TPL & MetLife Foundation Team Up for Parks in NYC, San Francisco, Atlanta

San Francisco, CA, 11/19/2008: Today, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced a $500,000 grant from MetLife Foundation, expanding the MetLife Foundation Parks & Playgrounds Fund to $3.1 million.

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.

“At a time when childhood obesity and diabetes are on the rise and health professionals nationwide are urging children and adults alike to be more active, these new community parks will provide much-needed opportunities for exercise,” said TPL president, Will Rogers.

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

  • New York City – P.S. 19 (Corona, Queens), P.S. 41 (New Dorp, Staten Island) and P.S./M.S. 394 (Crown Heights, Brooklyn). 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. PS 41 will be TPL’s first project in the borough of Staten Island.
  • 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.

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.”

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