SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--San Francisco Parks Alliance (SFPA), a new advocacy and philanthropic organization dedicated to San Francisco parks, recreation and open space, commenced operations on October 3, 2011 and held its first Board of Directors meeting yesterday.
SFPA was founded by the City's two leading parks nonprofit organizations, the Neighborhood Parks Council and San Francisco Parks Trust. SFPA will combine the operations and staffs of the two founding organizations. Its stated mission is to inspire and promote civic engagement and philanthropy to protect, sustain, and enrich San Francisco parks and green open spaces.
Among the first actions taken by SFPA's Board of Directors was the appointment of new Executive Director, Matthew O'Grady, and new Board President, Rosemary Cameron.
Mr. O'Grady brings nearly 30 years of nonprofit management experience to SFPA. From 2004 to 2010, he served as Managing Director and Vice President for the Taproot Foundation, which connects nonprofit organizations with pro bono professional services across America.
Ms. Cameron served for 25 years with the East Bay Regional Park District, most recently as Assistant General Manager, Public Affairs and Executive Director of the Regional Parks Foundation. She brings to SFPA more than thirty years experience in government relations, advocacy and organizing for enhanced and improved parks and recreation resources.
"With Matt and Rosemary, we have the leadership and the expertise in place to ensure that San Francisco Parks Alliance continues the very valuable mission of inspiring and promoting civic engagement and philanthropy, as well as protecting, sustaining and enriching San Francisco parks and open spaces," said Glenn Snyder, former President of the board of San Francisco Parks Trust.
The creation of SFPA marks a major milestone in the long history of supporting the City's parks, playgrounds, open spaces and recreation programs, and advocating for the interests of park and recreation users. It will serve to activate a large, collaborative community of park advocates, park groups and users supported by unsurpassed resources and expertise.
Each year over 800,000 residents and 15.9 million visitors enjoy San Francisco's 225+ parks, playgrounds, recreation centers and open spaces. Bringing Neighborhood Parks Council and San Francisco Parks Trust together provides a powerful platform to address the increasing demand for services while coping with the ever-challenging budget realities facing our park system.
"This is an exciting time for the City's parks," said Jim Sutton, who previously served as Vice Chair of the board of directors of Neighborhood Parks Council. "After many months of consideration, we believe that, ultimately, the City of San Francisco will benefit the most from a single, overarching parks organization- one founded on both advocacy and fundraising."
"The two founding organizations are coming together to leverage their expertise for the benefit of our City's parks and park users", added Snyder.
SFPA is governed by a 25-member Board of Directors. The former executive directors of the Neighborhood Parks Council and the San Francisco Parks Trust, Meredith Thomas and Karen Kidwell, will serve respectively as SFPA's Director of Policy and Planning and Director of Resource Development. Many members of the Boards of the two founding organizations will continue to serve in that capacity for SFPA.
City leaders are voicing their support of the San Francisco Parks Alliance. Recreation & Parks Department General Manager, Phil Ginsburg, and commission President, Mark Buell, are in strong support of the San Francisco Parks Alliance as it will serve as a single, effective voice for city parks:
"At no time in the history of our City's parks has the dedicated support of this now combined entity been more urgently needed. This is indeed very good news for all San Franciscans," said Mr. Buell.
"The joining of these two leading parks organizations is a very exciting development for the future health and prosperity of the City's parks and open spaces, and the recreational programs vital to our community," said Mr. Ginsburg.
The new organization will operate as San Francisco Parks Alliance with its office in San Francisco. SFPA will engage the community through philanthropy and civic engagement to ensure that the critical needs of the people of San Francisco for access to parks, open space and recreation are fully met. SFPA will partner with the Recreation and Park Department and other City departments, such as the Port of San Francisco, the Department of Public Works and the Planning Department, in pursuit of adequate resources to meet the people's needs, while encouraging City agencies to remain collaborative, transparent and accountable to the public.
For more information, please visit www.sfparksalliance.org.
About Neighborhood Parks Council
Established in 1996, Neighborhood Parks Council (NPC) is a citywide nonprofit that emphasizes how vital parks and open spaces are to every neighborhood in San Francisco. NPC helps the community take action on park issues and keeps parks a priority at City Hall. NPC's current programs include: Park Stewardship, ParkScan, Park Advocacy, Playground Initiative, Playfields Stewardship Initiative, Open Space 2100 and the Blue Greenway. NPC believes every inch of the city is valuable and all citizens should have clean, safe and enjoyable parks. To learn more about NPC and its programs, please visit http://www.sfnpc.org.
About San Francisco Parks Trust
Founded in 1971, San Francisco Parks Trust (SFPT), formerly Friends of Recreation & Park, began as an all-volunteer organization and has led many philanthropic and advocacy campaigns for parks and open space including capital campaigns to restore icons such as Coit Tower, the Beach Chalet, and the Conservatory of Flowers. It has also encouraged numerous community groups to steward and activate local parks and recreation centers. SFPT's current programs include: GearUp, Parks reStore, Park Partners, Street Parks, Innovator Awards, Music in Parks, and the Strawberry Hill Butterfly Habitat Project. SFPT is dedicated to enhancing and protecting parks, open spaces and recreational activities. To learn more about SFPT and its programs, please visit http://www.sfpt.org.