For the past 21 years, Gregory Long has been devoted to the restoration and revitalization of The New York Botanical Garden, one of New York City’s most prominent cultural institutions. His leadership has not only contributed to the Garden’s resurgence, but also shepherded the Garden through periods of extreme austerity. With a unique understanding of the public/private partnership that is the foundation of today’s cultural organizations, Gregory Long has developed innovative public programs, creative financing methods, and best-practice strategic planning programs. He has brought visionary stewardship to rebuild public institutions to meet contemporary challenges and to thrive in the 21st century.
Long was elected President and Chief Executive Officer of The New York Botanical Garden in 1989. He assembled and led a management team that has revitalized the Garden, initiating a comprehensive, long-range planning process that is both the blueprint for the Garden’s renaissance and a model for other institutions. During his administration, the Garden has completed two 7-year strategic plans, 1993–1999 and 2001–2007, and is currently embarking on a third for 2009–2015, which affirms the Garden’s vitality and continued growth for the future. To realize these plans, the Garden has raised more than $800,000,000 to date to build endowment and fund programmatic initiatives, audience development, and capital projects as part of a comprehensive Master Plan. The Garden’s ongoing capital construction program, which began with the restoration of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory (1995 to 1997), has completed many new and renovated facilities and specialty gardens, including the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, the Pfizer Plant Research Laboratory, the Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections, the Leon Levy Visitor Center, the Garden Cafe and Catering Facility, the Benenson Ornamental Conifers, the Ross Conifer Arboretum, the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, and most recently, the beautifully restored Amy and Lillian Goldman Stone Mill. Projects that are currently under construction include the Horticulture Operations Center, the new Azalea Garden, the new Native Plant Garden, and a new 825-car parking garage, the first project to be built outside the Garden’s grounds. In the words of a New York Times editorial, under Long’s leadership, “The Garden has succeeded in its wildly ambitious effort to become one of New York City’s leading cultural institutions.” The City University of New York awarded Long an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in recognition of “his inspired stewardship” in helping to “make culture flourish in New York City.”
Gregory Long has been honored with a wide variety of awards that underscore the important horticultural, scientific, and educational achievements he has been responsible for, most recently Common Cause’s NYC Cultural Leadership Award (2006); The Cultural Landscape Foundation’s Ten-4-Ten Stewardship Award (2008); The New York Botancial Garden’s Founders Award (2009); and the Native Plant Center’s Acorn Award (2009).
Long, a leader in New York’s cultural community for more than three decades, is a member of the Steering Committee of the Cultural Institutions Group of New York City and served as Chairman of the Cultural Institutions Group from 1992 to 1995. He is a member of the Association of Science Museum Directors and the Board of the Ancram Preservation Group. He is a former member of the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Cultural Affairs and the Board of the Natural Science Collections Alliance. Mr. Long is also a former member of the Board of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, the Advisory Committee to the Getty Leadership Institute for Museum Management, the Board of the Jerome Park Conservancy, and Trees New York.
During his career, Long has held positions at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History, and New York Zoological Society. Throughout the 1980s, he served as Vice President for Public Affairs at The New York Public Library, creating a strategic planning program for the institution’s 86 libraries and directing the private sector portion of the largest fundraising campaign ever undertaken by any American library.
Mr. Long is the author of Historic Houses of the Hudson River Valley, published in 2004 by Rizzoli in association with the Preservation League of New York State, where he has served on the Board for 16 years. He is the editor of The New York Botanical Garden (2006), a beautifully illustrated volume documenting the institution’s remarkable history and unparalleled collections. He has played a leadership role in The New York Botanical Garden’s collaboration with Fordham University, Montefiore Medical Center, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, headquartered at the Bronx Zoo, as founding members of the Four Bronx Institutions Alliance (FBIA), with the common goal of beautifying, improving, and creating a new identity for their shared neighborhoods.