Adrian Benepe and Edith Kean
On March 6, Adrian Benepe and Edith Kean will receive the CIVITAS August Heckscher Award for Community Service. Both honorees share important attributes; they love parks and came to a city of parks in a state of disrepair. Both restored the places they love to a state nobody imagined possible. For both, parks are not only places of beauty; they have the power to create community.
Edie Kean started public gardening shortly after she received a landscape design degree from the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, by beautifying the Park Avenue Mall where she lived. When the Department of General Services set up GreenThumb to take over the cleaning up of abandoned buildings in low income neighborhoods in the late 1970s, she became its landscape designer. The city offered applicants lumber, posts, wire, topsoil, tools and plant material; Edie put the community’s dreams on paper. The abandoned properties became community centers: vegetable and flower gardens, clubhouses, and party sites. When the city moved to give the sites to developers, the environmental community rose up in opposition. They sued in court, and they won. Now many of these parks are under the aegis of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. Edie has also been active on the Board of the Bronx Botanical Garden, and serves on the board of the Friends of Fort Tryon Park. When there is a greening community effort, she’s out there, drafting others to the cause, raising money, and moving others to action with her passion.
Honorary Chairs Joan K. Davidson and Dan Brodsky
The 2013 Benefit’s honorary chairmen are Joan K. Davidson and Dan Brodsky. Joan is president of Furthermore grants in publishing, and president emeritus of the J.M. Kaplan Fund. She is on many boards in New York, and in 2008 was Chairman of the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commission. In recognition of her service to New York, Joan received CIVITAS’s August Heckscher award in 2011. Dan is the senior partner of the Brodsky Organization, which recently built the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College on East 119th Street. Dan is on many non-profit boards in New York, and is chairman of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
To read the complete spring 2013 issue of CIVITAS News, visit http://civitasnyc.org/civitas-newsletters/