Urban Sustainablitity / Green Nonprofit Organization
By Rita Cook
The Dallas Parks Foundation was a nominee in the 2012 Green Source DFW Environmental Leadership Award, Grass Roots category. According to Samuel F. Stiles, Director of the Foundation, the foundation was founded “Based on the Dallas Park Board's Renaissance plan, a long-range plan completed in 2002, [where] the city recognized that private funds would be needed in order to regain the quality and level of service last experienced in 1985 and to meet future needs.”
Stiles says that while the city has made monetary commitments to fund many immediate park needs, a revival is needed. This revival would then fuel an ability to build facilities that meet current and future recreational expectations including hike and bike trails and linear parks where people can travel from one community to another along trails and parkways.
Charted in 2004, the Dallas Parks Foundation is a private, non-profit with a primary mission dedicated to preserving, protecting, promoting and enhancing Dallas parks while making a lasting contribution to the city of Dallas and its park system overall. “It is important that the Dallas Parks Foundation play a leading role in recovering the quality and prestige of the park system,” Stiles says. “Regaining confidence and enthusiasm of our community and repositioning Dallas parks as a state and national leader,” Stiles feels this is of key importance as well.( White Rock Lake Centnnial Celebration at the Dallas Arboretum photo: pinterist.com )
There are a number of important groups throughout North Texas like the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation that manages and operates the new Klyde Warren Park. Each group has an important role in the creation and support of their respective location. The Dallas Parks Foundation takes an overall view of the parks in Dallas.
“The Dallas Park System is the fifth largest in the United States with 372 parks across the city,” he explains. “White Rock Lake is the largest urban body of water and the Trinity River Forest is the largest urban forest in the country.” Overall, the park system plays a significant role in providing not only homes for wildlife, along with flora and fauna, but it also provides a natural environment for people to come together and it helps create a healthier city too.
While the Dallas Parks Foundation has been making strides since its inception, Stiles says that two of the biggest challenges are still awareness and funding of the organization. However, he also adds that one of the recent successes for the Parks Foundation was its the involvement with BMW USA. The Foundation received 10,000 Facebook “LIKES” for $10,000. “It was a wonderful accomplishment,”.
Styles said “hike and bike trails with on-street bike lanes are vital to the health of our environment and people.” With that in mind, the Dallas Parks Foundation is actively pursuing funding for the Hike and Bike Initiative Fund to insure that the proposed 280 miles of Hike and Bike Trails and 800 miles of on-street bike lanes come to fruition. “We no longer wish to be categorized as the worst bicycle city in America,” he concludes “We invite everyone to join us in this effort.” ( photo: city hall blog dallasnews.com )
Dallas Parks Foundation
381 Casa Linda Plaza, Box 117
Dallas, Texas 75218