Our Board of Directors is happy to announce that Dela Taylor Murphy has been hired as the new Executive Director of Friends of Congress Square Park. Dela joined the organization mid-July.
Murphy’s work has been focused on cultivating leadership and developing organizations in service of community engagement and high quality of life. She sits on the board of several arts and community focused nonprofits, including serving as Board President for Portland Intown Contra Dance, Board Secretary for Mayo Street Arts, and as an at-large member of the DownEast Friends of the Folk Arts. She is a founding Partner with Nuf Sed, a Portland-based consulting firm.
Dela’s background includes directing programs designed to develop leadership capacity and drive economic development for the state of Maine, collaborating on projects that have furthered Maine’s work in food security, cultural assets, and capacity for entrepreneurship, and working with both for- and non-profit organizations in management or consulting roles, leading communications efforts, coaching and facilitating, managing human resources, and enhancing organizational capacity.
She is trained in coaching through the Coaches Training Institute, studied Leadership and Organizational Studies through the University of Southern Maine, and studied experiential training and social change processes through various organizations including the Presencing Institute and Training for Change.
“Over the last several years, Friends of Congress Square Park has built a hub alive with neighborly connection, civic engagement, and diverse cultural expressions,” Murphy stated. “Their work has been an inspiration to many – and the park a beacon. As the organization looks toward an exciting future, I intend to focus on FoCSP’s mission, deepening our vital role as an inventive and generous public space through which the arts may be experienced by everyone and the citizens of Portland may meet and express themselves meaningfully.”
Murphy succeeds founding Executive Director Bree LaCasse, who remains on the board. LaCasse recently joined Community Housing of Maine to work for expanded affordable housing across Maine. Bree’s significant contributions to the organization were numerous. In the past 3 years, Bree organized nearly 200 events in 3 seasons, bringing over 30,000 participants to the park. She has played a pivotal role in the redesign process, including significant leadership as an advocate for the project. Additionally, she raised significant funds from foundations and spearheaded major corporate sponsorships and individual gifts, which resulted in strong reserves and a solid financial foundation. Through her leadership, FoCSP has fostered strong partnerships, a dedicated board and volunteer base, and become a well established and respected community non-profit. The board thanks Bree for her formidable contributions and wishes her the best!