We see our role as being an amplifying force for philanthropy, planning, and advocacy. Our donors have stepped up time and again so everyone in Seattle can feel connected to safe and beautiful green spaces. The $54 million they have contributed through Seattle Parks Foundation since 2001 has mobilized at least four times that amount in public-sector support for projects ranging from Lake Union Park to Junction Plaza Park in West Seattle, Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands, Yesler Terrace Park, Olympic Hills Park in Lake City, and Occidental Park in Pioneer Square.
In a city where a lot of planning happens, but many plans stay on the shelf, we have funded and guided efforts that have resulted in civic-scale transformation of public spaces. We published and successfully advocated for implementation of the Bands of Green plan, which has guided work on enhanced green streets and trail connections throughout the city, including the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop and the Lake2Bay Corridor.
After managing the successful 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy campaign, we commissioned Sustaining Seattle’s Parks: A Study of Alternative Strategies to Support Operations and Maintenance of a Great Urban Parks System, which provided a framework for the four-year effort to establish the Seattle Park District. With guidance and support from nonprofit partners around the city, we led the successful “Parks for All” campaign that established a permanent funding source for equitable delivery of service and capital investment throughout the park system.
In the Duwamish River Valley, we piloted a new way of thinking about park investments in underserved neighborhoods. By funding community-led planning efforts, we facilitated collaboration among neighborhoods, nonprofits, donors, and city agencies to advance an equitable, coordinated public space and community development agenda. Today, new parks and trails are under construction throughout the South Park and Georgetown neighborhoods.
In our increasingly dense city, the need for green space has never been more urgent, and residents are responding. In 2014, Seattle Parks Foundation sponsored 40 community-led park projects. That number has since more than doubled. In response, our donor base has likewise expanded—from 967 donors in 2014 to more than 2,000 in 2018.