After 11 years with the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, Executive Director Jesse Brackenbury is departing for New York to become CEO of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. Brackenbury will remain with the Conservancy for another seven months to oversee the transition while its Board conducts a national search for a new director.
Brackenbury joined the Conservancy in 2009 as Finance Director and COO. He later took over the Executive Director role in 2014, replacing Nancy Brennan during a contentious negotiation with the state, the land owner of the parks. Since then, he has developed a collaborative relationship with city, state, business, and community leaders that has led to a sustainable financial model for the public parks.
View the news release below for more details from the Conservancy.
Greenway Conservancy Executive Director to become CEO of Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation
Conservancy board launches a nationwide search for new leader
The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, the non-profit responsible for the management and care of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, announced today 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.”
About The Greenway and the Greenway Conservancy
The Greenway is the contemporary public park in the heart of Boston. The Greenway welcomes millions of visitors annually to gather, play, unwind, and explore. The Greenway Conservancy is the non-profit responsible for the management and care of The Greenway. The majority of the public park’s annual budget is generously provided by private sources.
About Jesse Brackenbury
Jesse joined the Greenway Conservancy as Chief Operating Officer in 2009 and has led the Conservancy since 2013. Prior to joining the Conservancy, Jesse worked for The Boston Consulting Group on strategy, real estate, and other projects for Fortune 500 companies and government. Jesse’s experience also includes leadership roles at the New York City Parks Department and at the United Nations World Food Programme in Italy. Jesse has an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley and a BA from Williams College. Jesse was recognized by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce as one of the 2015 “Ten Outstanding Young Leaders” and by the Boston Business Journal as one of their 2014 “40 Under 40” honorees. Jesse has served on numerous mayoral and gubernatorial commissions. He is a Board member of the City Parks Alliance, a national non-profit.