Common Ground

Community Profile: John Flavin

We regularly highlight members of our community who are supporting parks through their involvement with the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. We’re inspired by the people who care for and use our parks and we want to recognize the many individuals and organizations who make our system incredible through their generosity. Thank you!

We’re continuing our series of community profiles this month with John Flavin. As CEO of Softcrylic, John has supported the Minneapolis Parks Foundation since 2015 by sponsoring a table at our annual Sunrise on the Mississippi fundraising event. Here’s his story!

Minneapolis Parks Foundation: Tell us about a favorite childhood memory of being in a park (it doesn’t have to be in Minneapolis).

John Flavin: My very earliest park memory is being in Victory Park on the 4th of July in 1976. I was 6 years old. My Mom went to North High and my Dad went to Patrick Henry so this was the neighborhood park they would hang out in when they were young. I’m from a family of 9, so at times parenting oversight was very “1970s” to say the least. I remember pretty freely roaming around the park with a bunch of people flying flags and shooting fireworks. Straight up freedom for a 6 year old boy!

What park experiences do/would you like to share with out-of-town guests?

Biking around the Chain of Lakes in the summer. A walk through Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden. Sledding in Kenwood Park in the winter. Skiing in Theodore Wirth Regional Park.

Why do you support the Minneapolis Parks Foundation?

I lived outside of Minnesota for 10 years. After coming back here to raise a family, I quickly realized the value and importance of having a robust parks system. I support the Minneapolis Parks Foundation because of their commitment to bringing open spaces outside of the home to gather, and the innovative ways they continue to stretch these experiences to other parts of the city.

Why are parks important to Minneapolis?

In a lot of ways they define the city. It’s easy to enjoy the parks in the summer, but as Minnesotans, we need open space in the winter more than any other time. Getting outside in the parks in the dead of winter to ski, sled, hike or bike saves the day for me frequently.

Trails, beaches or playgrounds?

All! I bike around the lakes in the summer regularly. Biking to the beach on Cedar Lake has been a regular tradition for my family. When my kids were younger, one of our biggest forms of solace was to get out of our house and be at a playground.

Featured image: After sledding at Kenwood Park, courtesy of John Flavin

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