The Emerald Necklace Conservancy will present the Liff Spirit Award at Party in the Park to Gina McCarthy, of Jamaica Plain, the first ever White House National Climate Advisor and former U.S. EPA Administrator. Party in the Park, the Conservancy’s premier annual fundraising event for the Emerald Necklace, will take place in Franklin Park on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. A career public servant in both Democratic and Republican administrations, McCarthy has been a leading advocate for common sense strategies to protect public health and the environment for more than 30 years.
Gina McCarthy’s leadership led to the most aggressive action on climate change in U.S. history, creating new jobs and unprecedented clean energy innovation and investments across the country. Her commitment to bold action across the Biden administration, supported by the climate and clean energy provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, restored U.S. climate leadership on a global stage and put a new U.S. national target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50–52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 within reach. Previously, she was President and CEO of the Natural Resources Defence Council, Professor of the Practice of Public Health in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and an advisor to five Massachusetts governors. McCarthy was born in Brighton and was raised in Canton and Dorchester, with degrees from UMASS Boston and Tufts University.
“One of my absolute favorite things to do is go out exploring the Emerald Necklace. Every weekend I see something new that makes me want to come back. It is truly a haven for millions of us – it allows us to go out and play and reconnect with the natural world,” said Gina McCarthy. “I am so grateful for the passion and dedication of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and its supporters working tirelessly to preserve Boston’s largest park system. It’s not only remarkable, it’s inspirational. It reminds me that by working together we can tackle tough problems. So, with the Emerald Necklace as our guide, let’s seize this moment and commit to building healthier communities today and a more sustainable tomorrow here at home and across the world.”
The Liff Spirit Award is given annually to an individual or individuals whose leadership, commitment to cities, passion for public places, dedication to the democratic ideals fostered in urban parks and ability to inspire public servants and private citizens to join in common cause best reflects the spirit and legacy of Justine Mee Liff, Boston’s Parks Commissioner from 1996 to 2022. Party in the Park continues Liff’s legacy of bringing people together to support and champion these vital urban greenspaces.
“It is the greatest of honors to recognize Gina McCarthy’s lifetime of extraordinary leadership at this year’s Party in the Park. As a stalwart climate change fighter and public health advocate, Administrator McCarthy is highly regarded nationally and her decades of trailblazing advocacy is precisely the kind of work we want to recognize and celebrate,” shared Karen Mauney-Brodek, President of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy. “Gina connects the environmental policies that she works towards to the life of our families, communities and cities in the same way that Justine Mee Liff did during her time as Boston Parks Commissioner. We are thrilled that Gina will accept the Liff Spirit Award at Party in the Park and hope many will join us in honoring her and her service to our planet!”
Party in the Park will be held at Franklin Park, the largest in the Emerald Necklace at over 500 acres—considered the linear park system’s crowning jewel by its designer Frederick Law Olmsted. Founded in 2003, the fundraiser attracts the area’s most generous greenspace supporters and civic leaders for a stylish tented luncheon. All proceeds from Party in the Park benefit the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and its mission to restore and improve the 1,100-acre park system that serves as a backyard for residents and a destination for more than one million park users each year. The Conservancy stewards the Emerald Necklace through advocacy, maintenance and restoration, education, access improvements, public programs and the promotion of park stewardship through youth education and volunteer programs. We wish to thank Wilmington Trust, Member of the M&T Family, for its renewed commitment as the lead sponsor of 2023 Party in the Park. For more information and tickets, visit www.emeraldnecklace.org/party-in-the-park.