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2016 Liff Spirit Award

Ropes & Gray

Celebrating 150 year Anniversary

Celebrating 150 years of service, the attorneys and staff at Ropes & Gray wanted to make a meaningful contribution to our community that could be enjoyed by generations of Bostonians to come. A new connection established between Ropes & Gray and the Emerald Necklace Conservancy in early 2015 created an opportunity for both organizations to share in their mutual vision of a greener city for everyone.

Working together, Ropes & Gray and the Emerald Necklace Conservancy have been planting 150 new red oak trees throughout the park system, filling gaps in the canopy and replacing ones that are damaged or in poor health.

Through collaborative efforts, and a gift funded by Ropes & Gray, both organizations have come together to honor Fredrick Law Olmstead’s legacy, which held that “For every thousand dollars judiciously invested in a park, the dividends to the second generation of citizens possessing it will be much larger than to the first; the dividends to the third much larger than to the second.”

The gift has also furthered the legacy of Justine Liff, whose ambitious vision, leadership, and dedication have encouraged continual restoration and enhancement of the historic Olmsted-designed Emerald Necklace parks.

“Justine’s commitment to the Emerald Necklace lives on through all of us who recognize the importance of our parks,” said Newcomb Stillwell, co-managing partner of Ropes & Gray’s Boston office. “We appreciate deeply the Conservancy’s stewardship over these cherished public spaces and its commitment to Justine’s legacy,” added Diane Patrick, also a co-managing partner of the firm’s Boston office.

Since its founding in Boston in 1865, Ropes & Gray has become a global firm, while maintaining its focus in Boston as a committed partner to its innovative New England clients, the region’s community service efforts, non-profit organizations and pro bono legal services. Whether its attorneys and staff are volunteering in Franklin Park to beautify our public spaces, or committing long hours to find solutions to challenging and societal issues in our communities, Ropes & Gray’s longstanding commitment has empowered organizations around New England to make change – for the better.

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

Mark Volpe
Managing Director, Boston Symphony Orchestra

Elizabeth Barlow Rogers
Founder, Central Park Conservancy

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

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

Valerie Burns
President, Boston Natural Areas Network

Charles Ansbacher
Conductor and Founder,
Boston Landmark Orchestra

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

Joan and Ted Cutler

Agnes “Diddy” Cullinane
Founder, Black and White Boston

Henry Lee
Founder, Friends of the Public Garden

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

Norman Leventhal
Founder, The Beacon Companies