Laura Hennighausen selected to manage organization effective May 21, 2018
Atlanta, GA, May 10, 2018 – The Board of Directors of Freedom Park Conservancy is pleased to announce the appointment of Laura Hennighausen as the organization’s first Executive Director. Hennighausen comes with a wealth of experience in non-profit fundraising and development, and will be responsible for shepherding the organization through the creation of an ambitious 25-year master plan.
“This is indeed an exciting time for Freedom Park Conservancy and for the future of Freedom Park,” said Steven Cushing, President of the Board of Directors. “Laura’s extensive development experience in the parks-sector is a perfect match for our needs at this critical juncture. We couldn’t be happier for the future of Freedom Park and its mission to improve and protect the park for the diverse public which it serves.”
As Freedom Park Conservancy’s first Executive Director, Hennighausen will oversee fundraising for a new master plan, as well as implementation of the organization’s recently-approved strategic plan initiatives. Other responsibilities will include developing public art programing for the park, and managing relationships with park-adjacent neighborhood organizations and other external stakeholders.
As Director of Development for Historic Oakland Foundation, Hennighausen helped the organization successfully fund the creation of a master plan, as well as develop alternative funding streams through membership and corporate sponsorship. She has a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and Bachelor’s Degrees in Art History and Japanese Language and Literature from the University of Georgia.
“I am incredibly honored to be selected as FPC’s first staff member,” said Hennighausen. “Coming from Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta’s oldest public green space, I appreciate the rich history of Freedom Park and the work of the hundreds of Atlantans that came before me to steward the site. This is an incredible opportunity to help Atlanta envision the future of one of the city’s largest public assets. I can’t wait to get started!”
About the organization
Freedom Park Conservancy is a 501(c)3 non-profit which promotes the improvement and preservation of Freedom Park for the benefit of a diverse public. Freedom Park was designated as Atlanta’s Public Art Park by the Atlanta City Council in 2007. At 200 acres, Freedom Park is one of the largest parks in Atlanta.
Sara Clark, Communication Chair for the Freedom Park Conservancy Board of Directors
Goats are excellent eaters, and can help with removal of invasive growth in an eco-friendly way. Good job, goats, and good job, Poncey-Highland Community Garden!
Celebrate spring at your favorite farmers’ market! For more info on vendors, musicians, and market offerings, visit the Freedom Farmers’ Market website.
The Freedom Park Conservancy is looking to hire our very first Executive Director. This is a very exciting time to be involved with FPC, and we can’t wait see what we can achieve with a new leader at the helm.
Interested in applying? See the listing here.
For the neighborhoods and residence east of downtown Atlanta, and for my family in particular, Freedom Park is the treasured legacy of civic activism. In 1992, my wife Laura and I purchased a craftsman bungalow a few blocks from a ragged strip of land aimlessly rolling down hill toward it’s dead end at Moreland Ave. With an eye on preparing the city for the 1996 Olympics, that overgrown grassy spit of land was soon transformed into the eastern terminus of Freedom Parkway and part of the two hundred acre Freedom Park. It traces the path of one section of the defeated Stone Mountain Freeway and Presidential Parkway; from the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, past the Carter Center, to a narrow spur of land near Jackson Hill Baptist church in Candler Park and Druid Hills.
As the years flowed by, we raised two ‘in-town’ girls and restored the bungalow. At every opportunity we strolled, jogged, walked, and explored Freedom Park. The jogging stroller turned into a tricycle, a tag-along and then bicycles. The girls learned to ride bikes, fly kites and catch raindrops on their tongue in the meadow. This unique linear park took us to school at Mary Lin and to the MLK Center on quiet curving paths. It showed us unique art installations, and connected us to six other neighborhoods. It’s hard now to imagine that the Carter Center sits at the nexus of what was to have been a monstrous cloverleaf interstate junction!
Recently, there as been a renewed interest in the incredible story of how CAUTION and citizens from these Eastside neighborhoods rallied to do what was considered impossible — stop Georgia DOT, big business and special interests from bulldozing even more homes and grabbing green space to build an interstate connector between Stone Mountain and I-75/85.
Last February a pop-up exhibit entitled “Protest, Pickets & Parkways” displayed posters, photographs and newspaper articles chronicling the road fight. This event was located at an Inman Park gallery overlooking both Freedom Park and the Beltline, providing a look at both the past and the future. Last August, a 25 year anniversary gathering was held at Dellwood Park, part of the Olmstead Linear Parks on Ponce de Leon Ave, to celebrate the legal settlement which ended the 10 year battle to “Stop The Road”.
On that sunny afternoon in Dellwood Park, I had the honor of addressing those gathered on behalf of the current Freedom Park Conservancy Board of Directors. My youngest daughter, now a senior at Agnes Scott, and Laura were volunteers that day. On behalf of the conservancy, and my family, I expressed the gratitude of all those who now live in the vibrant neighborhoods that have flourished over the intervening years. We also made a commitment to build on the gift they bequeathed to all of Atlanta.
With the metropolitan population expected to double over the next twenty years, it is clear that Freedom Park will be greatly impacted by in-town development. In 2007 the City Council passed a resolution naming Freedom Park as Atlanta’s Arts Park. To realize its full potential, Freedom Park cannot go into the next 25 years without a vision for its future. As an integral and vital component of a transforming urban area, a master plan for the park is needed, and a professionally run conservancy to oversee it.
This year, the Freedom Park Conservancy (FPC) has begun delivering on that commitment. The FPC has received two significant grants; one for design services from Perkins + Will, and a private grant to hire an executive director. Utilizing pro bono hours donated by Brodbeck Board & Brass, the FPC is finalizing a strategic plan that will create a board capable of managing a significant annual budget, embarking on a capital campaign, and creating an RFP to bring a new master plan to market.
We all envision a park that is an asset to the city, a safe and beautiful space that is an inspiration for the next generation of ‘rain catchers’. We look forward to the challenge and to working closely with the neighborhoods during the master planning process anticipated to kick off in 2018.
Now is a great time to join us – please consider donating to the FPC by clicking the yellow donate button on the left of this page.
President, Freedom Park Conservancy
Help us give the park a little love this weekend by helping out with our first annual Earth Day cleanup event! Volunteers should wear sturdy, close-toes shoes and work gloves (extra gloves will be available). Bring a water bottle, bug spray, and sunscreen. This event is free and all ages are welcome, but all children must be accompanied by an adult.
Come find us at the white tent with Freedom Park Banners – we will be located just below the Freedom Farmers Market on the eastern end of the parking area.
See you this Saturday!
Check out old footage of the fight to stop the highway and save the neighborhoods, leading to the modern day Freedom Parkway and Park.
Look for footage of a young Bill Campbell, City Councilman in 1988! in the video below.