Crockatt named new CEO of Bay Park Conservancy

Founding CEO Lafley to work to ensure smooth transition

Staff Reports

Stephanie Crockatt has been named the first full-time president and CEO of The Bay Park Conservancy (BPC), the nonprofit organization has announced.

The Conservancy is responsible for designing and developing into a “signature park” the 53 acres of City of Sarasota property on Sarasota Bay, a news release notes. The Conservancy also handles operations, maintaining and programming for the park, the release adds.

Crockatt will assume overall responsibility for building out The Bay Park, the release says. She also will focus on securing funding to support the BPC, and she will “build on the strong partnership with the City, and relationships with the County, foundations and philanthropists, business partners and friends of The Bay, and the broader community,” the release points out.

As CEO, Crockatt will report to BPC board Chair Jennifer Compton, the release notes.

“Crockatt is an accomplished park conservancy leader with significant development and fundraising experience” as executive director of Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy (BOPC), the release says. That conservancy was the first nonprofit organization in the United States to manage and operate an entire urban park system, the release explains. The Buffalo Conservancy’s system consists of six Olmsted-designed parks and 850 acres, the release continues.

In her nine years as the BOPC executive director, the release adds, Crockatt “secured substantial park maintenance funding from the [City of Buffalo] through an unprecedented public-private partnership, built reliable annual fundraising from private sources, secured a major foundation gift to ensure sustainable conservancy operations, secured millions in capital support,” saw the completion of more than 50 capital restoration projects from an award-winning master plan, “and built an inclusive team of professionals to manage and operate the park and engage constructively and productively with partners and stakeholders,” the release points out.

“I am filled with great enthusiasm and excitement to join The Bay Park Conservancy and be given the honor and privilege to serve as its first President and CEO,” said Crockatt in the release. “Conservancies are such important public-private partners, and I know this nonprofit will become one of the leading examples of park innovation, community engagement, and mission-driven success,” she continued. “Coming to Sarasota in this capacity feels amazing, and I am looking forward to being part of this beautiful city and its robust culture.”

Crockatt will be succeeding AG Lafley, who served as volunteer chair of the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization master planning committee (SBPO) and then as volunteer BPC founding CEO since 2019, the release notes. “Lafley plans to stay fully engaged and involved to ensure a smooth transition and to maintain the momentum and progress already underway,” the release adds.

“At The Bay, we know the importance of being sustainable in every way – environmentally, financially, and operationally,” said Lafley in the release. “Stephanie is the right person in the right place at the right time. She has the combination of experiences and skills BPC needs to complete the build-out of the park and the build-up of the park conservancy.”