Partnerships for Parks (PfP), a joint program of NYC Parks and City Parks Foundation, is pleased to announce celebratory events across New York City in recognition of its 25th Anniversary this year. Founded in 1995, PfP was created to help support community park groups citywide reclaim their local parks and transform them into thriving community spaces in the wake of NYC budget cuts that left parks neglected and dangerous.
Today, PfP supports nearly 600 volunteer-based community groups working to sustain 400 parks and green spaces across New York City, engaging over 25,000 volunteers annually. To celebrate their 25th anniversary, PfP is rolling out a series of events throughout the year to highlight the impact community park groups have had on our city’s green spaces. The celebration will begin on February 27 at the annual It’s My Park Awards reception that recognizes outstanding volunteer groups and the contributions they have made during the last year. The awards reception will, for the first time, recognize both newer groups that are making an impact, as well as groups that have been involved in their local green spaces over the 25 years (or more) of the program’s existence. The celebration will continue with a series of community group workshops in the spring, designed to collect feedback on PfP’s role and to help shape its future. The celebration will conclude with an exhibition covering 25 years of PfP by highlighting key milestones and telling the moving and diverse stories of volunteers and community groups that chose to give their time to support their neighborhood park.
“We are thrilled to announce our 25th anniversary and honor the many community partners we’ve been privileged to work with over a quarter-century to sustain public green spaces in New York City,” said Sabina Saragoussi, director of Partnerships for Parks. “At a series of events throughout the year, we’ll be sharing the unique and inspiring stories of New Yorkers who have come together to beautify and enrich their parks and further strengthen their beloved communities. We’ll also be encouraging people to share ideas on how PfP can support this important work in the years to come. We invite everyone to join us as we celebrate, and together, imagine the future.”
“On behalf of NYC Parks, I would like to congratulate and thank Partnerships for Parks for 25 years of conscientious service to our city’s public parks and greenspaces,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Partnerships for Parks’ support for local community groups and their dedication to urban stewardship plays a crucial role in making our parks strong, healthy, and beautiful, benefiting all who enjoy our city’s parkland.”
Partnerships for Parks’ seventh annual It’s My Park Awards reception will be held Thursday, February 27, at the Prince George Ballroom in Manhattan. PfP will present 10 awards this year, recognizing groups in each borough. Legacy Awards will honor community groups selected from PfP’s 25 years of work, while the Bright Future Awards will honor community groups who led their first It’s My Park project in 2019.
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Starting in the spring, Partnerships for Parks will hold workshops in all five boroughs to collect feedback from participants that will help shape the direction of the program for its next quarter-century. Workshops will also offer opportunities for community members, neighborhood leaders, and NYC Parks staff to network; providing a space in which to share experiences and expertise, while hearing from expert speakers in park advocacy.
Towards the end of the year, Partnerships for Parks will present an exhibit exploring its rich history of advocacy and volunteerism by highlighting and examining the stories of 25 community groups that have worked in NYC green spaces in the last 25 years. Through photography and mixed media, the exhibition will show the transformation that is possible when communities come together in their local parks to effect change. The show will open on Wednesday, September 16, and will be on view through Friday, November 13, in the Arsenal Gallery at 830 Fifth Avenue in Central Park in Manhattan.
Partnerships for Parks is a unique public-private partnership between City Parks Foundation and NYC Parks that supports and champions neighborhood volunteers by giving them the tools they need to advocate and care for their neighborhood parks and green spaces. More information about Partnership for Parks is available at www.partnershipsforparks.org.
Generous private support is provided by the Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Altman Foundation, Con Edison, TD Bank, and the MJS Foundation. Public support is provided by the NYC Council under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson through the Parks Equity Initiative.
Photo credit: Inwood Hill Park