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News Release: Minneapolis Parks Foundation and People for Parks Announce Consolidation


New People for Parks Fund at the Minneapolis Parks Foundation carries forward 42-year grassroots legacy and provides greater opportunity to align philanthropic support with the community’s vision

Minneapolis, Minn. – The Minneapolis Parks Foundation and People for Parks today announced that the organizations will be consolidated, effective July 1, 2020. With the consolidation, People for Parks will be dissolved and its remaining assets transferred to the Minneapolis Parks Foundation to seed the newly created People for Parks Fund. The core work of People for Parks will continue through the Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s People for Parks Fund, including grant-making and fundraising events. In addition, two People for Parks Board Members have been appointed to the Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Founded in 1977, People for Parks identified and directed $2.5 million to Minneapolis parks through grant making, fundraising events, and fiscal agency. Its work originated with Dutch elm disease and grew to include support for the Lake Harriet Bandshell rehabilitation, Wabun universal access play area – the first of its kind in Minneapolis – and the nature playscape at North Mississippi Regional Park, as well as numerous neighborhood park projects throughout Minneapolis.

In creating the People for Parks Fund, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation is making a commitment to support People for Parks’ best-known and most impactful activities, including grants, the Poster for Parks show, Root Beer Run, and donor recognition program through pavers and benches at the Lake Harriet Bandshell and the plaza at Bde Maka Ska.

“The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is honored to be entrusted with People for Parks’ legacy of service to Minneapolis. Its history of grassroots, community-based support complements the Parks Foundation’s mission to transform lives by aligning community vision and philanthropic investment,” says Tom Evers, Executive Director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. “Under one roof, we’re even better able to support our parks through a full range of giving options. Every gift of any amount is meaningful, and now we’ll have more ways for people who love and value Minneapolis parks to make an immediate difference in their community.”

“We are thrilled to unite with the Minneapolis Parks Foundation and embark on this new chapter in our decades-long legacy of supporting our city’s exceptional parks,” says outgoing People for Parks Board Member Steve Bailey, who along with Jay Halvorson, has been appointed to the Parks Foundation Board of Directors. “The donors, volunteers, board members and staff members of both organizations will now be able to expand their work and gain even more opportunities to make a positive impact on our public parks and the community members who enjoy them. By working together, we will help ensure Minneapolis continues to have the best public parks in the nation.”

People for Parks Fund and Advisory Committee
The primary purpose of the People for Parks Fund will be to make grants into the Minneapolis parks system. In addition to seed funding from People for Parks, and the Minneapolis Parks Foundation will contribute annual supplemental funding. Further support will come from donor contributions made to the Fund through the Parks Foundation and fundraising events.

In 2020, an Advisory Committee comprising two former People for Parks Board Members and two current Minneapolis Parks Foundation Board Members, along with additional community appointees, will develop the People for Parks Fund grant criteria and process as part of the initial start-up phase of the Fund.

Beginning in early 2021, the People for Parks Fund Advisory Committee will recommend and guide an annual process for setting grant priorities for the year, a timeline for seeking proposals, distributing a set amount of funds annually, define and produce fundraising activities for generating new funds, methods for tracking results, and capturing stories about the impact of each year’s funds from each grant.

About the Minneapolis Parks Foundation
Since 2003, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation has raised more than $22 million for transformative parks and programming in Minneapolis Parks by aligning philanthropic investment and community vision. Today, the Parks Foundation champions equitable investment in Minneapolis parks through the RiverFirst Initiative and Reimagining the Civic Commons and is responsible for private fundraising and implementation of the Water Works and Great Northern Greenway River Link projects. The Parks Foundation also supports community-based parks projects with the People for Parks Fund, and explores the intersection of parks and key issues of the day by presenting the Next Generation of Parks™ Event Series. Learn more at

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