June 2018 Park Angel of the Month: Ellie Gray
Park Angel Ellie Gray is an active member of her community and a big supporter of public parks. Before moving to Charleston, Ellie got her start with the Central Park Conservancy.
“I lived in New York City for eight years and I had always lived near Central Park and spent a lot of time in that fabulous space on weekends,” Ellie said. “I helped with a couple of Central Park Conservancy events for young people and was always really impressed with the organization and the great parties they threw to raise money to maintain the park.”
A number of years later Ellie and her husband made the move from New York to South Carolina. “When I moved to town, I heard that the Charleston Parks Conservancy was modeled after the New York City Central Park Conservancy and it drew me to the organization,” Ellie said. “I truly believe that our communities benefit greatly with access to great parks!”
Ellie began her work with the Charleston Parks Conservancy by joining the Party for the Parks committee. “I attended the first Party for the Parks over 9 years ago and loved the party. Great energy, amazing crowd, unique silent auction items, great performers and music and it was held at the end of my street, so naturally our house was the pre and post party,” Ellie explained. “I started out on the host committee and basically helped promote the party and get people to attend, which is an easy way to get involved. I have now been on the Event Steering Committee for over 5 years and couldn’t be more excited about the party on November 3rd at Colonial Lake! To this day, I still think it is the best party in Charleston!”
Ellie is also a co-chair of the Moultrie Playground Renovation Committee. Ellie explained, “For nine years, my husband and I have lived less than two blocks from the playground and now we have two daughters, ages three and six. Because we go to the playground on a weekly basis, I decided to get involved and try to help revamp this incredible space. As they say, “timing is everything” and the City had an idea to do a much bigger renovation for the entire park and do more than just the playground. I gathered some key neighbors and we formed a small committee to help spearhead the renovation.”
It’s not hard to see why the Moultrie Playground Renovation project means so much to parents like Ellie. “My 6 year old recently learned how to ride a bike without training wheels on the basketball court–she was so excited!”
The work that Ellie, the committee, and the supporters of her community have accomplished make quite the story. “In less than two years, we raised $300,000 from private donations and the City agreed to match us $300,000 for a total of $600,000,” said Ellie.
It’s fair to say Ellie, her kids, neighbors, and friends are all looking forward to a revitalized Moultrie Playground. “I follow the Conservancy on Facebook and hear about the great kid’s programs that they have like Movies in the Park, the Teddy Bear Picnic, the Moultrie Family Fun day and my favorite, the Christmas Tree lighting at Colonial Lake,” Ellie shared. “We love to support the Charleston Parks Conservancy and all the activities they do and can’t wait to see what they will do when Moultrie Playground is renovated.”
To learn more about the Moultrie Playground Renovation visit the link below.