Nature-focused legacy institutions like zoos and gardens are finding creative ways to engage the public and appeal to funders, including the billionaire donor class. A major gift to the Chicago Botanic Garden shows this dynamic in action.
In Chicago, some funders and civic leaders see transforming the city’s extensive river system as an opportunity to advance environmental goals while also bringing people together in creative ways. The Chicago Community Trust is a key leader of this work.
With backing from Knight and other funders, Philadelphia has been engaged in a unique experiment to strengthen the city’s civic engagement ecosystem. This initiative has had to overcome a number of challenges.
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation has a lot of money to give within a limited time and a limited geography. The funder’s betting on some big parks and trails projects to boost Buffalo and Detroit.
Investing in public spaces in a thoughtful way is trickier than it looks. The Rhode Island Foundation is yet another funder that’s ramping up giving in this space. Why is it giving more here? And what’s its approach?
The Heinz Family Foundation recently handed out $1.5 million for its annual awards in public policy, environment, arts and more. Half of the recipients this year are environmental researchers making a serious splash in policy.
Zoos have wooed donors with more sophisticated programming and stronger arguments about how they benefit communities. But a string of big gifts to these institutions also underscores other key trends in philanthropy.
Cities nationwide are mixing public and private funds to upgrade shared spaces. But what are the social, economic and civic effects? A funder-backed initiative is developing the metrics and data to find out.
Houston has emerged as one of the most green-forward cities in the nation, largely due to private philanthropy. No couple has given more than Richard and Nancy Kinder, who just made their biggest park gift yet.
Glitzy urban parks projects have drawn fire for fueling gentrification and playing to the tastes of the donor class. As funders mobilize behind Philadelphia’s own High Line, they’re looking to avoid mistakes made elsewhere.
Worried about urban equity? Or obesity rates and public health? Or environmental education for young people? Grantmaking for parks is a way to achieve a range of goals. We look at what’s happening in Austin.
Urban redevelopers often ran freeways through low-income neighborhoods in the 20th century, destroying communities. Pittsburgh is using a park to help repair connections, with foundations pitching in.
Perhaps no city has benefited from the surge in regional philanthropy more than Houston. We dig into a huge gift to Houston Zoo and the various factors contributing to the city's emergence as a philanthropic power center.
Atlanta’s got some major parks philanthropy in the works, but there’s also a modest grantmaking program doing the overlooked work of helping neighborhoods spaces in need. What's the lesson?
In another example of philanthropic experimentation in Detroit, a program backed by Kresge is funding local groups to turn vacant lots into neighborhood assets. What can other cities learn from this effort?
Philanthropy has played a key role in Atlanta’s embrace of green spaces. A new project to expand one of its most popular parks will raise 80 percent of its funds from private donors. Are there any downsides?
The latest grocery funder that we’ve gotten to know is the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation, which is based in Phoenix. One of its priorities is educating kids about food.
With Pier 55’s dead end, a billionaire with big plans for a public park seems to have finally gone too far. What should cities and donors learn from its collapse?
The Pisces Foundation has been building out niche green programs in water infrastructure, climate pollutants, and now, environmental education. Its leaders explain what Pisces is up to.
The Walton Family Foundation is a major grantmaker for national and global environmental work, but this funder also has a big local presence in Arkansas, where it supports parks and greenspace.
A plan to cap a stretch of highway and reconnect Philadelphia to its waterfront has been in the works for decades. It’s now very close, thanks in part to a $15 million grant.
Quite a bit of parks philanthropy has a personal connection. Such history explains why the McCormick Foundation in Chicago recently gave big for a suburban park.
Add Austin to the list of cities where foundations are backing prominent downtown parks projects. How's the usual public-private formula working out in this case?
In this new golden age of parks philanthropy, we keep coming across more donors who are putting this issue front and center in their giving. Here's another interesting case.
The James M. Cox Foundation is known as a big parks and gardens funder around Atlanta, and a new $2 million commitment further solidifies its position.
Can crowdfunding and participatory grantmaking offer a community-led way to make parks and other civic projects come to life, without big donors calling the shots? The firm Patronicity thinks so.
Evidence keeps rolling in that urban parks are a favored cause among today's top givers. The latest major donor in this space is hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin.
One top priority of this organization is promoting new public-private partnerships with an eye toward improving LA's 450 parks.
OK, so 2016 wasn't fantastic. But it wasn't all bad, and philanthropy backed exciting grassroots movements, city projects, and sustainable development work, to name a few bright spots.
The William Penn Foundation is putting $100 million into a city-wide project in Philly that, if successful, could offer an example of how to do more equitable, holistic parks philanthropy.
Philanthropy has helped create great parks in U.S. cities, but can also feed into inequality and gentrification. A group of funders wants new public spaces to actually bridge economic divides—how much can they help?
As a $100 million donation establishes a new national monument, and anxiety builds over corporate partnerships, we take a look at the past, future, and pitfalls of national parks philanthropy.
An effort to connect the entire East Coast with protected bike paths has been pedaling along since 1991. The nonprofit behind the effort has been on fire lately. Here's what is driving its mix of public and private support.
The projects backed by Bloomberg’s Public Art Challenge, including a 16-site meditation on LA’s water, are just the latest demonstration of the compelling combo of art and environmental work.
Kresge’s unique approach to food connects it to culture and placemaking in low-income neighborhoods. The huge number of applicants shows how big a philanthropic issue local food is becoming.