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BROOKLYN, NY- Photos from the New York Trust for Public Land playground opening ceremony at PS 156 Waverly and LS 392 on September 20, 2019.

Become a partner for equitable communities

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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.

The Trust for Public Land believes 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.

Future site of Urban OrchardThe site of the future Urban Orchard in South Gate, California.Photo credit: The Trust for Public Land

Having access to a park should be a right, not a privilege. With partners across the country, The Trust for Public Land is 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.

Comments

David Bergmann
This is a great concept. I support TPL, in part, because of your inner city parks programs. I cannot be a partner in this program, but would be excited to contribute if that opportunity is available.
Beverly Dorn
My garden club has adopted a project at Pendleton King Park, a 64-acre bird sanctuary in a historic area of Augusta, GA. We have scheduled four workdays next month with help from two youth organizations: Boys With a Future, a project of Good Neighbor Ministries in Harrisburg, one of our historic yet underprivileged neighborhoods, and the Youth Group at The Church of the Good Shepherd, which is located in the Summerville section, an affluent area of historical homes. The local Disc Golf Association will provide recreation for the young people, after they've completed their gardening assistance and enjoyed a picnic lunch. This diversity initiative could become a model for other communities across America, with support from local organizations and the National Disc Golf Association, which is headquartered here in Augusta. While our project doesn't create new parks and open spaces, we hope that you'll consider helping us to preserve, restore and promote this historical park among the nearby marginalized communities.

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