TPL & MetLife Foundation Team Up for NYC Parks

New York, NY, 11/19/2008: Today, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced that three New York City schoolyards will be transformed into vibrant community playgrounds thanks to a $500,000 nationwide grant from MetLife Foundation, expanding the MetLife Foundation Parks & Playgrounds Fund to $3.1 million.

The three New York City Schools that will get new playgrounds are P.S. 19 (Corona, Queens), P.S./M.S. 394 (Crown Heights, Brooklyn), and P.S. 41 (New Dorp, Staten Island), the group’s first Staten Island playground. TPL is working with the students, teachers, school administration, and community members at the schools to transform their schoolyards, which are currently asphalt lots with nearly no recreational offerings. The park projects will be developed under TPL’s commitment to Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030 initiative.

The MetLife Foundation Parks & Playgrounds Fund was established in 2004 to support TPL’s Parks for People Initiative, which is working to ensure that everyone- in particular every child-enjoys close-to-home access to a park, playground, or natural area. MetLife Foundation’s renewed leadership support will help TPL bring new parks to underserved urban neighborhoods in New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta.

“These new community parks will provide much-needed opportunities for healthy and active exercise and activities for children and families. It is more important than ever to install healthy habits among today’s youth, especially given the epidemics of childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes,” said TPL President Will Rogers.

The other cities and parks benefiting from expansion of the MetLife Foundation Parks & Playgrounds Fund are:

  • San Francisco – Hayes Valley Playground. This half-acre inner-city playground and recreation center will be completely renovated with support from San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department. Located in a neighborhood with no functioning community centers, the community is leading the design to help ensure that improvements reflect the local neighborhood’s interests and character. The project is one of three to be revitalized in three years as part of TPL’s multi-million dollar Parks for People-San Francisco Initiative.
  • Atlanta – Cleopas Johnson Park. Recently damaged from a fire, this park will benefit from community-designed improvements to make it a safer, more engaging recreational space for the Castleberry Hill neighborhood. Through the Parks for People-Atlanta Initiative, TPL has helped create 563 acres of new parkland in the City of Atlanta and DeKalb County since 1982.

“MetLife Foundation shares TPL’s commitment to making urban neighborhoods more livable through creation of parks and playgrounds,” said Sibyl Jacobson, president of MetLife Foundation. “We are pleased to expand our partnership with TPL in bringing these vital resources to the urban youth and neighborhoods that need them most.”

MetLife Foundation has contributed $3.1 million to assist TPL with creation of almost 40 parks and playgrounds in nine cities nationwide.

The site is to be built by The Trust for Public Land as part of their citywide partnership with the City of New York under the PlaNYC 2030 initiative to transform schoolyards to playgrounds. The initiative will ultimately impact 290 schoolyards throughout the city. To date, The Trust for Public Land has built 31 playgrounds in New York City and another seven in Newark, NJ.

Neighborhood parks and open spaces not only improve physical and psychological health, but also strengthen communities and make cities and neighborhoods more attractive places to live and work. TPL’s Parks for People Initiative is revitalizing the city parks movement, and building partnerships among community groups, government agencies, and residents through creation of parks, play fields, playgrounds, and gardens, often on the site of vacant lots and abandoned buildings.

“With 80 percent of Americans living in cities, and as many as three in four residents without access to a park, the need is great for support to create new parks,” said Rogers. “This grant from MetLife Foundation is a welcome and exciting evolution of our long and successful partnership since 1986, again demonstrating their ongoing commitment to and passion for livable cities.”

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has conserved more than 2.5 million acres of land nationwide. TPL depends on the support of individuals, corporations, and foundations.

MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 by MetLife to carry on its longstanding tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Grants support education, health, civic, and cultural programs. For more information about the Foundation, visit