We adhere to the following core values as we seek to accomplish our mission and achieve our vision of uniting Baltimore by ensuring that everyone is connected to nature, their community and each other through vibrant parks and green spaces.
We believe our goals and vision can only be achieved through collaboration with local communities, fellow nonprofits, government agencies and our supporters.
We believe every green space in Baltimore should be beautiful and best-in-class.
We believe everyone in Baltimore deserves equal access to safe, healthy, vibrant green space.
We believe that green space fosters community connections that make residents’ lives happier, healthier and safer.
We believe in listening to the community, understanding and respecting their unique needs in relation to green space.
We believe that our employees are our greatest resource whose input and development are essential to the organization’s success.
What’s the formula for achieving our mission to unite Baltimore through parks?
Simple: Parks + People = Community
Who we are
At Parks & People, we have a single goal in mind: to improve the quality of life for residents of Baltimore by ensuring that everyone is connected to nature through vibrant parks and green spaces.
Why? Because we believe that parks transform people.
Not just the other way around. The act of reclaiming a vacant lot or beautifying a neglected open space, by even a few residents on a single block, can serve as a catalyst for positive change and growth throughout a community. We have seen this transformation take place time and again. In neighborhoods where someone establishes and maintains open public green spaces:
- people experience a stronger sense of community,
- develop closer relationships with their neighbors, and
- report feeling safer.
This is true on any scale, from the 137-acre Patterson Park to a .137-acre pocket park on Pennsylvania Avenue. Both are vital resources not only to the residents in close proximity but also to the city at large.
We believe that creating access to healthy, vibrant outdoor spaces — parks, gardens, playing fields, bike paths, landscaped boulevards, university campuses, and other green spaces — yields nearly unlimited benefits: improving the quality of daily life, fostering young people’s sense of citizenship, driving economic investment, and so much more.
What we do
This is the impact that the Parks & People Foundation works to create in communities, particularly underserved neighborhoods, throughout Baltimore every day. Founded in 1984 on the principle that public-private partnerships are necessary to ensure the survival of the city’s parks and thereby its communities, we collaborate with the Department of Recreation & Parks, as well as with local communities, fellow nonprofits, government agencies and our volunteers and supporters in myriad ways:
- raising and managing funds for projects,
- sponsoring youth sports and education activities,
- and many other opportunities.
Our role is to lessen the burdens on the Baltimore City government in providing a system of parks and recreation facilities for the welfare of all citizens.
Why we do it
We operate according to one basic tenet: Parks exist for people. In the same way that an architect would say his job is not to design office buildings, but rather to create places for people, we believe our job is to ensure that parks and open green spaces build community. Parks that are unused and otherwise untouched by people are simply empty spaces.
The Parks & People Foundation exists to ensure that all of Baltimore’s parks are beautiful, safe, active spaces that are accessible to and used by all people.
We know that Parks & People can create positive and sustainable change by uniting Baltimore; we’ve been doing it for 30-plus years. Our vision is for a Baltimore where everyone is connected to their community and to each other through a network of vibrant parks and other green spaces. To make this happen, we will continue to work neighborhood by neighborhood, one park and one person at a time.
We encourage you to join us!
For more than three decades, the Parks & People Foundation has sought to achieve a single goal: to improve the quality of life for residents of Baltimore by ensuring that everyone is connected to nature through vibrant parks and green spaces.
Because we believe that parks transform people. One simple act — reclaiming a vacant lot or beautifying a neglected open space or creating a safe playing field for kids — can serve as a catalyst for positive change and growth throughout a community.
In fact, that’s our mission: To unite Baltimore through parks. And it is the inspiration behind everything we do, from raising and managing funds for projects, sponsoring youth sports and educational activities, to exploring and guiding public greening programs, and more.
We also believe that we can only achieve our goals through collaboration and partnerships with local communities, fellow nonprofits, government agencies and our supporters. In other words, people like you. That’s why we embarked on a landmark strategic planning process in 2016 to better understand who we are, what we do and how we must move forward.
We hope you will join us on our journey to unite Baltimore through parks.
To learn more about why we do what we do, read our story, and to find us, head to our staff and board of directors pages. To get a more in-depth understanding of the ambitious yet achievable goals we have set for ourselves and others, read our strategic plan.