About the Foundation
The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is an independent non-profit serving the community by securing knowledge, ability and resources to improve and sustain a legacy of world-class parks. We believe that our parks enhance our quality of life and create social and economic environments that strengthen communities.
Through our work, we engage community members around parks design and the role parks – and public space of all kinds – play in economic development, community development and cultural cohesion and sustainable city building.
In a time of high demand for government resources, we are a private-sector partner to multiple government and non-profit institutions. We work closely with the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board on many projects, however we are an independent 501c3 providing a separate service to the community.
We produce multiple projects and events every year, often in collaboration with partners, as part of our focus on Education, Innovation and Implementation. Our current work includes RiverFirst Initiative Managing Partnership, Water Works design and implementation, the Next Generation of Parks™ Education Program.
The Minneapolis Parks Foundation was created in 2004 as a 501c3 resource for the Minneapolis Parks system. From 2004-2008, our work focused on fundraising for neighborhood park improvements.
In 2008, the organization hired its first full-time employee and began cultivating a mission to enhance the quality of life for the greater Minneapolis community by visioning, investing in, and advocating for the Minneapolis park system and other open green spaces. From 2007-2011, the Foundation introduced _[ – affectionately known as Minne, the Lake Creature – a popular public art sculpture that summers in Minneapolis lakes. The Next Generation of Parks™ concept began to take shape during this time, first with the 2010 introduction of the Lecture Series, and later as the theme of the Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition, a partnership with the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, Walker Art Center and University of Minnesota College of Design.
The Foundation adopted the Next Generation of Parks™ Mission in 2011, under the new leadership of current Executive Director, Mary deLaittre, a key figure in the origination of the concept.