Become a partner for equitable communities
COVID-19 has proven the importance of quality parks and open spaces to our quality of life. But 100 million people, including 28 million kids, don’t have a park within a 10-minute walk of home. What’s more, parks that serve primarily people of color are half as large and serve nearly five times more people than parks in majority white neighborhoods. Communities around the country are working hard to fix this, but COVID-19 has slowed their efforts.
We believe that when there is equal access to nature, communities nationwide will be stronger, healthier, more livable, and more connected. Right now, we are raising philanthropic support for the new Equitable Communities Fund to energize and accelerate the efforts of historically marginalized communities to create parks and open space.
We’ve already identified 62 communities where this funding could be put to work immediately. One such place is South Gate—a majority-Latino city of 100,000 in Los Angeles County. Today much of South Gate is a landscape of concrete, power lines, and industrial development, bisected by the I-710 Long Beach Freeway. Residents contend with some of the state’s highest levels of environmental pollution and social vulnerability and worst air quality—the legacy of decades of racist zoning policies. And throughout most of the community, there are zero acres of open space per thousand residents. South Gate residents need more parks that don’t require loading the kids in a car or a bus and sitting in L.A. traffic to get to.
So we’re engaging South Gate residents to envision and create the Urban Orchard. This extraordinary open space along the L.A. River will include paths for walking and biking, outdoor fitness equipment, a nature-based playground, 300 fruit trees, and a one-acre wetland with native plants and fish that will double as a natural stormwater filter. To create this much-needed place, we’re working alongside a local partner that recruits and trains vulnerable youth for good-paying jobs in construction and maintenance.
Having access to a park should be a right, not a privilege. With partners across the country, we are creating new parks in the communities of greatest need. In our most recent Park Bench Chat, we heard from our trusted partners at The VF Foundation, Boeing, and the Council on American Immigration about what committing to parks and open space means for their brands, employees, and missions. Watch the conversation here, and visit tpl.org/equitable-communities-fund to learn more about partnership opportunities through the Equitable Communities Fund.
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