Looking Ahead Through a Clear Lens

February 12, 2019 by Tom Evers

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s mission is simple: we transform lives through parks and public spaces by aligning philanthropic investment with community vision. In 2018, we delivered on this promise in myriad ways and with the financial support of our community of donors. Thank you. 

Looking ahead to the next three years requires adjusting to a dynamic city where we remain in constant discussion about how parks and public spaces improve our lives. In the first few weeks of 2019, it’s already clear that parks will remain a prominent point of discussion and engagement in Minneapolis – and the complex partnerships between City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, and the community will continue to shape the Parks Foundation’s work.

The Parks Foundation is poised to deliver in support of that work, in partnership with the Minneapolis Park Board, the City, and community nonprofits dedicated to improving lives through parks. Our goals this year include:

  • Deliver two new RiverFirst parks at Water Works and the Great Northern Greenway River Link;
  • Coordinate future park investments that align visions for Downtown and the Upper River and better connect North and Northeast neighborhoods to the Mississippi River;
  • Bring clarity to donors who want to give back to their community to ensure their generosity leads to thoughtful, community-supported improvements to our beloved Minneapolis park system;
  • Invest time and money in projects and innovations that align with our five guiding themes (defined below).

As with everything we do, our donors are essential to our success. All parks are local in their experience and global in their impact. The parks that surround us (or the lack thereof) inform who we are and shape how we see the world.

To better guide how we prioritize, the Parks Foundation uses five lenses to guide our efforts:

  • Equity and cultural inclusion: When all people have access to valued parks and public space, feel welcome and see themselves reflected in those spaces, a community is healthier, safer, and happier.
  • Community health and well-being: Parks provide healthy air, water, and soil, and places to play and exercise, on both the individual and community level. Parks also provide places where we can learn about our neighbors and form new and deeper connections.
  • Connections to the natural world: In our increasingly urbanized world, maintaining places of natural beauty, respite, and awe helps us maintain our humanity.
  • Resiliency to climate change: Cities must adapt and develop new methods to protect and restore natural systems and clean water and to mitigate the economic impact of climate change.
  • Economic vitality: Thriving parks and public spaces can attract investment and bring prosperity to the broader community.

There is no shortage of enthusiasm and passion for Minneapolis parks.  Now it’s up to us to invest in the parks that make the difference and ideas that transform how parks impact our lives. Please join us in this work. Thank you!

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