Friends of the High Line

Setting Priorities for the High Line

Service Type
Client Type
Not-for-profit
Issue Area
Transportation and Infrastructure

Friends of the High Line is the not-for-profit organization that advocated for the preservation of the High Line and guided its transformation to an elevated public space above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. Celebrated around the world for its innovative design, exceptional horticulture, and contemporary art program, the High Line welcomes millions annually. Fourteen years after its founding, Friends of the High Line found itself at a critical moment of transition—with the final stage of construction in sight, the time had come to shift its focus from preservation and building to a focus on exceptional operations.

Bennett Midland was hired to support a comprehensive strategic planning process that established a clear purpose and mission for the organization; articulated and codified the values of the High Line and its operating principles; and defined the critical tasks necessary to ensure the organization’s sustained well-being and fiscal health. Through interviews with staff and external stakeholders, surveys, focus groups, and independent research, Bennett Midland worked closely with the executive leadership and board of directors to shape a five-year strategic plan that defined key priorities and provided an operational road map for the organization.

With this plan in place, Friends of the High Line has annually delivered more than 450 programs and activities designed to engage the local community, and also increased its fundraising—securing 98% of the park’s annual operating budget.