A tireless advocate of street trees

A self-taught landscape architect, Mary Elizabeth Sharpe was a tireless advocate of street trees and city parks. She worked for decades with the City of Providence on a street tree planting program, beginning in the 1950s when Dutch Elm disease devastated almost half of the City's elms, and is credited with beautifying the campus of Brown University, assisting in the creation of the Japanese Gardens at Roger Williams Park, and leading the renovation of Providence’s India Point Park.

In 1988, three years after Mary Elizabeth’s death at age 100, the Sharpe Family Foundation established the Mary Elizabeth Sharpe Street Tree Endowment Fund, a donor advised fund at the Foundation.

The advisors of the fund, now called the Mary Elizabeth Sharpe Providence Neighborhood Planting Program Fund, work with the nonprofit Providence Neighborhood Planting Program (PNPP) and the City of Providence to “sustain and enhance street trees in Providence.” Since 1988, the Fund has matched Providence Parks Department funds, resulting in more than 12,000 trees being planted.

PNPP Director Cassie Tharinger cites environmental, aesthetic, social, and economic benefits of trees, ranging from shade to improved air quality. “Community tree plantings also are a wonderful opportunity for neighbors and community members to connect and collaborate around a shared project and goal,” she points out.

“Our goal at PNPP…in partnership with the City, is to steadily increase Providence's tree canopy. This is something that simply would not be possible without the funds provided by the Mary Elizabeth Sharpe Providence Neighborhood Planting Program Fund,” Cassie acknowledges.


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Providence, RI 02903


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