How do you boost the health of an entire state? The Colorado Health Foundation, whose mission is to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation, believes the answer is tri-fold: encourage healthy living by providing residents with access to nutritious food, regular physical activity, and quality health care. With this vision in mind, The Colorado Health Foundation recently granted The Trust for Public Land $2.84 million to promote exercise and fitness in Denver by building accessible neighborhood parks and trails.
The grant represents a continuation of The Trust for Public Land’s partnership with The Colorado Health Foundation; the two organizations collaborated on the creation of Denver’s New Freedom Park, which was opened in June of this year.
“We were so impressed with the way The Trust for Public Land team engaged and listened to the community,” says Kelly Dunkin, philanthropy director at The Colorado Health Foundation. “The park became the people’s park—everyone involved had a sense of ownership.”
Free Fitness for All
Specified in the grant, The Trust for Public Land will be building a new park and enhancing existing parks to include The Trust for Public Land’s custom-designed “Fitness Zones”—outdoor gyms that are free and open to the public.
“We are trying to reduce obesity in Colorado. Eating healthy is one part of the equation—but places to be active near where people live and work also play an important role,” says Dunkin.
Dunkin was impressed with the success of TPL’s Fitness Zones in California and Florida. At a Fitness Zone in Los Angeles, Dunkin watched people incorporate the workout machines into their time at the park.
“Fitness Zones are basically playground equipment for adults,” she says. “If we can make working out fun and accessible, people will be more physically active—and that’s an important step toward healthy living.”
“The Trust for Public Land helps us provide opportunities for people to be active,” Dunkin continues. “We need nonprofit partners like The Trust for Public Land to achieve our mission of making Colorado the healthiest state.”