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Six Past People for Parks Fund Grantee Stories

As we celebrate the launch of the third annual People for Parks Fund grant cycle, we’re inspired to look back and share some of the amazing stories and successes from grantee programs over the past two years. From swimming lessons to outdoor wilderness skill-building for Latinx youth, Afro Cardio and Yoga, and so much more, these programs offer a diverse range of exciting experiences, new opportunities, and safety measures to community members across the city.

People for Parks Fund grants are made possible through the generous support of community members, like you. To help fund neighborhood park projects in this year’s grant cycle, please make a contribution today. Thank you!

#1. Rec Plus Swimming Lessons
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Rec Plus swimming program at Theodore Wirth Beach and Webber Natural Swimming Pool offers two weeks of youth swimming lessons to kids ages 6-12 with trained experts to introduce or advance essential swimming practices. They received a People for Parks Fund grant in both 2021 and 2022.

Swimming Lessons at Webber Natural Swimming Pool, courtesy of MPRB.

#2. Somali Games at Currie Park
The Intergenerational Somali Games was funded by a People for Parks Fund grant in 2021. It spanned the summer months and brought more than 40 kids, mostly ages 6 to 19, and their families together three nights a week at Currie Park in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood, for a mix of traditional Somali games.

Somali Games at Curry Park.

#3. Paddle Day with CLUES YA!
Paddle Day, hosted by the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness for CLUES YA! students, features a day of outdoor safety and activity stations relating to canoeing, fire-building, team-building, and portaging skills. In 2021 this event took place on Lake Hiawatha and in 2022 the BWCA moved the event to Lake Nokomis. Both years proved to be a wonderful success and brought a total of nearly 50 students out onto the water.

Paddle Day at Lake Hiawatha, courtesy of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.

#4. Slow Roll
Led by Anthony Taylor and the Cultural Wellness Center, Slow Roll offers community bike rides through our city’s neighborhoods and helps to build connections between participants and the city we love. They are open to the public and support beginners, run safety checks for bikes, and make space for all newcomers to feel welcome. Each ride is capped off with a delicious, healthy (and free) community meal for all participants. 

Slow Roll at North Commons Park.

#5. Birding with the Urban Bird Collective
The Urban Bird Collective offers engaging bird-watching walks and events throughout Minneapolis parks (and beyond). Their focus is to create safe and welcoming spaces for all communities, especially Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and LGBTQ individuals to explore birding and the great outdoors. Read about their 2021 and 2022 walks supported by People for Parks Fund grants.

Image courtesy of the Urban Bird Collective.

#6. Afro Yoga and Cardio at North Commons Park
Throughout 2022, the Afro-Wellness series at North Commons Park offered fun, healthy, mindful, and relationship-centric fitness classes for everyone in the community. Occurring twice a week, every week, classes were open to all ages, genders, and bodies, with water, yoga mats, and any other equipment provided. They aimed to elevate cultural inclusion and health and wellbeing in the community. 

Afro Cardio at North Commons Park, courtesy of MPRB.

There are many more amazing community-driven programs supported by the People for Parks Fund Grants – check them all out here. And join the fun with a donation to the Fund today, thank you!

Our 2023 grant cycle is now open! If you know of an awesome community or neighborhood program that needs funding this year, please direct them to the People for Parks Fund webpage with application links and additional grant information. Applications are due March 15, 2023.

YOUR DONATION helps ensure the parks in our city remain accessible, equitable and serving everyone.