Rich and Nancy Kinder have pledged to give 95 percent of their enormous wealth to charitable causes. And that’s pretty much all going to Texas. That’s increasingly good news for Houston’s parks.
Consider for a moment that a billionaire is planning to literally reshape the shoreline of Manhattan by funding a floating island park, just a short walk from his office. Maybe, just maybe, private funding for parks has gone too far.
Atlanta scores pretty low when it comes to urban green space, but some big things are happening. One company commonly associated with flipping channels is making large grants toward creation of more outdoor opportunities.
Private funding is pouring into parks lately, and not everyone is happy about it. Regardless, cities are putting together creative projects with massive backing from wealthy donors, and it’s not all happening where you might expect.
Cleveland planners are hoping to turn a chunk of land on a historically industrial piece of lakefront into a thriving city gathering place. A $5 million trails grant will help link the city to the park.
It’s not unusual for branch offices to serve as conduits for large corporate giving programs. But to even have a chance to apply for an REI grant, you have to really cozy up to your local store's employees first.
Anyone who’s walked into one of those REI mega-stores on a Saturday knows that place is a gold mine. A fleece gold mine. But the outdoor gear retailer gives some back, recently announcing $4.6 million in grants for parks, trails, and other outdoor recreation areas.
When you think of world-class parks, the first place that comes to mind might not be Tulsa, Oklahoma. But a growing band of donors orchestrated by one local foundation are hoping to change that with a massive riverfront project that is racking up millions in support from local families and corporations.
In terms of conservation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation is mostly known for its work to protect the Great Lakes and surrounding region. But as part of the funder’s dedication to its home of Flint, Michigan, Mott has also provided a huge lifeline to the county’s financially beleaguered park system.
For years, California’s state park system, while storied for its size and diversity, has been plagued with budget crises. The problem hit an all-time low in 2012, amid a scandal over millions in hidden funds and 70 parks closing. Now a third-party commission is stepping in to clean up the mess, funded by six major state foundations.
While she was known as the quiet older woman who hiked around New York State’s Lake George with her dog Frodo, Helen Voltz Froehlich lived a life of adventure, going on mapping expeditions in the Yukon, climbing mountains, and writing books. Her devotion to the outdoors, and the place she eventually called home, inspired a foundation that continues to fund conservation and botanical gardens.
Fairmount Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States and the Fairmount Park Conservancy is in charge of maintaining the 10,200 acres of greenspace throughout Philadelphia’s park system. On top of thinking about parks, the Conservancy also has to think about its project management and business skills -- now with major help from the William Penn Foundation.