Under Evers’ leadership, the foundation has championed the critical role parks play in transforming lives and communities
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The Minneapolis Parks Foundation announced today that its executive director, Tom Evers, will be stepping down from his role in early 2024 after nine years in the position. KpCompanies will lead the search for Evers’ replacement.
“It has been a privilege to lead an organization dedicated to ensuring that innovation and equity are at the forefront of Minneapolis’ public parks system by aligning philanthropic investment and community vision,” said Evers. “The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is in a healthy position, cultivated and sustained by the deep expertise of our Parks Foundation staff, board and donors, in addition to our valued community partners and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. I am so proud of the important work this organization continues to do and the team that has grown around it, and deeply grateful for the opportunity to lead us to where we are today. That said, I am ready for my next chapter, and excited for a new leader to steward this crucial work for our parks and community.”
Evers joined the Minneapolis Parks Foundation in 2014 at a critical moment for Minneapolis’ riverfront parks and the RiverFirst Initiative, and guided a strategic, future-facing vision that expanded the organization’s mission, while generating greater support and understanding for the Minneapolis park system. Comprised of 6,817 acres of parkland and water, more than 102 miles of trail, 49 recreation centers, and programming that serves all communities throughout Minneapolis, the Minneapolis park system is managed and stewarded by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), a unique public agency led by an elected Board of Commissioners and approximately 600 full-time staff. Under Evers’ leadership, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation deepened its partnership with MPRB and championed the critical role parks play in transforming lives and addressing equity in our communities.
“Tom’s leadership in creating new opportunities for everyone to connect more deeply to the natural world, particularly the Mississippi River, has provided significant benefits to the well-being of our city’s park users,” said Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Superintendent Al Bangoura. “I am grateful for his contributions to the organization and look forward to building upon his important work with the next Parks Foundation executive director.”
Under Evers’ guidance, the Parks Foundation has grown from three part-time staff and a $500,000 annual budget to a team of seven full-time staff and a $1.4 million annual budget. In that time the Parks Foundation successfully completed the $18 million RiverFirst Capital Campaign, collaborated closely with the MPRB on the community engagement and advancement of many parks projects, stabilized the People for Parks Fund through a merger, and worked with MPRB to support the 2016 citywide initiative to secure more than $300 million in increased funding for neighborhood parks through the 20-year Neighborhood Park Plan (NPP20). Each of these accomplishments among others were the result of the talented and dedicated staff, the board, and donors who serve the organization together. During this transition, the Parks Foundation will continue to be guided by a committed board of 24 community leaders and a team of nonprofit professionals.
“Through his steady governance, creative programming and proactive relationship-building, Tom has positioned the Minneapolis Parks Foundation well for continued success,” said Sarah Duniway, board chair for the Parks Foundation. “From building a talented team and trusted donor relationships to launching fresh and original programming that reaches our next generation of future park users in an equitable and inclusive way, we’re excited to continue this positive momentum with the next executive director.”
The Parks Foundation Executive Director job description is available here. The position will remain open until it is filled, but priority will be given to applications received prior to September 15, 2023.
About the Minneapolis Parks Foundation
The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is committed to advancing equity and cultural inclusion in our parks system. Since 2003, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation has raised more than $25 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 primarily through raising and directing philanthropic investment, which includes supporting community-based parks projects through the People for Parks Fund. The Minneapolis Parks Foundation celebrates our parks through a variety of programming, from the casual Walk & Talk Series in local parks to the Next Generation of Parks Event Series, which explores the intersection of parks and today’s most pressing issues. Learn more at mplsparksfoundation.org.
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