Meet Your Greensboro Parks Foundation

November 15, 2023

Welcome, dear neighbors and friends, to this inaugural edition of Parks and People Post, your source for news, updates, and insights into Greensboro’s award-winning park system and the amazing people that work, play, and thrive there! We’re thrilled to introduce you to a remarkable organization that plays a vital role in preserving and enhancing our city’s green spaces: the Greensboro Parks Foundation.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Greensboro, known for its lush parks and scenic landscapes, is a city that takes pride in its natural beauty. From the majestic Country Park to the vibrant Xperience @ Caldcleugh and serene Lake Brandt, our city’s green and recreational spaces are treasures that enhance our quality of life. Behind these green gems stands the Greensboro Parks Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and improving these precious public spaces.

Foundation’s Mission

Greensboro Parks Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Greensboro Parks and Recreation programs and projects that create a healthier environment for people, plants, and animals, celebrate history, and attract new economic investment. We help raise funds and awareness for the park system via special events, community outreach, fiscal partnerships and collaborative projects.

A Legacy of Preservation and Progress

Founded in 2006, the Greensboro Parks Foundation has a rich history of stewardship and community engagement. For more than two decades, this organization has contributed to the preservation and growth of our parks, ensuring they remain vibrant and accessible for generations to come.

The foundation’s work encompasses everything from funding capital projects and maintaining existing facilities to promoting environmental conservation and supporting community programs. These ongoing efforts that have helped to make Greensboro a hub of natural beauty and outdoor recreation.

Foundation’s Impact

You might wonder, what tangible impact has the Greensboro Parks Foundation had on our community? The answer is, a profound one. It has facilitated major renovations and improvements in various parks and facilities throughout the city. Over the years since its founding, the Greensboro Parks Foundation has worked with multiple corporate and individual partners to enhance and expand parks, trails, and recreational programming in Greensboro. Beginning in 2010, Greensboro Parks Foundation Greensboro Parks Foundation acted as a fiduciary (financial management) agent for donations in support of enhancements at Bur-Mil, Hagan-Stone, and Cascade Parks. Fundraising for Hagan-Stone was particularly successful, generating sufficient capital for the opening in 2012 of the Fun for All Playground, a completely accessible playground with more than 20 play stations, an accessible restroom facility, a picnic shelter with accessible tables, a walking path, and benches. Additionally in 2010, the foundation began to work with the Friends of Green Hill Cemetery, an all-volunteer group formed in 2009 to offer history and botanical tours, perform weeding and other landscape maintenance, and raise funds for enhancements for this public cemetery in Greensboro, North Carolina.  

Beyond Parks

While continuing with park enhancement projects, Greensboro Parks Foundation branched out in 2011 to increase sports opportunities for vulnerable young people, partnering with area Rotary Clubs to support the youth basketball program at Peeler Recreational Center. The Send a Kid to Camp Scholarship Program was also introduced in 2011, and supports attendance at Greensboro Parks and Recreation summer camps for local youth who otherwise lack the financial means to attend the camps.

Greensboro Parks Foundation established a partnership with Piedmont Land Conservancy for the Weed Warriors project in 2012, and the following year entered into an agreement to act as the fiduciary agent for Guilford County Parks and Open Space, the county agency responsible for management of seven regional public parks. Continuing the focus on playground access for all young residents, in 2014, Greensboro Parks Foundation sponsored the “Declan’s Dash” 5K fun run presented by the Declan Donoghue Foundation to raise funds for building local playgrounds. Greensboro Parks Foundation acted as the fiduciary agent for Declan’s Dash proceeds, which culminated in $34,940 being raised for Declan’s Playground at Griffin Recreation Center.

As the presenter of a Kickball Tournament in 2014, Greensboro Parks Foundation raised much needed funds in support of Parks and Recreation’s youth sports programs. In 2015, the foundation entered into an agreement to accept and administer donations as its fiduciary agent for Choral Society of Greensboro, which at the time fell under the auspices of Parks and Recreation’s City Arts programming.

Around this same time, the foundation entered into a formal agreement to accept and administer sponsorship funds and donations on behalf of Greensboro Parks and Recreation, making it possible for the organization to accept a grant award of $25,000 grant from REI to build a pump track and other biking enhancements at Keeley Park.

From 2018 to 2020 Greensboro Parks Foundation acted as the fiduciary agent for the Spencer Love Tennis Campaign, which raised over $230,000 for expansion of the tennis courts at the Spencer Love Tennis facility. Work on this project began in the summer of 2021 and was completed in 2023.

Continuing its role as fiduciary agent for various community fundraising projects, in 2019 Greensboro Parks Foundation assisted with fund management for the Up in the Air Playground at Keeley Park. Designed for all bodies and abilities, the Up in the Air playground is among the largest playgrounds in Greensboro. It is the largest fully accessible playground in this part of North Carolina, featuring six slides, five spinning elements, three zip lines, cargo nets and plenty of places to climb. In 2019 the foundation also assisted with managing funds for the Lisa Westmoreland Memorial Garden at Country Park, and partnered with Build Greensboro Together for the $25,000 Heath Park improvements project.

In December of 2020, the Greensboro Parks Foundation accepted a gift of $350,000 from Friends Homes Greensboro on behalf of Greensboro Parks and Recreation for a feasibility study and to support the development of a natural surface trail connector that runs through property donated by Friends Homes and will connect to the Bicentennial Greenway.

In one of its largest partnerships to date, the foundation accepted $300,000 in grant funding from the VF Foundation for completion of Phase II West of the North Buffalo Creek Greenway and reconstruction of the boardwalk along the Palmetto Trail. As part of the partnership, VF Corporation signed on in 2021 as a premier sponsor of Parks and Recreation’s TACO (Take A Child Outside) Week, programming that engages children and their caregivers with fun ways to enjoy and recreate in the great outdoors. 

In 2022, Greensboro Parks Foundation launched the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program, a yearlong hands-on learning experience for middle school girls that prepares them for future careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. The program had nine graduates in the summer of 2023 and will continue to expand for the 2023-24 program year. In 2022, Greensboro Parks Foundation became the fiscal sponsor of the Downtown Greenway Run and Block Party, expanding this sponsorship program in 2023 to provide support year-round Downtown Greenway programs and events. In 2023 Greensboro Parks Foundation introduced the Greensboro Parks Foundation Open golf tournament to generate support for improvements to historic Gillespie Golf Course.

Get Involved

One of the most exciting aspects of the Greensboro Parks Foundation is the opportunity for community involvement. Whether you’re an individual, a local business, or an organization, there are numerous ways to support this noble cause.

  1. Donations: Contributions go a long way in supporting projects, maintenance, and programs. Every dollar counts and helps keep our parks thriving.
  2. Volunteering: If you have time and energy to spare, volunteering your skills or labor can make a substantial difference in our parks’ upkeep.
  3. Advocacy: Join our mission to raise awareness about the importance of preserving our green spaces and supporting policies that protect our environment.
  4. Events: Attend one of the foundation’s fundraisers or community events. Not only do these provide much-needed financial support, but they also offer opportunities for fun and networking.
  5. Partnerships: If you represent a local business or organization, consider establishing a partnership with the foundation to promote your mutual interests in a greener, healthier Greensboro.

The Future of Greensboro’s Green Spaces

Greensboro Parks Foundation is an essential pillar of our community’s commitment to preserving and enhancing our green spaces. The foundation’s dedication to the city’s parks and recreational areas ensures that future generations will have the privilege of enjoying the same natural beauty that we cherish today.

So, let’s all join hands in supporting this remarkable organization and together, we can work towards preserving and expanding Greensboro’s green gems for years to come. Whether through donations, volunteering, or advocacy, our collective efforts will contribute to the vitality of our city and the well-being of our residents. The Greensboro Parks Foundation is proof that when a community comes together for a shared cause, the results can be truly extraordinary.

By Paula Barger
Executive Director