Friends President Emeritus Henry Lee has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to public greenspace and historic preservation throughout Boston. Best known as one of the founders of Friends of the Public Garden and its leader for 41 years, Henry has been an ardent champion of our entire urban park system. A staunch advocate for the restoration of sculpture throughout the city, he also helped to revive the city’s Art Commission in the 1980s. 

In recognition of his commitment to all our city’s parks, and in celebration of his 99th birthday, Friends of the Public Garden is establishing The Henry Lee Fund for Boston Parks (the Lee Fund). 

The Lee Fund will provide small grants for tree and sculpture care and support special projects in public greenspaces in underserved neighborhoods throughout Boston.  

At the heart of the Lee Fund is a commitment to equity in the quality of our public greenspaces. Henry led the charge to ensure that the Public Garden, the Boston Common, and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall are healthy and vibrant public spaces. Yet beyond these greenspaces, his civic vision of the health of all of Boston’s parks will inspire our outreach to community groups, advocates, and other nonprofit organizations to ensure that Lee Fund grants will spread his impact to the citizens and neighborhoods that need it most. 

Grants from the Henry Lee Fund for Boston Parks will be supported by an endowment created by the Friends of the Public Garden. Administered by the Friends, grant decisions will be made by a committee that includes FOPG staff and board, representatives of the Boston Parks & Recreation Department, community volunteers, and the Friends’ arboriculture and sculpture consultants. 

The Henry Lee Fund for Boston Parks will launch in 2024.

“From their very beginnings, it has been public participation that has saved these parks, and it is public concern that alone will assure in years to come their care and keeping.”

Henry Lee, President Emeritus of the Friends