In order to assure that the Mansion remain in proper repair, that all gardens be correctly planted, and that monies be generated for future projects such as the rehabilitation of the historic Lord and Burnham Greenhouse complex, revenues needed to be raised and retained on site. The Friends agreed to donate substantial labor to support the Park if all proceeds from the Wedding Rental Program launched in 1998 by Park staff were used exclusively for Harkness, including to match money raised by the Friends for Greenhouse restoration.
Since its inception, the Friends has donated approximately 12,500 hours of labor per year (worth $350,000 per annum), raised and donated $500,000 in matching funds for Phases 1 and 2 of the greenhouse project, sponsored educational and musical programming, restored and replanted the Harkness Apple Orchard, hosted major public events such as Annual Harkness Family Day,, underwritten publicity, contributed furnishings for the Mansion, ironwork for the gardens, masonry materials for the Boxwood Garden restoration, and equipment for the grounds, There is no place at the Park that the Friends’ members have not touched in some fashion.
The Friends organization was instrumental in smoothing the way for the acquisition of the 150- acre former Verkades Nursery property directly across the street from Harkness. This acquisition doubled the size of the Park.
Very critically, the Friends of Harkness spearheaded a successful effort through our local state representatives to secure legislation that establishes, in statute, protected non-lapsing accounts into which money accrued by rentals may reside for use by the parks that raise those rental funds.
The ability to retain earned revenue in a Harkness dedicated maintenance account has been fundamental to the rehabilitative progress made at the Park.