of its total outlays toward maintenance and horticulture, which would appear inappropriately low for a “Green-way”. There have been almost no plantings this year, leaving several empty or unkempt patches. Instead, much of the Conservancy’s expenditures are dedicated for salaries, consultants, administrative expenses and toward events. For an organization whose main priority is supposed to be taking care of the parks, one has to question the spending priorities.

Salaries make up 31% of the total expenses, a high figure for a non-profit organization whose mission is to steward parkland. Since the Conservancy took over in February 2009, operating expenses grew by $826,000 over the prior year.

The Conservancy reported a surplus of $784,714. However, the State grant of $2 million is dispersed over two years or $1 million per year. Without this year’s piece of this grant, there would have been a deficit.

Endowment – Adding $1.6 million this year to the Endowment brings it to a whopping $12 million. The largest slice of the endowment and revenues is coming from taxpayers.

Private pledges are down significantly to $2.8 million in FY09 versus $4.0 million in FY08, though this is likely due to a tough economy.

Donated Goods and Services
Chiofaro Company – Contributed office space valued at $290,000 this year and $115,455 last year for a total of $405,000. (See this post: What is the quid pro quo between the Conservancy and The Chiofaro Company?)
Other donated services: Architecture Services: $174,362 (more building?) and Advertising: $72,250

Here are the numbers from the back of the Conservancy’s Annual Report. These figures are for the one year period ending June 30, 2009.

Revenue and ContributionsMoney coming into the Conservancy

$2,000,000     49%    Government support
By far, the largest revenue component is from the State’s MassDevelopment
This is taxpayer money via a government grant to be dispersed over two years.
$561,531          14%    In-kind (contributed, non-cash) revenue
Majority from The Chiofaro Company for free office space

$391,744        10%    Contributions/Donations
$300,066          7%    Event revenue
Conservancy shows every indication of making events a primary source of income
$290,250          7%    Gala revenue
$261,960          6%    Mothers Walk sales
$236,596          6%    Interest and dividends
Interest on the approx. $12 million endowment
 $10,894            0%    Annual fund
 $4,053,041             Total Revenue

Expenses by Function – Money Going Out
 $1,023,387     31%    Salaries
21 staff listed. At >30% of expenses, seems high for a park contractor.
$553,075        17%    Consultants
How much real value was created by these consultants? It’s a big number.
$431,864        13%    Events/Entertainment
Since the Conservancy only took over in February, this is likely going much higher.   
$290,000          9%    Rent
Not a cash expense, ‘donated’ by Chiofaro Company for Int’l Place offices
$228,763          7%    Employee Benefits
$145,593          4%    Legal/Accounting
$127,345          4%    Sales/Marketing
$122,700          4%    Engraving/Installation
For the Mother’s Walk? That’s almost half of the sales to engrave names!  
$95,346            3%    Office Expense
$50,781            2%    Insurance
$50,000            2%    Bad debt expense
$42,820            1%    Service providers
$37,269            1%    Maintenance/Horticulture
Since these are parks, doesn’t this seem low on the list?
$31,179            1%    Travel/Entertainment
$28,011            1%    Printing/Reproduction
 $10,194            0%    Other
 $3,268,327       Total Expenses by Function

2 Replies to “Fun Facts From Greenway Conservancy’s Annual Report – Following the Money

  1. Speaking of odd allocations, most of the events would be on the Parcels that are most used by the local public. If event revenue is a mere 7%, I think events could be almost entirely eliminated. Next, if events revenue is for maintenance, why is the maintenance budget 1%. The portion to salaries and other expenses leaves a low margin for a non-profit. If this were a charity, I would steer clear of it. Plus the people getting paid all this money are irritating everyone by seemingly going against everything the Greenway was supposed to be–A PARK.

    Today, as many a day, I walked The Greenway. It is so lush and peaceful at the further reaches–and smells of Grandma’s garden back home in R.I. When I came back from a couple of hours in-town at near dusk, I saw people using the park in many different ways. The movie night precluded that use. Not cool.

    The preponderance of money vacuumed up by the Greenway "Conservancy" is life support for the Greenway "Conservancy" staff and operations. Something is very wrong here. 1% for maintenance? Really, you shouldn’t have. But thanks–seriously. I mean, wow, how abundantly generous. NO WONDER THEY HAVE TO HAVE VOLUNTEERS WEEDING.

    Mother of God, a litle intercession here, please!

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