Exciting News!

Fairmount Park Conservancy’s 13th Annual Centennial Celebration at FDR Park

by Grace Romo on April 25, 2024

On Wednesday, April 24, Fairmount Park Conservancy hosted its 13th annual Centennial Celebration with a sneak preview of FDR Park’s Welcome Center. The dinner brought together Conservancy community leaders, partners, donors, and award recipients for an evening of celebration in support of Philadelphia’s parks. 

This year’s event honorees are JPMorgan Chase, which received the Centennial Award for Corporate Stewardship, and the Southeast Asian Market, which received the 2024 John K. Binswanger Park Champion award. 

Guests were treated to an evening featuring delicious food, a captivating performance by Batala Philly, music by DJ Valentin (who performs for the Conservancy’s free bachata and salsa lessons in FDR Park), and a sneak peek at the FDR Park Welcome Center. This 18,000-square-foot facility – the park’s first-ever Welcome Center – will offer public amenities including a 5,000-square-foot courtyard with three food and drink vendors, a staffed information center, community event and meeting spaces, and 14 new public restrooms. These enhancements will elevate the park visitor experience and foster stronger community connections within the park.

This annual fundraiser serves as a platform to highlight the work of Fairmount Park Conservancy and the park stewardship and conservation efforts made possible through philanthropic support. 

The speaking program included elected officials, honorees, board members, and sponsors celebrated for their contributions to our park stewardship and Philadelphia’s park system as a whole. Here are some of our favorite moments and quotes from the evening: 

Council President Kenyatta Johnson

“We want to continue that legacy of making sure all young people throughout the city of Philadelphia regardless of everyone’s neighborhood or ZIP codes, have a safe haven and enjoy themselves.”

Mayor Cherelle Parker 

The Mayor was, unfortunately, unable to attend the event due to travel, but generously recorded a video for the speaking program. 


U.S. Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon

“It’s been so amazing to have the opportunity to participate in this transformation rep Dr. Park, because the passion of everyone in this room and even those who couldn’t be here tonight, has just been on display from the start.” The U.S. Congresswoman has been a generous supporter of the work at FDR, including securing $1.5 million in federal funding to restore Shedbrook Creek to increase the resistance to climate change and address flooding and an additional $850,000 in 2024 Federal Appropriations funding to support the Picnic & Play Phase of the project.

Representative Regina G. Young

“This is definitely the definition of teamwork making the dream work. We have donors here, we have community members, we have government officials here. The bottom line is we need absolutely everybody to see this vision unfold. So whether you are providing your dollars, which are much needed, whether you are providing your energy, whether you are bringing people here, understand this: humanity doesn’t happen unless humans get behind the cause.” 

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Sue Slawson

“High-quality parks, playgrounds, and rec centers are essential to everything we do here in Philadelphia. Investing in our public spaces means making them more welcoming, accessible, and appealing to community members and visitors. It means reimagining them to meet current user needs and wants. It also means safeguarding them for future generations, which is what you’re doing here tonight. You are safeguarding this park for your children. I’m a grandma, so this isn’t just about my children. This is also about my grandchildren, that you all are also doing this for your grandchildren.”

Carol Eicher, Chair of Fairmount Park Conservancy’s Board of Directors 

“I am here to talk about three things: To appreciate all of you, the many volunteers, donors, elected officials, and others who have made our work and building Philadelphia’s parks into the best parks in the nation possible. I’m here to help us celebrate the many accomplishments of the last few years. And thirdly, to invigorate our spirits because there is so much work to be done. And we need to leave this evening even more dedicated to our mission, and to the future work that is in front of us.”

JPMorgan Chase Vice President and Conservancy board member Heshan Wanigasekera

 “JPMorgan Chase is honored to be receiving the Centennial Celebration award tonight, recognizing its corporate stewardship in our community in Philadelphia. As a firm, we very much believe in empowering economic growth in the local communities that we’re a part of. Three years ago, we decided to partner up with the conservancy as part of our Corporate Challenge which takes place in multiple cities across the world. And what we tried to do is bring citizens of the city together to promote camaraderie and teamwork. We partnered up with Fairmount Park Conservancy to create more awareness about the beautiful parks in Philadelphia.”

Pidor Apyang, President of the Southeast Asian Market

“It is an honor to be able to represent you and to be elected to this position. I’m very proud of everyone. Our members, like myself, are refugees and immigrants who came from something to a place where they have nothing. They have endured so many hardships to be able to build a life for themselves and opportunities for their families. They represent challenge, adaptation, economic opportunity, and prosperity all while preserving culture through food.”

The attendees’ dedication and generosity serve as a testament to the collective commitment to preserving and cherishing Philadelphia parks.

Looking ahead, Fairmount Park Conservancy has an exciting lineup of projects and events planned, including Love Your Park Week, the We Walk spring season, the reimagining of the John Welsh Memorial Fountain in West Fairmount Park, and so much more. Supporters, donors, partners, and others are encouraged to continue their support through donations, volunteerism, and staying informed about upcoming initiatives through the Conservancy’s weekly newsletter.

The Centennial Celebration showcases the power of community, which is at the center of Fairmount Park Conservancy’s work and mission. The Conservancy’s commitment to preserving and cherishing Philadelphia’s parks will benefit park visitors for generations to come and ensure green spaces remain vibrant places for all who visit them. 

Photography by Albert Yee.

Watch Fairmount Park Conservancy’s 13th Annual Centennial Celebration video honoring JPMorgan Chase and the Southeast Asian Market. 



Thank you to our dedicated sponsors:


J.P. Morgan Chase
Lindy Communities


Max & Elyse Berger
Edith R. Dixon


Carol Eicher


Alice and Christian Bullitt
Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy
Comcast NBCUniversal
Gattuso Development Partners
Prince Albert of Monaco II Foundation
Team Whetzel


The Bellwether District
Gilbane Building Company
Pure Insurance
Stradley Ronon


Tito’s Handmade Vodka