Parks With Purpose

Emma Millican Park in Atlanta.

Emma Millican Park in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Stacy Funderburke/The Conservation Fund.

The Conservation Fund helped pioneer a new definition of good conservation beginning in 1985 when we included economic development in our mission. Today, we’re deploying our conservation mission in some of the places it is needed most: America’s cities.

Although the Fund has worked in some of America’s largest urban areas for decades, we created our Parks With Purpose program to address the specific challenges facing urban conservation efforts. Parks With Purpose is about much more than protecting urban green space and parks: With state, county and city parks and resource departments bankrupt or underfunded it is not enough to simply protect the land and walk away. In many cities where we work, there isn’t any agency able to own the land, restore it, manage it or keep it thriving.

So how do we deal with this current conservation challenge?  Learn more in our Parks with Purpose Brochure!

A New Approach To Urban Conservation

America’s cities represent a unique opportunity for the Fund to provide our full suite of conservation services:  land loans, real estate expertise, green infrastructure planning, community development, green business lending and job creation.  It is this integration of services that makes The Conservation Fund an ideal partner for helping solve the complex problems facing urban landscapes. For each project, we work with the local community to identify, protect and restore the very best land that creates safer places for children to play and families to gather. We also demonstrate how these natural areas can filter, slow and clean floodwaters, grow healthy food and create green jobs. 

Project Focus: Lindsay Street Park In Atlanta

Along Proctor Creek, the neighborhoods of English Avenue and Vine City lie in the shadow of downtown Atlanta, less than a mile from the Georgia Dome and the site where the Atlanta Falcons football team will build its new $1 billion stadium. Yet these streets are not the lifeline to Atlanta; they are plagued with some of the highest rates of crime, unemployment and foreclosure in the city. We’re working to change that. 

Partner Focus: Amigos de los Rios in Los Angeles

The Fund is working with the nonprofit Amigos de los Rios to combine and update the green infrastructure plan for the Los Angeles area. Click on the video to watch Executive Director Claire Robinson’s talk about working with the Fund to increase green space and improve communities across the city.
Learn more>>

Work With Us

Are you a nonprofit or city agency trying to improve your city’s green space or community parks? Find out if the Fund can help in your efforts. Contact Jena Meredith (see below) for more information about the Fund’s services.  

Explore the links to our projects and videos to learn more about the cities where we’re working and the people we’re working with to revitalize and green urban communities across the country. 


Parks With Purpose: Atlanta Map of Proctor North Avenue

The Fund has been working for more than a decade to establish parks and green space in Atlanta. As part of our effort, we’re working with local partners in the Proctor North Avenue section of the city, stretching from the… Read More

An Emerald Necklace For Los Angeles Gibson Mariposa Park. Photo by Cameron McIntyre.

As one of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, the Los Angeles region should be leading the country in park and recreation opportunities, but, sadly, it is not. In fact, in Los Angeles County, only 36 percent of children live within… Read More

Conservation Efforts In Detroit Ivan LaBianca

With a generation of young adults leaving in droves to find work, population decline is a serious issue with far-reaching consequences in Detroit. Once home to 1.9 million people, Detroit now has just 700,000 residents, leaving an estimated 30,000 acres of distressed land. Its… Read More

Open Space Plan For Nashville Nashville skyline

Like many American cities, fast-growing Nashville needs green strategy. Obesity-related conditions cost area residents an estimated $255 million annually. There are too few places for people to easily access the outdoors, with only about 3% of Davidson County in metro… Read More

Face Of This Place: Wendy Sams, Rouge Park, Detroit Wendy Sams-Richardson

Wendy Sams has been the Fund’s Chief Information Officer for more than a decade.  As a native of Detroit, Wendy was thrilled when she heard the Fund was helping to restore Rouge Park, the park of her childhood where she… Read More

Healing Nature In Los Angeles With TreePeople TreePeople at work in Los Angeles

Although Los Angeles is known for its concrete sprawl, TreePeople is at the forefront of a movement to re-imagine and reclaim the city as a healthy, thriving ecosystem. For forty years they have been inspiring and empowering Angelenos of all… Read More


Jena Meredith
Jena Thompson Meredith San Diego, CA
(512) 423-5086

As Director of Corporate Partnerships and Director of Go Zero, Jena Thompson Meredith has combined entrepreneurial vision and conservation ideals for a decade at The Conservation Fund. Jena has led initiatives with Dell, Delta, Mercedes-Benz USA, The North Face, Travelocity, U-Haul, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and many others. She holds a BA in English from the University of Texas.