By Rachel Maher
Twenty-four communities across the City of Atlanta and unincorporated DeKalb County look forward to $2.3 million in capital improvements to neighborhood parks thanks to grant awards from Park Pride, the local nonprofit that engages communities to activate the power of parks. This is Park Pride’s largest grant cycle in history, exceeding the prior year’s awards by nearly $1 million. Additionally, 60% of the allocated funds will benefit parks in low-income neighborhoods, building upon Park Pride’s efforts to make great parks a reality in every neighborhood in Atlanta.
Established in 2004, Park Pride’s Grantmaking Program awards funding to community groups seeking to revitalize their neighborhood greenspaces. It is designed to support Friends of the Park groups taking on larger projects as they grow and develop capacity, offering awards from $250 to $100,000 or more. The Grantmaking Program is generously supported by the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation, the City of Atlanta, and others. To date, Park Pride has awarded over $12.7 million to park projects through this program, funding improvements that include new playgrounds, bridges and piers, ADA-accessibility upgrades, kiosks and signage, trails, exercise equipment, community gardens, green infrastructure (rain gardens and bioswales), art installations, and much more.
The City of Atlanta is the program’s most recent funder. In 2021, public funding was allocated to Park Pride through legislation from Atlanta City Council, designated for park improvement projects in low-income communities. This cycle, $700,000 dollars from the city will match equal investment from the philanthropic sector in low-income communities.
“Every neighborhood in our city deserves access to quality greenspace, regardless of income or zip code. With this historic slate of grant awards from Park Pride, we will make progress on that goal,” said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens. “I believe our parks have the ability to establish community connection and the power to shape and define the character of our neighborhoods. I am honored to continue building our strong partnership with Park Pride.”
“Due to increased support from our philanthropic and public partners, Park Pride’s city-wide impact is larger than what’s ever been possible,” stated Park Pride’s Executive Director, Michael Halicki. “With 60% of our total grant awards directed to low-income community parks, we’re reaching those who have the greatest need for the benefits that parks provide: safe places to play, improved mental and physical health, cleaner air and water. I couldn’t be prouder of the work we’re doing together.”
“The work that Park Pride does is so vital to our community,” stated Melanie Wofford, leader of the Friends of Cleopas Johnson Park. “Their stellar track record and support of grassroots organizations builds community leaders by supporting capacity building and community development in an outstanding way. Park Pride is the champion that allows our city to celebrate how much greenspace matters.” The Friends of Cleopas Johnson Park received a Park Pride grant to upgrade park amenities, improving access and safety.
Park Pride engages more than 100 Friends of the Park groups across the City of Atlanta, unincorporated DeKalb County, Tucker, and Brookhaven. In addition to its Grantmaking Program, Park Pride provides a suite of resources that empower local groups to create parks tailored to their communities, including park design support, fiscal sponsorship, and educational and capacity building workshops.
The 2022 grant award winners include the Grant Park Conservancy and the Historic Oakland Foundation (HOF). The Grant Park Conservancy will beautify the area around the Erskine Fountain with a cobblestone plaza and native plantings (include daffodils to honor children lost in the Holocaust). The Historic Oakland Foundation (HOF) will add benches, bike racks, and directional signage to Oakland Cemetery to help visitors navigate through the park and enhance the visitor experience.
To learn more about Park Pride grants, visit www.parkpride.org/we-can-help/grant-programs.
A trusted Atlanta-based nonprofit for over 30 years, Park Pride engages communities to activate the power of parks! Working with over 100 local Friends of the Park groups across 250 greenspaces, Park Pride provides leadership, services, and funding to help communities realize their dreams for parks that support healthy people, united neighborhoods, a resilient city, and a healthy environment. Park Pride is active in greenspace advocacy and educating both civic leaders and the public about the benefits of parks, and annually hosts the Parks and Greenspace Conference. Learn more about Park Pride at www.parkpride.org.