Gale Butler, Executive Director
Friends of Birch State Park, Inc.
Gale M. Butler is currently Executive Director of the Friends of Birch State Park, Inc. She is responsible for garnering financial and in-kind support to help preserve, conserve, enhance and promote Hugh Taylor Birch State Park—the 180-acre parcel of land gifted to the state of Florida from Hugh Taylor Birch in 1942. While it is a state park, it is our state park and the last nature preserve on the east side of Fort Lauderdale. The goal is to bring the Park back to the well-attended attraction for tourists and residents alike when the Park had almost one million visitors a year. Currently, it numbers almost 500,000.
Butler’s corporate career began in 1983 with Landmark Bank which eventually became Bank of America, where she served for 8 years as Vice President of Corporate Communications for both the state of Florida as well as Georgia and North Carolina. She joined Blockbuster Entertainment, Inc. in 1992, serving as Vice President of Community Affairs and Internal Communications. After Blockbuster was sold to Viacom, Inc., Butler joined AutoNation as Vice President of Corporate Affairs where she served for 17 years.
Over the years, her honors have included awards for Mentor of the Year from Take Stock in Children, a Woman of Distinction from the March of Dimes, Downtowner of the Year from the Downtown Council of the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, the James J. Blosser Community Trustee Award from the Broward Partnership for the Homeless, the Margaret Roach Community Award from the Urban League of Broward County, the Starfish Lifetime Achievement Award from Women in Distress, the Magnolia Lifetime Achievement Award from the United Way of Broward County, and the Melissa Aiello Good Character Award from Junior Achievement of Broward. Butler has served for 20 years as a mentor in the Women of Tomorrow program at Fort Lauderdale High School and is an alumnus of the Leadership Broward, Leadership Florida and Leadership America programs.
A native of Fort Lauderdale, Butler attended Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of Miami with a B.A. in English and a minor in History. She has one son, Todd, who is Chief Technology Officer for Niido powered by AirBNB and lives in Miami. Butler enjoys golf, tennis, gardening, walking on the beach, reading and traveling.
Trudy Reilly, Director of Development
Friends of Birch State Park, Inc.
Trudy Reilly is the Director of Development at Friends of Birch State Park. She is responsible for administration and daily operations, marketing and communications and development programs including private foundation and corporate grants, in-kind donations, special events and third-party fundraising. In addition, she oversees membership programs and volunteer outreach.
Born in upstate New York, Trudy has called South Florida home for most of her life and has lived in Fort Lauderdale for two decades. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Florida State University in Tallahassee as well as a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Florida International University in Miami. Before forming and operating her own communications and niche marketing company, Trudy served as Director of Public Relations for the Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood.
Trudy is a seasoned veteran of Broward County’s non-profit scene, having provided event and special project assistance on a contract basis to dozens of area charitable organizations while operating her own business and raising four amazing sons with her husband. She joined the non-profit sector full time in 2013 as Special Events/Social Media Manager for the Broward Public Library Foundation and then served as Director of Development for The Pantry of Broward. Trudy became the Director of Development at Friends of Birch State Park in March of 2016. She is an avid reader, an aspiring photographer and a social media enthusiast whose passions also include education, paying it forward and trying to achieve 10,000 steps every day.