San Francisco Parks Alliance (SFPA) believes that active community participation in our parks fosters public investment in our city's open spaces. Working together to support our parks strengthens communities, promotes physical and mental health, encourages a strong economy, and helps the City leverage limited resources. To reach these goals, the SFPA helps community members form park groups around their parks, open spaces and recreation centers. Through joint stewardship efforts and partnerships in our parks and recreation centers, SFPA gives groups a greater voice with City leaders by creating a coalition of advocates. These partnerships lead to cross-community mentorship and a greater sense of ownership of our parks and recreation system in San Francisco.
In January of 2012, SFPA began a strategic planning process to evaluate our programs and develop a slate of programs with a citywide focus, increasing our reach and effectiveness. Current SFPA Stewardship programs include:
Neighborhoods Currently, the Neighborhood Programs of the SFPA include initiatives that aim to address park system improvements, foster community volunteerism, increase public engagement and encourage community-based fundraising. Our program builds capacity among park users and volunteers through cross-collaborative work, technical assistance and education. Below is a sample of current SFPA Neighborhood programs:
Playground Initiative is a partnership between SFPA and the Recreation and Park Department (RPD). Through workdays, park activation events, a biennual Playground Report Card and annual Playground Reassessment Report, the Initiative works towards ensuring that all children in San Francisco have access to a safe and engaging play space in their neighborhood.
ParkScan.org is a website that SFPA hosts and manages in partnership with RPD and San Francisco’s 311 center that enables San Francisco residents to easily report maintenance issues and improvements they observe in parks, trails and playgrounds to the appropriate City agencies that manage these spaces.
Park Group Support is provided city-wide to any park or neighborhood group, regardless of participation in SFPA’s Park Partner fiscal sponsorship program. Park group support from the SFPA stewardship team can include staff attending community meetings, representing SFPA on task forces and working in close collaboration with the City to coordinate workdays, system-wide events and stewardship activities throughout San Francisco’s 225 neighborhood parks and recreation centers.
Park Advocate Education Series helps coordinate all of the many stakeholders in a community or a park. In order to continually educate our constituents about best practices in community organizing, SFPA coordinates an educational series for park users to learn about governance, policy, philanthropy, advocacy, event-planning and how to make the leap to being a Park Partner.
Golden Gate Park
Acknowledging that additional resources and volunteer energy needed to assure our flagship park remains beautiful and safe, SFPA works with community groups and the SF Recreation and Parks Department on a number of activities, including the Strawberry Hill Habitat Restoration project. A new program of the SFPA, our stewardship work in Golden Gate Park will eventually span from the Panhandle to Ocean Beach and include all major park stakeholders. We envision that SFPA will be the convening agent for GGP park groups, holding the vision for the upcoming 150th anniversary of the park in 2020.