65 years of protecting parks and inspiring the community

Day 65

October 25, 2016

65 years ago today, the Spokane Parks Foundation was begun. We hope that you've enjoyed the count-down to this day, and that you will join us as we begin working toward our next milestone.


Strong parks. Strong communities.

Please join us today.


Day 64

October 24, 2016

And the moment we've all been waiting for....the grand total of financial contributions from the Spokane Parks Foundation to our community over the past 65 years. Drum roll please....


Not bad for a little organization!


Day 63

October 23, 2016

We may have had 111 Board members, but the Foundation has only employed 8 regular staff. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 62

October 22, 2016

In the last 65 years, the Foundation has had 111 Board members. these volunteers have given over their time and talent to ensure that the Parks Foundation carried out its mission and put donors' gifts to work. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 61

October 21, 2016

We've been sharing our community investment in various aspects of parks and recreation for the past week. But we've saved the biggest for last. Since Oct 25, 1951 the Spokane Parks Foundation has invested a whopping $1,316,149.86 in parks. These funds have been used to buy new park land, build structures, install picnic tables and benches, expand scope and make the parks as attractive and useful as possible. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 60

October 20, 2016

Since almost the very beginning of the Spokane Parks Foundation, we have been funding recreation programs in order to help keep the price of entry as low as possible. Unfortunately, little record has been left of exactly how much support we provided...just offhand mentions in the Board minutes about how the "scholarship fund has been used quite a lot this year". But from the amounts that were noted, we can see that the Foundation has funded at least $145,189.99 in recreation. That number may well be far higher, but we're still proud of what can definitively point to! #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 59

October 19, 2016

Community groups are key to keeping our parks and recreation systems so successful. These groups host events, run recreation programs, plan races and keep people coming to the parks. Over the years the Foundation has supported community groups with a total of $79,189.99. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 58

October 18, 2016

Originally, our mission allowed us to fund only parks - not the community centers that host so many recreation programs run by park and recreation departments. We made our first grant to a community center in 1972, with a gift of $5,000 to repairs to Sinto Senior Center. Since then, we've invested a total of $297,546.54 in community centers' physical structures. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 57

October 17, 2016

Playgrounds are the heart of many parks. Since 1951, the Foundation has funded playgrounds to the tune of $143,220.21 in parks all over Spokane County. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 56

October 16, 2016

One of our best-known programs is Make A Splash In A Kid's Life. Lesser known is the fact that the Parks Foundation has been funding swimming lessons for kids for decades and providing swimsuits since the early 2000's. The pool passes (which is what the program is mostly known for) only began in 2007. This year alone, we gave out 1,390 pool passes - making 13,036 swims possible. We also handed out 402 swimsuits and funded 402 swimming lessons. And in a new part of the program, we hosted 1,871 swimmers during our Free Swim Fridays! #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 55

October 15, 2016

What would our region be without the many fairs, festivals and community gatherings? Over the past six decades, we have given $139,867 to keep community celebrations vibrant and engaging. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 54

October 14, 2016

Many parks are home to ball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts and other sport-related fields. The Parks Foundation is proud to have invested $435,790.65 in backstops, hoops, asphalt resurfacing, land purchases, goals and other permanent structures needed to keep our community active and healthy. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 53

October 13, 2016

We do love our pools here in Spokane County. All told, the Foundation has awarded $293,738.57 to keeping our pools open and functioning. This total does not include the money we've put toward pool passes, swim suits or swimming lessons, but rather has paid for water slides, complete overhauls of pools and other capital projects. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 52

October 12, 2016

The Spokane Parks Foundation began to advocate for a downtown park in May 1957, suggesting that Crystal Island would be a prime location. After Riverfront Park was finally created, the Parks Foundation began investing a total of $519,597.83 into the park that has become the heart of downtown Spokane. #65yearsofspokaneparks


(Fun fact: Crystal Island was first known as Cannon Island, then Crystal Island after Crystal Laundry and Water Works that occupied much of the island. Then during Expo '74 it was renamed Canada Island and will soon be renamed again to honor the community's original inhabitants.)

Day 51

January 01, 2020

Over the past 65 years, we have invested $86,256.83 in public golf courses. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 50

October 10, 2016

By 1997, the Parks Foundation was supporting swimming lessons to the tune of $10,000 a year. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 49

October 09, 2016

In keeping with our intent to fund recreational activities, the Foundation granted $5,000 to the Libby Teen Center in 1997 to fund their programs. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 48

October 08, 2016

The 1994 Winter Lights, sponsored by the Spokane Parks Foundation, brought in $65,513.02. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 47

October 07, 2016

In the fall of 1994 we awarded $55,000 for a new Franklin Park Picnic Shelter and renovations at the Manito Park restrooms. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 46

October 06, 2016

In January 1993 we purchased the lot adjacent to Lincoln Park and donated the land to the City to expand the park. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 45

October 05, 2016

The Foundation had been awarding grants for almost 40 years when we started using a standard form for all of the grant requests coming in. #65yearsspokaneparks

Day 44

October 04, 2016

We challenged the community to move the South Hill Senior Center (now known as the Spokane Southside Senior & Community Center) with a $10,000 matching grant in late 1989. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 43

October 03, 2016

We were also early supporters of The Friends of Manito (originally the Friends of Manito Park) and acted as their fiscal sponsor while they got started! This appears to be the first time that we acted in that capacity for any group, but we continue to act as fiscal sponsor for park-related projects and groups today! #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 42

October 02, 2016

Another interesting point from our archives....in May 1989 we bought the Casket Company building in Peaceful Valley and donated it to the City for the Peaceful Valley Community Center. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 41

October 01, 2016

We were early believers in the Centennial Trail, providing $2,000 to the Spokane Valley Chamber in October 1987. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 40

September 30, 2016

The Parks Foundation didn't have a formal staff member until late 1986. Since that time we've only had four executive directors and a total of about fifteen staff members, including work study! #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 39

September 29, 2016

While we were first founded to support City of Spokane parks, in September 1986 the Board voted to expand our scope to include all parks within Spokane County. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 38

September 28, 2016

Here's an interesting tidbit from the archives! At the July 1985 Board meeting, the City Parks Dept reported that they had indeed ordered the Alfred Olmstead circus tent. No mention of how much that cost or where it was located...anybody out there remember Spokane having a circus tent and where it was? #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 37

September 27, 2016

In the past, we have not just awarded grants, but also provided loans to help projects get started while waiting for the funds to come in. In the spring of 1985 we loaned the Youth Athletic Association $30,000 for the creation of the South Hill Athletic Complex. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 36

September 26, 2016

The Spokane Parks Foundation had been known first as the Spokane Park and Recreational Foundation, then as the Spokane Parks and Recreation Foundation. We settled on the current name in April 1984. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 35

September 25, 2016

When the Joy of Running Together was just a twinkle in the artist's eye, the Parks Foundation established a special fund to collect and process donations from the community. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 34

September 24, 2016

Witter Pool needed refurbishment by 1983, so the Foundation invested $15,000 to help restore it to its former glory. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 33

September 23, 2016

Helping golfers play the back 9, the Foundation helped pay for the Indian Canyon restroom. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 32

September 22, 2016

Still new at the whole fundraising thing, the Parks Foundation didn't host a donor thank you event until May 1979. (15 years after making that important first ask...) #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 31

September 21, 2016

4 years after Expo '74 we helped to fund the Wenger Show Wagon with a $10,000 grant. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 30

September 20, 2016

Its not the most amazing item...but it would be far more difficult to play baseball at Shadle and Chief Garry Parks without the backstops and wing fences that the Foundation paid for in 1977. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 29

September 19, 2016

We funded the installation of the Dutch Jake's play equipment in April 1977. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 28

September 18, 2016

By 1974, lots of park playgrounds needed overhauls - $21,660 was put to good use to keep them all functional! #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 27

September 14, 2016

As the tennis season started in 1972, the Parks Foundation awarded $3,600 to the Comstock tennis courts. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 26

September 16, 2016

The Under the Freeway Park used to have tennis and basketball courts - both of which were partially built thanks to a grant of $1,400 from the Foundation. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 25

September 15, 2016

The Manito Greenhouse (not yet renamed) needed major work, so in 1973, we gave $80,000 for updates. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 24

September 17, 2016

In 1973, both Franklin and Manito park playgrounds needed work. A grant of $21,000 helped out! #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 23

September 13, 2016

The Spokane Parks Foundation invested $30,000 in the Finch Arboretum building. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 22

September 12, 2016

Over the course of 1969 and 1970, we invested $30,000 in the Rochester Heights playground. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 21

September 11, 2016

In 1970, we paid $130,000 to replace the Comstock pool. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 20

September 10, 2016

As 1968 ended, we granted $1,250 for the Hamblen Park playground. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 19

September 09, 2016

In April 1968, the Parks Foundation awarded $3,000 to Franklin Park for a baseball diamond and lighting. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 18

September 08, 2016

In April 1967, the Parks Foundation gave $15,000 to build the Japanese Garden pond. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 17

September 07, 2016

We partnered with the Athletic Round Table to raise funds to build and equip the Esmerelda Golf Course Clubhouse. The project started in 1954 and ended when the course and clubhouse opened in 1956! #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 16

September 06, 2016

The Spokane Parks Foundation - celebrating 3-day weekends for 64.863 years. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 15

September 05, 2016

We paid $1,000 for a wading pool at the Audubon Park tot lot in the spring of 1967. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 14

September 04, 2016

In late 1964, the Foundation gave $389.89 for wading pools at Liberty Park. The next spring they funded the wading pool buildings for an unspecified amount. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 13

September 03, 2016

The Foundation didn't start asking for financial support from the public until 1964. Prior to that, the income had been primarily from memorial gifts. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 12

September 02, 2016

In April 1962, the Foundation matched a $700 gift from the Audubon Playground Improvement Association to build a tot lot in Audubon Park. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 11

September 01, 2016

Herb Hamblen became a Parks Foundation Board member on April 28, 1959 and stayed until December 1993. If you're counting - that is 33 years and 4 months of service to parks! #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 10

August 31, 2016

Did you know that at its biggest, the Parks Foundation employed three employees - none of whom were fulltime - while investing $100,000 each year in parks? #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 9

August 30, 2016

The Spokane Parks Foundation started funding swim lessons in the early 1990's and has ensured that kids can learn to swim each summer ever since! #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 8

August 29, 2016

The Spokane Parks Foundation's Board started advocating for a downtown park in 1954. It only took 20 years to bring it to life! #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 7

August 28, 2016

In the spring of 1954, the Foundation - then known as the Spokane Park and Recreational Foundation also created our first logo, with a theme that continues today! #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 6

August 27, 2016

The first expense the Foundation had in support of parks and recreation was a piano rug for the piano at Corbin House, as stipulated by a donor. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 5

August 26, 2016

The Parks Foundation Board, though a separate entity from the City, was nevertheless appointed by the City of Spokane Park Board until the early 2000's, when the Foundation became fully independent of the City, though remaining committed to funding and supporting City parks. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 4

August 25, 2016

The Spokane Parks Foundation's first expense was $5.85 for a book to keep the official minutes of the Board. It is a nice ledger! #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 3

August 24, 2016

We received founding gifts totalling $2,500 in April 1952. And so it all began... #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 2

August 23, 2016

On October 25, 1951, the Foundation was officially formed, with the ratification of the Articles of Incorporation. The first vote? To postpone the first meeting of the Board until after the New Year. #65yearsofspokaneparks

Day 1

August 22, 2016

65 days until we celebrate our 65th birthday. Until then we'll post daily fun & facts about the Foundation - keep watching! #65yearsofspokaneparks

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