City park renovations have been a big part of local funders’ giving in 2015, and these definitely aren’t menial gifts we’re talking about here. Take for example the recent Belo Foundation’s $30 million pledge to create four new downtown parks in Dallas.
Big park commitments are also a great way to celebrate milestones and remind the local community that you care. A good example of this is the Rhode Island Foundation, which is marking its 100th birthday by committing $10 million to Roger Williams Park in Providence. The foundation recently announced a fundraising campaign to generate $5 million for park repairs and events and another $5 million for an endowment. This second $5 million will be used over decades to come to ensure ongoing improvements can be sustained.
According to the Providence Journal, the foundation’s senior vice president of strategy and community investment, Jessica David, said the park was chosen because of its significance in Rhode Island’s past and its value as a modern day attraction. In fact, the city says the park draws about 1.5 million people per year.
These are some of the improvement projects that the foundation’s money will be going towards in this park:
- Museum of Natural History
- Betsey Williams Cottage
- Temple to Music
- Botanical Center
- New benches
- Sidewalks and bike paths
- Drainage work
This is a centennial celebration commitment, but the Rhode Island Foundation isn’t alone in its support for this important city park. The Champlin Foundation is another big force in pushing these improvement efforts along. Champlin has committed $1.15 million, and other combined donor contributions have nearly reached $2 million so far.
The Rhode Island Foundation’s strategic initiatives are education for public schools, economic security, access to primary care, and to increase philanthropy in the state. Other areas of giving are arts & culture, children & families, environment, housing, and basic human needs. Check out the grant opportunities page to learn more about funds within the foundation for specific topics, key sectors, and geographic areas.
The Champlin Foundation is also a very Rhode Island-specific funder that gives almost exclusively for capital needs like equipment, construction, and renovations. Outdoor green spaces are a big deal to both of these Northeast foundations, which are the latest in a long line of funders that see the enduring value of bringing people to the parks.