2017 Liff Spirit Award

Whitney Hatch

Chairman, DCR Stewardship Council

As an environmentalist and parks champion, Whitney Hatch has provided outstanding leadership throughout his career that has served our city, our state and our region. In both professional and volunteer capacities, he has demonstrated a profound understanding of the need for bipartisan political efforts to preserve and protect public open space for all.

“Everybody needs a place to play, a place to reflect, a place to roam,” he once said. “Be those places in cities, or in the boonies, those lands, those street corners, those playgrounds, those gardens, those park benches need to be there to receive us.”

Serving as director of the six-state New England office of The Trust for Public Land for more than ten years, Hatch worked with public officials, philanthropists and community groups on a broad range of projects successfully completing more than 250 transactions protecting more than 360,000 acres of land worth more than $270 million. In addition, TPL generated more than $850 million in new public funds for conservation ranging in size from preservation of 171,000 acres of land in New Hampshire, once owned by the International Paper Company, to the creation of the Elmhurst Street Playground in Dorchester’s parks-poor Codman Square neighborhood.

During his tenure, TPL also collaborated with a coalition of non-profits and the state’s Department of Environmental Affairs to pass The Community Preservation Act, legislation that allocates local tax dollars to open space acquisition, affordable housing and historic preservation. The CPA has been adopted by 172 of the 251 cities and towns across Massachusetts, including Boston in the November 2016 election.

Currently, Hatch serves as chair of the board of Issue One, a group that is challenging the influence of well-financed special interests over American politics. He is chair of the stewardship council of the Department of Conservation and Recreation and appointed to a second seven-year term by Governor Deval Patrick. He serves on the boards of The Trust for Public Land and of The Conservation Law Foundation, chairing its Massachusetts division. Among other affiliations, he sits on the board of overseers at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and was a former member of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s stewardship council.

He is the son of the late Frank W. Hatch, Jr., a state legislator and gubernatorial candidate known for his own environmental leadership, notably the creation of the state’s 1965 Wetlands Protection Act, the first such wetlands protection act in the country.

Whitney Hatch lives in Ipswich with his wife, Tizzy. They have four adult children.

Photo credit for Warner Hill: Kelly Boling

Liff Spirit Award

The Liff Spirit Award, named for Justine Mee Liff, Boston’s Commissioner of Parks and Recreation from 1996 to 2002, honors the vision, wisdom, humanity and joy that Justine brought to her work as a champion of the open, green spaces that are so vital to our daily life. It is presented annually at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s Party in the Park to an individual or individuals whose leadership, commitment to cities, passion for public places, dedication the democratic ideals fostered in urban parks, and ability to inspire public servants and private citizens to join together in common cause best reflects Justine’s spirit and legacy.

Past Recipients

2016
Ropes & Gray
Celebrating 150 Year Anniversary

2015
Mark Volpe
Managing Director, Boston Symphony Orchestra

2014
Elizabeth Barlow Rogers
Founder, Central Park Conservancy

2013
Thomas M. and Angela Menino
Mayor and First Lady, City of Boston

2012
Malcolm Rogers
Ann and Graham Gund Director,
Museum of Fine Arts Boston

2011
Valerie Burns
President, Boston Natural Areas Network

2010
Charles Ansbacher
Conductor and Founder,
Boston Landmark Orchestra

2009
Michael and Kitty Dukakis
Former Governor and First Lady,
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

2008
Joan and Ted Cutler
Philanthropists

2007
Agnes “Diddy” Cullinane
Founder, Black and White Boston

2006
Henry Lee
Founder, Friends of the Public Garden

2005
Eugenie Beal
Founding Chair, Boston Conservation Commission
Founding Member, Emerald Necklace Conservancy

Norman Leventhal
Founder, The Beacon Companies