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Monday, June 18, 2018

Highly-Rated Park Foundations

It finally feels like summer and the timing couldn’t be more perfect because it’s International Picnic Day! What better way to spend a summer afternoon (or evening, for those of you reading this from a cubicle) than enjoying a meal outdoors with friends and loved ones?

Before you pull out your wicker basket and load it up with your blanket, sandwiches, fresh fruits, and adult beverages, take a moment to check out this list of highly-rated park foundations. After all, if romantic comedies have taught us anything, it’s that every picnic should take place in a sun-drenched park with birds singing sweetly in the distance.

(Plus, I’m sharing one of my easy picnic favorites!)

Park Pride (Atlanta, GA)
☆☆☆☆ + Impact
More and better parks

The mission of Park Pride is to engage communities to activate the power of parks. They believe that parks have the power to increase communities' quality of life by promoting community engagement, health, safety, and revitalization. Their unique programming helps families and individuals in Atlanta enjoy their local parks, and they provide funding to keep those spaces clean and beautiful across the city.

Regional Parks Foundation (Oakland, CA)
Supporting East Bay regional parks

The Regional Parks Foundation is working to make parks in the East Bay region more accessible to everyone in the area. Their youth development programs are focused on helping children find a love of the outdoors while their community engagement and environmental stewardship initiatives increase families' investment in the spaces and teach them how to take care of them. 

Seattle Parks Foundation (Seattle, WA)
Connecting Seattle through public space

The Seattle Parks Foundation engages individuals, community, and corporate sponsors to make Seattle parks healthy, thriving spaces. They provide fiscal sponsorship to more than 50 community-based programs that are working on public space projects throughout the city. They work with their network of partners to ensure these public spaces are well-designed and sustainable. Additionally, they advocate for policies that will continue to protect city parks to improve the quality of life for Seattle residents.

Central Park Conservancy (New York, NY)
☆☆☆☆ + Impact
Restoring, managing, and enhancing Central Park

Formed in 1980, the Central Park Conservancy manages Central Park under a contract from New York City. The organization raises more than 75% of the funds to operate and maintain the park. They believe that healthy cities need parks and that parks need to be managed. The Conservancy's Insitute for Urban Parks was formed in 2013 as the organization's educational arm to teach people about managing and making good use of urban parks.

Austin Parks Foundation (Austin, TX)
☆☆☆☆ + Impact
People plus parks

The Austin Parks Foundation is actively working to improve the quality of Austin Parks and residents experiences with them. They believe the city's public parkland should be preserved and maintained and that all residents, no matter where they live, should enjoy safe and accessible parks. They provide funding and programs to bring residents together to improve their parks, and in turn their neighborhoods. 

You can use Charity Navigator's Advanced Search Tool and Discover feature to find even more highly-rated charities working to protect and preserve local parks.

As promised, here is a recipe for one of my picnic favorites. This refreshing watermelon salad is super easy and bound to be a hit at your next picnic! Enjoy!

Watermelon Feta Salad with Mint from Tori Avey


  • Whole, seedless watermelon (chilled)
  • ½ c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 whole limes, juiced
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 ½ c. crumbled feta


First, remove the watermelon rind and cut the fruit into 1-inch chunks. Place the watermelon into a colander to drain.

Next, create the dressing by whisking together olive oil, lime juice, salt, and black pepper.

Finally, place watermelon in serving bowl and drizzle with your dressing. Add chopped mint and toss lightly. Pour the crumbled feta over the salad and stir gently to mix the cheese in with the salad. 

Note: This salad is best served fresh!

Written by Ashley Post, Communications Manager.

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