Judy Doi

She planted a seed – it nurtures a community


A portrait of a woman outdoors surrounded by nature
Six years ago, Judy Doi's passing set off an amazing journey for us at the Conservancy.  Her legacy gift -- to support a new volunteer program at Black Point historic gardens -- is the foundation of robust community engagement in a park site that was left untended for decades.  We had aspirations and hope and but little inkling of what might be in store for us when we used her bequest distribution to underwrite a new volunteer manager position specifically for Black Point historic gardens in Fort Mason, as Judy wished.  Black Point was just getting attention from the National Park Service, which had at that point received some federal funding to clean up the site.

NPS and the Conservancy were able to open the one-acre site to the public in August 2021, still deep in the pandemic, and volunteer manager Natalie Korengold jump-started a volunteer program that began with volunteers from our successful Alcatraz Gardens program.  The volunteer program has grown, adding loyal neighbors who had watched the transformation of the site with great interest as well as visitors who drop in.  We also have expanded community engagement to include high school students from nearby Galileo Academy and indigenous peoples who have connection with the land.  Natalie shares the cultural, historic, and landscape stories – some known, some little known, and some unknown – with staff, volunteers, students, and visitors, including its history back to the Civil War era and its significance to local tribes.

Judy's legacy has been transformational in ways that she herself probably didn’t even imagine.  As a gardens volunteer on Alcatraz, she knew that volunteerism promotes compassion and empathy. She believed that nature is healing. She was grateful for the access to national parks where she resided.  Her "seed" gift – borne simply of the intersection of all these things -- demonstrates the power of a simple act to make enormous and lasting community impact.

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