Four Freedoms Park Conservancy Announces Leadership Transition and Strategic Direction Through 2020

NEW YORK--()--Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel, founder of Four Freedoms Park Conservancy, announced today the completion of a three-year strategic plan for the organization. Funded by Alphawood Foundation Chicago, the plan, designed with consultants Lord Cultural Resources, sets the stage for Four Freedoms Park, which has welcomed over 600,000 visitors since opening in 2012, to solidify by 2020 its place as a leading presidential memorial park and important destination for visitors from around the world. Barbara Shattuck Kohn, Chair of the Board, announced that Howard Axel has been named the Conservancy’s President and CEO to execute the vision articulated by the strategic plan. Sally Minard, founding president and CEO of the Conservancy, who championed the creation of the Park since 2007 and guided the strategic planning process, will become Vice-Chair of the Conservancy’s Board of Directors.

“We take inspiration from his memory and from the Four Freedoms speech every day as we go about the work of the Alphawood Foundation. We are proud to provide additional support to the Conservancy to ensure that its leadership is the best available.”

Mr. Axel came to the Conservancy from Grameen America, the largest microfinance organization in the United States, where he was Senior Vice President. In addition to his background in the non-profit sector, Howard worked for many years in the entertainment industry, most recently as Vice President for Strategic Partnerships for Talenthouse. He also has a strong background in park and preservation issues from his years as Development Director at the Trust for Public Land.

“We are thrilled that Howard will serve as our new CEO,” said Barbara Shattuck Kohn, Chairman of the Board of Four Freedoms Park Conservancy. “His experience in the non-profit and private sectors will be a tremendous asset to our organization. At the same time, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to Sally for her 10 years of leadership. This remarkable New York State Park would not exist today if not for her tireless dedication, passion, and service.”

“It has been a true privilege to be part of a team that realized Ambassador vanden Heuvel’s 40-year vision for a memorial to President Roosevelt,” said Minard. “The past decade has been challenging, exhilarating, and enormously satisfying.”

“I am honored to succeed Sally and build on her accomplishments, which have made the memorial a world-class destination,” said Axel. “I am particularly thankful to Alphawood for investing in the future vision of the Conservancy as I take on this new role. I share a real sense of excitement and commitment with our stakeholders as we look forward to protecting and promoting this incredible memorial and implementing inspiring public programs.”

Alphawood Foundation Chicago, a private foundation, also announced its continued support of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park with a $500,000 donation to advance the mission of the Conservancy. This gift, which will be disbursed over two years, supplements the approximately $11 million of support provided to date by Alphawood to build and open the Park. “Honoring the legacy of FDR goes to the core of Alphawood’s mission,” said James D. McDonough, Alphawood Foundation Executive Director. “We take inspiration from his memory and from the Four Freedoms speech every day as we go about the work of the Alphawood Foundation. We are proud to provide additional support to the Conservancy to ensure that its leadership is the best available.”

About Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park

Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park is the first memorial dedicated to the president in his home state of New York. Located on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in New York City, it is the last work of Louis I. Kahn, an iconic architect of the 20th century.

About Four Freedoms Park Conservancy

Four Freedoms Park Conservancy is the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization responsible for maintaining and operating FDR Four Freedoms Park under a cooperative agreement with the New York State Parks Department. As steward of this extraordinary civic space designed by Louis I. Kahn, the Conservancy advances President Roosevelt’s legacy and inspires, educates, and engages the public in the ideals of the Four Freedoms: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. The Conservancy does this by:

  • safeguarding the memorial as a space for inspired use
  • fostering community and understanding
  • igniting conversation about human rights and freedoms today.

For more information, please visit: www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org.

About Alphawood Foundation

Alphawood Foundation is a Chicago-based grant making private foundation working for an equitable, just and humane society. It awards grants to more than 200 organizations annually, primarily in the areas of advocacy, architecture and preservation, arts, domestic violence prevention, the environment, promotion and protection of the rights of LGBT citizens and people living with HIV/AIDS, and other human and civil rights.

About Lord Cultural Resources

Lord Cultural Resources is the world's largest global professional practice dedicated to creating cultural capital. We collaborate with people and organizations to plan and manage cultural places, programs and resources that deliver excellence in the service of society. Visit www.lord.ca for more information.