Stories

Supporting a Park in the Heart of Manhattan

A natural, outdoor oasis in the Manhattan neighborhood of Inwood, Bruce’s Garden is a well-used and beloved green space. The distinctive garden serves as a community hub, offering a place for children’s programs, cultural performances, and a way to connect with nature.

 Like many of our most cherished community assets, the breathtaking garden is cultivated and championed by an energetic community group. The Isham Park Recreation Program 1970 Inc., founded by Mr. & Mrs. Reynolds, is an active friends group and has been caring for Bruce’s Garden as a way to build community for close to 50 years.

 Today, the Open Space Institute’s (OSI’s) Citizen Action Program is helping the Isham Park group build for the future.

“Local parks and green spaces play a vital role in bringing people closer to nature, and in cities and other densely populated places, access to outdoor spaces can be even more important for fostering community,” said Aaron Scott, executive director and CEO for the Isham Park Recreation Program 1970 Inc. “While surrounded by close to 220 acres of parkland, this small memorial garden has unique character and provides a serene, quiet place to relax and access nature. It is where you can let go, work, drift, think, and celebrate life.”

 According to Jessica Watson, the director of OSI’s Conservation Communities Program, OSI is providing the group with mentorship and fiscal sponsorship, supplying the group official not-for-profit status that allows the Isham Park group to accept donations. 

“We rely on OSI as a source of financial, legal and operational support,” Scott said. “Our affiliation with OSI has given our organization the ability to effectively fundraise and learn the ins-and-outs of bookkeeping.”

 “The Isham Park Recreation Program 1970 Inc. has turned Bruces’s Garden into a space that draws out and captivates the local community,” Watson added. “The program complements OSI’s work to protect land for recreation and places to play.” 

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