Peter P. Blanchard III, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Greenwood Gardens, has announced the appointment of Abby O’Neill as the new Executive Director, effective October 17, 2017. She is assuming this position following the retirement of Elizabeth Johnson who led the organization for the past four years.

Mr. Blanchard noted that “the Board of Trustees of Greenwood Gardens is thrilled to welcome Abby O’Neill in this important leadership role. Abby’s expertise in non-profit management and fundraising will be critical to Greenwood’s future as we work towards our next stage of restoration in this historic garden oasis.”

Ms. O’Neill comes to Greenwood Gardens after six years as the Principal of Abby O’Neill Consulting LLC, a firm that provided strategic planning, communications and development counsel to philanthropies and non-profits.  She served a wide range of clients including statewide grant-making and non-profit associations, independent and community foundations, and organizations that provide programs across a broad spectrum of the non-profit sector including arts and culture; health and human services; leadership development; affordable housing; urban education; environmental stewardship; history; and law.

Previously, Ms. O’Neill led Bank of America’s corporate social responsibility efforts for the state of New Jersey including corporate giving, sponsorship, and employee volunteer programs.  During that time, she directed the awarding of nearly $40 million in investments to non-profits whose missions focused on economic development, arts and culture, and education.  Subsequently, she developed and managed communications and program strategy for the Fannie E. Rippel Foundation’s ReThink Health New Jersey initiative, an effort dedicated to raising awareness of the high cost of care in our state.  Before that, Ms. O’Neill also managed corporate communications and public relations for Drexel Burnham Lambert, Christie’s Auction House, and Burson-Marsteller in New York City.    
Ms. O’Neill is an active social sector volunteer, previously serving for many years on the boards of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, NJ Seeds, the Newark Museum, the Community FoodBank of NJ, the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, and currently, the Union Foundation.   A fellow of the Class of 2001 of Leadership New Jersey (now Lead New Jersey), Ms. O’Neill holds a B.A. from Vassar College. 

Ms. O’Neill noted that “the chance to lead Greenwood Gardens is the opportunity of a lifetime.  Greenwood is a remarkable place that nurtures our connection to the power and beauty of nature.  A visit here to stroll the grounds, take a class, or simply relax in a quiet space, offers a portal to achieving the deep sense of well-being that we all desire. It is therefore with a profound sense of mission that I look forward to getting started on the inspiring work that lies ahead.”

About Greenwood Gardens

Connecting people with nature in an historic garden oasis, Greenwood Gardens in Short Hills, NJ, is a 28-acre public garden and historic site on the NJ Register of Historic Places. The Gardens were formerly the private estate of the Day and Blanchard families, and were opened to the public in 2013. The Gardens are open Thursday through Sunday from 10:00am until 5:00pm. To learn more about Greenwood Gardens, volunteer opportunities, workshops and events, please visit or call 973-258-4026.