New $6M Grant to City Continues to Transform Play Fields and Make SF Better
SAN FRANCISCO—The City Fields Foundation announced today a new grant of $6 million to the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department to continue renovation of San Francisco park sites.
City Fields Foundation’s Playfields Initiative is a model $52 million public-private partnership with the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department, established to address the critical shortage of athletic fields in San Francisco, particularly in underserved neighborhoods. Over the past ten years, the partnership has transformed 21 dilapidated athletic fields, turning them into safe and lively community gathering places where thousands of additional children gather to play sports.
The new $6M grant, pending approval by the Recreation and Park Commission and the Board of Supervisors, will help with continued improvements to the city’s play fields, replacing renovated fields, as needed, as they reach the end of their life cycle over the next decade. The renovations will happen at nine park sites, including: Garfield Square; Silver Terrace; Franklin Square; South Sunset; Crocker Amazon; Kimbell Playground; Mission Playground; Minnie & Lovie Ward Recreation Center; and Beach Chalet in Golden Gate Park.
Revitalized playfields ensure that children have much-needed safe places to run, play and exercise year-round. But they do more than that by recognizing that play fields and parks are community centers, places where children, parents and neighbors gather and form friendships and support networks. Those neighbor, parent and child relationships are vitally important for families trying to make it in an expensive city that can be a hard place to raise a family.
“We know that public-private partnerships are essential for making sure we have a great community. And City Fields Foundation is proud of its partnership with the City of San Francisco,” said Susan Hirsch, Director of City Fields Foundation and CEO of Hirsch & Associates, Philanthropic Advisors. “We hope that today’s funding inspires other philanthropists to give back and invest in public-private partnerships to make San Francisco a better place for families.”
“Our partnership with City Fields Foundation has been instrumental in getting kids out to our beautiful parks to play. What is remarkable about this $6 million funding is how rare it is for a private donor to invest not only in the initial playfield renovation but also ongoing efforts to keep the fields beautiful and usable,” said Phil Ginsburg, General Manager of the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department. “The children and their families who rely on access to our athletic fields are the real winners here.”
The highly successful Playfields initiative has given San Francisco children and adults increased access to high-quality facilities with state-of-the-art lighting, synthetic turf, family-friendly amenities and 90,000 hours of additional playtime each year. Since 2006, more than 200 new youth sports teams have been formed in San Francisco and surrounding areas and more than 2,400 kids are now able to play ball each year.
The increase in playfield capacity has been especially significant for girls. After Title IX was passed in 1972, there was increased demand for field time for girls’ sports teams but many of the fields were already booked with boys’ teams. As a result of this public-private partnership, 85 new girls’ soccer teams have been created in San Francisco.
More information on the City Fields Foundation can be found at cityfieldsfoundation.org.