The W. Garfield Weston Foundation will commit up to $5 million in aggregate over the next three years to fund innovative new park initiatives across the City of Toronto. Working in partnership with Toronto Park People, Toronto’s nonprofit catalyst for better parks, the Weston Family Parks Challenge will support projects that spark new ways to operate parks and engage the public with community and nature.
“This is a landmark private donation for parks in Toronto,” said Toronto Park People Director Dave Harvey. “The scale and scope of this initiative has the potential to change the way we see parks in Toronto. Parks are for everyone and this will bring in new ideas and new resources to help make urban parks the best they can be.”
A call for proposals is issued today with a first-round deadline of April 5.
Successful proposals will enhance Toronto’s greenspaces and build innovative partnership models for parks. Ultimately, winning projects will lead to new ways for parks to engage the community, connect with nature, bring-in volunteers, new sources of funding and non-traditional approaches to park programming and maintenance.
Eligible applicants will include registered charities and community agencies, working in partnership with the City of Toronto, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, the private sector and/or business communities.
“Great parks are essential to Toronto’s health and vitality,” said Camilla Dalglish, Chair of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation’s Conservation Committee. “For many people living in Toronto, urban parks are their only connection to nature, providing a break from busy lives. It is our hope that projects funded within the program will be an inspiration for urban park development and improvement across Canada.”
Experience elsewhere shows that great parks are the result of strong partnerships: the city, community volunteers, foundations, private and corporate support. “This initiative,” added Harvey, “Will provide a pathway forward for a new era of partnerships and engagement in city parks.”
For further information, download the program guidelines at www.parkpeople.ca.