Parks Fundraiser Celebrates 40-Year Anniversary and Launch of New Parks Alliance


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Parks Fundraiser Celebrates 40-Year Anniversary and Launch of New Parks Alliance


San Francisco Parks Trust and SF Rec and Parks to Host Annual Party for the Parks


SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco Parks Trust (SFPT) in partnership with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department (RPD) will host Party for the Parks on Friday, September 23, 2011. The fundraiser will take place at the newly renovated Carrousel and Koret Children’s Quarter Playground in Golden Gate Park, and celebrates not only the 40-year anniversary of SFPT, but also the launch of the San Francisco Parks Alliance—a bigger, stronger, more effective parks organization formed by combining SFPT and the Neighborhood Parks Council.


SFPT began as an all-volunteer organization in 1971, originally called Friends of Recreation and Parks. Its initial programs launched in its first year—Parks Guides free tours, a Memorial Bench program, and co-hosting Opera in the Park—all continue today. The start-up gift that led to its creation was $50,000 from Walter Shorenstein to renovate the Carrousel in Golden Gate Park, and it is with great pleasure that SFPT hosts its final celebration at the same iconic structure that inspired its formation.


Party for the Parks is expected to be a lively Friday evening featuring rides on the historic Golden Gate Park Carrousel, carnival fun and games, and signature cocktails, followed by a sumptuous buffet by McCalls Catering. Late-night dancing with DJ Spider, dessert, and a Ten-Minute Live Auction of a few priceless, one-of-a-kind park experiences will conclude the evening.


“This event is a wonderful celebration of 40 years of partnership between SF Rec and Parks and Parks Trust,” said, Phil Ginsburg, RPD General Manager,”Funds from Party for Parks support critical programs including our scholarship.”


With events like Party for the Parks and dedicated members and donors, over the course of its 40-year history SFPT has raised tens of millions of dollars for parks and recreation programs, for neighborhood parks, and to restore some of the City’s most iconic park landmarks such as the Conservatory of Flowers, the GGP windmills, GGP Music Concourse, and the Beach Chalet. SFPT’s dedication to grassroots community groups has helped grow its Park Partners fiscal sponsorship program from just a few organizations to more than 70 today, with groups such as SF City Guides, Bay Area Open Space Council, Visitacion Valley Greenway, SFGRO, Jerry Day, and GreenTrustSF under its wing. SFPT’s volunteer, education and healthy recreation programs over the years have also touched thousands of San Francisco residents, children, and families.


Even with SFPT’s philanthropic success and dedication to park advocacy, during the past five years parks have faced ever more challenges as a diminishing RPD budget collides with increasing demand for safe, clean, and well-staffed facilities and programs. Through this lens, SFPT and the City’s other leading parks advocacy organization, Neighborhood Parks Council, examined how they did business. They discovered a singular synergy between their unique strengths in philanthropy and advocacy. A year ago, they started laying the foundation for the San Francisco Parks Alliance, which will begin its launch on October 3rd.


“Party for the Parks this year has special significance,” said SFPT Executive Director Karen Kidwell, ”as we both look back over 40 years at SFPT’s accomplishments, as well as to the next 40 years as the San Francisco Parks Alliance. We are thrilled to start this new chapter of stewardship for San Francisco parks.”


Honorary Chairs for the event include Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Park Commission President Mark Buell, and the Host Committee includes co-chairs Lana Adair, Paige Arata, Connie Goodyear Baron, Meg Bertero, Nancy Conner, Christine Gardner, and Ally Gwozdz.


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