Building the capacity of local nonprofits, grassroots organizations, and neighborhood residents is an essential part of our community-centered approach and ensures those that live, work, and play near these Parks with Purpose projects benefit from their development. Engaging with and empowering the community is key in the Fund’s approach to developing these new urban parks.



Our Parks with Purpose Initiative pioneers a unique, multi-benefit approach to partnering with communities on innovative greenspaces:


  • We empower communities, as the primary beneficiaries, to set objectives and design park features that ensure a safer and healthier place for families to play and enjoy the outdoors.
  • We embrace equitable, inclusive, and sustainable park development in urban neighborhoods that have been historically denied, disregarded or dismissed.
  • We implement green infrastructure strategies and greenspace design to address chronic problems of stormwater flooding, overflowing sewers, higher urban temperatures and declining air quality.
  • We support economic resiliency through workforce training and employment programs for neighborhood residents.



In each metropolitan area, we are working with local nonprofit partner organizations on community-centered engagement processes so residents can define their specific community interests and needs.


Kathryn Johnston Memorial Park, Coming 2019. Credit: Park Design by HGOR

  • Baltimore, MD
    The Fund’s lead local partner is Greater Baybrook Alliance (GBA). Along with GBA, Friends of Garrett Park, and BlueWater Baltimore, we are working with the Garrett Park neighborhood in Brooklyn/Baybrook area of south Baltimore.



  • Raleigh, NC
    The Fund’s lead local partner is Walnut Creek Wetlands Community Partnership, focused on the neighborhoods situated southeast of downtown Raleigh. North Carolina State University’s Water Resources Research Institute serves as the Partnership’s fiscal agent and other partners include ILASS and CHER.


  • Washington, DC
    Together with additional philanthropic partners, we are helping the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation support a new Community Engagement Liaison position to build bridges with residents of historic Anacostia and design a new “friends” organization for Anacostia Park, the key unit of National Capital Parks – East.Check out this webinar on equitable development, hosted by The Conservation Fund in partnership with Building Bridges Across the River (BBAR), which features Vaughn Perry, Equitable Development Manager with 11th Street Bridge Park, a project of BBAR, which will be Washington, D.C.’s first elevated public park.

Vine City Park (Atlanta, GA)


These vulnerable communities suffer disproportionately from stormwater flooding, overflowing sewers, higher urban temperatures, and declining air quality.


As the climate changes and severe weather events become more frequent, these persistent problems adversely affect residents’ health and deter investments that could support new businesses and jobs and improve housing, educational opportunities, and public safety.


Our Parks With Purpose projects are investing in new natural green space elements that can hold and filter stormwater, reduce flash flooding and erosion, and expand the capacity of aging, urban sewer systems.

Oliver Street, the eastern boundary block at Kathryn Johnston Park. Photo credit: Tony Torrence


Support is currently needed to underwrite our Workforce Development Programs in each of these urban parks. This community-centered initiative offers job training and employment opportunities to local residents in the fields of ecological restoration, tree care, landscaping, and green infrastructure installation and maintenance.


These new green jobs and valuable employment skills are immediately put to use in each Park With Purpose location for site preparation, renovation and ongoing park preservation, strengthening neighborhood economic resiliency. Learn more about the impact our Parks With Purpose Workforce Development Program has on the lives of young adults in these communities.