The Balboa Park Conservancy, the City of San Diego’s nonprofit partner that sustains, enhances and advocates for Balboa Park, has been selected as one of just five urban park organizations across the country to participate in the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks’ new program, the Partnerships Lab. The Partnerships Lab, a thought leader in urban park management and public-private park partnerships, leverages the resources and expertise of the Central Park Conservancy to help park organizations build their own capacity to plan, develop, and maintain great public places.

Each year the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks will select three to five New York City park organizations and three to five urban park organizations from other US cities to engage in six- to 12-month collaborative, creative partnerships. This year, the Balboa Park Conservancy is joined by the Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation (Austin, Texas); the Parks & People Foundation (Baltimore, Maryland); the Public Space Planning Unit of the City of Detroit; and the Forest Park Conservancy (Portland, Oregon).

“The Balboa Park Conservancy is a young organization in a complex park environment. Having launched just five years ago, we are at a pivotal moment in our growth, capacity, and impact,” says CEO Tomás Herrera-Mishler. “Access to the Central Park Conservancy’s unparalleled expertise in public-private park partnerships will strengthen and enhance our organization—helping us move Balboa Park from pretty good to best in class.”

By strengthening organizations that support parks, the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks seeks to ensure that all communities receive the social, economic, environmental, and health benefits that parks provide when well-planned and maintained. “We’re so excited that the Balboa Park Conservancy will be a part of the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks’ inaugural Partnerships Lab. They have accomplished so much in their work to care for Balboa Park, and we look forward to assisting them as they define the next steps in their partnership with the City of San Diego,” says Maura Lout, Executive Director of the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks. “The diversity of communities and stakeholders that benefit from the park, combined with this precise moment for the Conservancy, make them a perfect match for the Partnerships Lab.”

The Central Park Conservancy is a private, not-for-profit organization that manages Central Park and is responsible for raising the park’s annual operating budget. The Central Park Conservancy’s staff of more than 300 is responsible for all aspects of the park’s stewardship, from day-to-day maintenance and operations to continued restoration and rebuilding projects. The Central Park Conservancy also operates the park’s visitor centers, provides public programs, and serves as a resource for other NYC parks and for public-private partnerships around the world.

To learn more about the Central Park Conservancy, visit

About the Institute for Urban Parks

The Institute for Urban Parks, founded in 2013, is the thought leader in urban park management and public-private park partnerships. It provides professional education, capacity building, peer-to-peer exchange, and thought leadership to strengthen the field of urban park management so that all park professionals have the skills, knowledge, and attitudes they need to create and support successful and sustainable parks. 

About the Balboa Park Conservancy

Founded in 2011, the Balboa Park Conservancy partners with the City of San Diego to advocate for the greater good of Balboa Park, and provides resources and expertise for park improvement, placemaking, visitor services, and volunteers.