President’s Letter: November 2018

November 30, 2018


Running a non-profit organization is a little like what I imagine farming must be. You set your direction, till your soil, cross your fingers that nature will bring you the right amount of rain and the sun, and then you work like crazy at harvest. And you persist even when you don’t get the anticipated result. Obviously no one goes into advocacy (or farming!) to strike it rich but it is reward enough to give back to this city that fuels us as individuals and professionals.

cover of the report, A Tale of Two Rezonings: Taking a Harder Look at CEQR
MAS's 2018 report, A Tale of Two Rezonings: Taking a Harder Look at CEQR.

Several projects have come to fruition in the last couple of months because of that hard work and diligence. This month, we issued A Tale of Two Rezonings: Taking a Harder Look at CEQR after many months of thinking, research, and exploration. And in September, we were able to reinstate the Law Committee and relaunch the Menapace Fellowship at long last. Indeed, as Rachel Mazur settles in we are all wondering how we did without a Fellow all this time.

But sometimes, the wind shifts in your direction, in ways that you can’t forecast. I am pleased to announce that just recently we have been graced with the single largest donation in all our 125 years. The anonymous $4 million gift is not only an enormous vote of confidence in our mission, but also in the rigor of our work and the unique, independent voice we offer on behalf of New Yorkers.

This substantial investment in MAS is both moving and motivating. The donor has single-handedly transformed our stride, allowing us to step out even more boldly. We want to honor his or her intentions that it be “spent where it is needed most” and as we commence a strategic planning process in the New Year, we will have fresh ideas about that direction. This gift helps to launch that effort in ways we could not have envisioned only weeks ago. “Thanks” cannot express our gratitude, but for now it will have to suffice.

And “thanks” to all of you surrounding MAS for whom this city is a not just a home but a place that inspires. We appreciate your support in all its myriad forms: your rapid-fire response to our action alerts, your financial contributions, and, of course, your friendship.

All my best wishes for a wonderful December and holiday season!

Elizabeth Goldstein
Elizabeth Goldstein
The Municipal Art Society of New York

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