top of page

FRS launches new campaign to restore lawns

Friends of Rittenhouse Square

Jul 20, 2023

PHILADELPHIA, July 20, 2023 – In Rittenhouse Square, the grass is going to get a little greener. The Friends of Rittenhouse Square is thrilled to announce a new effort to restore the iconic lawns of Rittenhouse Square, which have been a focal point of community life in Philadelphia for generations. Thanks to an initial investment of $160,000 from John S. and James L Knight Foundation which will be dispersed over the next four years, Friends plan to fully restore over 140,000 square feet in this historic Square. Community members, businesses, and philanthropic organizations are invited to join in supporting this transformative project.

Rittenhouse Square serves as a cherished gathering spot and oasis for all in Philadelphia’s Center City. In recent years, increased wear and tear on the Square's lawns have impacted the beauty of the park. Contributions will not only help restore the square but also ensure its ongoing preservation for generations to come. 

“Rittenhouse Square has served as a central home to our community for centuries and the onus is on us to preserve it for future generations,” said Laura LaRosa, Executive Board member and Board President of the Friends of Rittenhouse Square. “We accept this challenge from Knight Foundation to help restore this precious green space."

“Public spaces have the power to transform cities by helping to create more informed and engaged communities,” said John Churchill, Knight’s Philadelphia program director. “And when they are developed and stewarded with the vision, desire, and leadership of local and long-time residents they can reach their full potential. That’s why we’re excited to support The Friends of Rittenhouse Square and challenge Philadelphians with this matching grant. It’s an opportunity to preserve this community gem for generations.”

“We see our lawns bring people together every day. Since the start of the COVID pandemic, the Square has never been busier,” said Douglas Blonsky, Executive Board Member and Board Vice President of Landscapes and Operations for FRS, and former CEO and President of the Central Park Conservancy in New York. “Now with the support of the Knight Foundation and our membership, we are able to move forward with the utmost confidence that this project will be a success.”  

To ensure the successful execution of this project, the Friends of Rittenhouse Square has partnered with BrightView Landscapes, a leading expert in landscape management. Work is being overseen by June Armstrong, Director of Operations, and Joshua Darfler, Executive Director, who together bring decades of experience in overseeing and managing important public green spaces. 

To join us for a tour, or for more information about the Rittenhouse Lawn Restoration Project and how to contribute, please visit or contact Joshua Darfler at or 215-586-5675.

About John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

We are social investors who support democracy by funding free expression and journalism, arts and culture in community, research in areas of media and democracy, and in the success of American cities and towns where the Knight brothers once had newspapers. Learn more at and follow @knightfdn on social media.

About Friends of Rittenhouse Square

The Friends of Rittenhouse Square (The Friends) is a 510(c)3 nonprofit and membership organization founded in 1976 to protect, preserve, and beautify Rittenhouse Square. The Friends manage programs and capital projects for the Square, including the complete replacement of the Square’s 160 benches and the Ball on the Square, an annual fundraiser that will take place on September 28, 2023.


bottom of page