On October 25, 1951, the nine founding members of the Spokane Park and Recreational Foundation met to sign the Articles of Incorporation. Within twelve months we had received $2,500 in gifts, held an annual meeting and bought a book for Board minutes.
That might seem like a slow year, but if you look at the scope of the task, you will understand that while the deliverables may have been few, these volunteers were creating something out of nothing. Prior to the Foundation, no channels had existed for structured gifts that supported the park and recreation system. In fact, few park foundations even existed at all, so the group was building from scratch and with few examples to follow. (Both the Portland and Seattle Park Foundations wouldn't be created until almost 50 years later.)
From the beginning, the Foundation didn't just raise money for parks - we raised friends and awareness. In 1957, the Foundation be
gan to advocate for a downtown park, though at the time it was envisioned as far smaller than was made possible thanks to Expo '74.
In 1986 the Foundation expanded our scope from serving just City of Spokane parks, to any park in Spokane County - making us unique among park foundations, which usually just serve one municipality.
Today, the Foundation serves over 223 public spaces, runs the county-wide Make A Splash In A Kid's Life program, partners with ten distinct park departments, serves as administrator for seven grassroots parks groups and advocates for parks throughout the community.
In all, we have invested $3,512,782.44 into parks and recreation over the last 65 years. We may have started slow, but once we got going, we made things happen.
Happy birthday to us!