Governors Island will open July 15 and ferry tickets are available now. Click here to reserve tickets.

Expanded Role for the Friends of Governors Island


The Trust for Governors Island and the Friends of Governors Island entered into an agreement to formally align missions and goals for the future in January, 2017. The agreement creates a road map for collaboration between the two organizations to raise Governors Island’s profile, improve visitor experiences, build its base of support and streamline operations.

The Trust will continue to lead efforts to expand public access, improve parks and infrastructure, run summer arts and cultural programming and transform the Island into a year-round destination with non-profit, commercial and educational tenants. The Trust will also continue to manage all operations, capital improvements and support from the City of New York.

The agreement formalizes the role of the Friends in supporting these activities by assuming responsibility for all fundraising, volunteer coordination, new membership programs and advocacy. Originally known as Governors Island Alliance, the Friends has been a champion for Governors Island since 1995. The group was originally formed to advocate for the Island’s transformation from an abandoned military base to a treasured civic resource, leading to the deed transfer from the Federal Government to New York in 2003. Much like the Island itself, the Friends has transformed over the past decade from a small advocacy group to a mature organization that provides critical support to meet the Island’s most pressing needs.

For example, caring for the 44,000 new shrubs and trees that cover the Hills is a massive undertaking. The Friends helps meet this challenge by contributing thousands of volunteer hours each year, and by supplementing that labor with private funding for tools, equipment and staff. The Friends also sponsors a free Annual Family Fun Day over Memorial Day weekend, which brings together dozens of top tier performers and artists for a day of fun and learning. Last year, the event drew over 15,000 people from diverse neighborhoods all over the city to kick off a season of accessible, high-quality arts programming. All season long, the Friends promotes the Island’s programs and amenities through its “Island Ambassadors” — a combination of seasonal staff and volunteers who serve as visitor guides.

Going forward, the Trust and the Friends will work side-by-side toward a shared goal of making Governors Island a 365-day destination that is at the heart of New York’s cultural, recreational and educational life.

Interested in getting involved with the Friends? Learn how you can lend your voice, time and resources to ensure Governors Island remains a vibrant shared space for all.