Baztec Outdoors, Folwell Neighborhood Association, Huellas Latinas, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis Sailing Club, Minneapolis Southwest High School Performing Arts, Mississippi Park Connection, and Urban Strategies receive funding for local, community-grown activities
Minneapolis, Minn. – Listen carefully this summer, and you’ll almost certainly hear the sounds of joyful splashing or tiny gasps of youthful awe. Or you’ll surely see the whizz of a newly confident cyclist taking to the trails, or discover the bright taste of a freshly picked sugar snap pea. These are some of the experiences enjoyed by people of all ages in Minneapolis parks, made more accessible in 2023 thanks to 11 grants totaling $57,570 through the Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s People for Parks Fund. Eight organizations were selected from a pool of 44 applicants to receive support this year: Baztec Outdoors, Folwell Neighborhood Association, Huellas Latinas, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis Sailing Club, Minneapolis Southwest High School Performing Arts, Mississippi Park Connection, and Urban Strategies.
The People for Parks Fund was created through the Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s 2020 consolidation with People for Parks, a nonprofit that for 42 years provided grass-roots support for activities in Minneapolis parks. This is the third year that grants have been made from the Fund; in 2021 and 2022 combined, the Fund distributed more than $83,000 to 12 organizations for 15 programs.
The People for Parks Fund Advisory Committee, a volunteer group of community members and Parks Foundation board members, select the recipients. This year’s grantmaking also included a second annual disbursement from the Mary Ann and Harold Feldman endowment for the People for Parks Fund. Grantee stories from this and past years can be found on the Parks Foundation’s blog, Common Ground.
“We’re delighted in the growth of this grant program – more community-based organizations are learning about this particular opportunity to connect people with the natural world and each other in personally meaningful ways,” says Tom Evers, Executive Director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation.
About the 2023 People for Parks Fund Grants
In evaluating grant applications, the People for Parks Fund Advisory Committee prioritized alignment with the Parks Foundation’s Guiding Principles, especially equity and cultural inclusion, as well as resilience to climate change, community health and wellbeing, connections to the natural world, and economic vitality. This year’s range from $1,000 to $15,000 each and support:
- Baztec Outdoors, for BIPOC Fishing. Pro fishing staff will lead events, in English and Spanish, focused on welcoming underrepresented communities to the fishing community.
- Folwell Neighborhood Association, for Pickleball Gear, Folwell Park. Equipment and instructor pay for free lessons.
- Huellas Latinas, for Hike and Learn. Lead hiking events in Minneapolis parks for Spanish speaking women
- Minneapolis Sailing Center, for Sailing Scholarships and Outreach, Bde Maka Ska. Provide free sailing lessons for underrepresented youth and their families.
- Minneapolis Southwest High School Performing Arts, for a Southwest Pops Concert at Lake Harriet Band Shell. Purchase new sheet music highlight that more BIPOC composers.
- Mississippi Park Connection, for BIPOC Outdoors on the Mississippi River. Program will connect 75+ BIPOC adults with kayaking the Mississippi river.
- Urban Strategies, for Green Garden Bakery, Heritage Park. Supporting the active chefs program at Sumner Field Park for K – 7th graders.
Additionally, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board received four grants to support a range of activities for all ages throughout the city:
- Mobile Bike Mechanics, based in Logan Park. Tools and equipment for free mobile bike mechanic and apprentice program training staff to provide free bike tune-ups and map skills lessons citywide.
- Nature Inside Out, at North Mississippi Regional Park. Materials and transportation to get elementary students from City View and Jenny Lind Minneapolis public schools to North Mississippi Regional Park for outdoor explorations.
- RecPlus Swims, at Webber and Harrison parks. Free swimming lessons for 64 kids aged 6-12 through the RecPlus program.
- Benches along Minnehaha Creek. Providing much needed benches along this popular walking and biking trail. This support comes from the designated Feldman estate gift.
Origin of the People for Parks Fund
The People for Parks Fund carries forward People for Parks’ 42-year legacy of supporting community-grown parks projects. 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 included 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.
About the Minneapolis Parks Foundation
Since 2003, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation has raised more than $28 million for transformative parks and programming in Minneapolis by aligning philanthropic investment and community vision. Today, the Parks Foundation champions equitable investment in Minneapolis parks through the new Reimagine North Commons partnership, as well as the RiverFirst Initiative, through which it was 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 today’s most pressing issues by presenting the Next Generation of Parks™ Event Series. Learn more or make a gift at MplsParksFoundation.org.
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