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June 25, Wednesday, 5:30 pm. Friends of the Parks has a seminar on how to use TIF funds for improvements in parks. 17 N. State St. Ste. 1450.
Cautious as parks supporters and councils are at the idea that communities should be bringing resources to do things in the parks, supported by our tax dollars, it's a fact of life. As inequitable as the process inevitably is, it can give communities (especially those living within 3 blocks or so of a park's boundary) an enlarged and less dependent role in getting what they need in their parks and in countering the growing push for central, bureaucratic control of parks. It is essential to focus on what is truly wanted, and to know the difference between a need and a want. This does not mean one should take "no" and "no money" for an answer when it comes to basic and safety maintenance and service, but parks groups can be inventive and creative. Do bear in mind that the park district is in law the owner and responsible, including in issues of liability.
At a fundraising seminar January 29, 2005, advisory councils learned that it is necessary that councils that have identified projects and intend to do fundraising in the year turn in a Letter of Intent (sample available) to Robert Steele, Community Outreach Manager, to start the process. Managing the process is the Intergovernmental Community Affairs (IGA) Office under Director of Intergovernmental and Community Affairs Judy Martinez. Real efforts are being made to coordinate planning and asking and to avoid duplication.
The main fundraising arm of the Park District is the Parkways Foundation. 312 743-4808. 541 N. Fairbanks Suite 850, 60611. Caution- they require annual contribution of $100 a year and interest accrued in an account kept by them is theirs.
From the February 2005 JPAC Newsletter:
Park district staff gave the procedure and gave advice for those who wish to raise money for facilities or projects in their park, so as to maximize effectiveness and communication and avoid duplication.... Several council presidents describe how their councils realized dreams for their parks. The large number of attendees from park councils citywide asked savvy questions of the panel of department heads and made it clear that since community fundraising is to be a fact of life, park advocates will hold Chicago Park District to standards for basic facilities and maintenance. All need o make clear distinctions between "needs" and "wants."
Sample Letter of Intent
Robert Steele [successor Erik Varela]
Community Outreach Manager
541 N. Fairbanks
Chicago, IL 60611
The [ABC Advisory Council] has decided to embark upon a [renovation project] at [ABC Park]. In our [date] meeting, it was voted upon by the entire council to support this [project] . A copy of those minutes is provided for your record.
We have met with [ ], park supervisor at [park] to review this proposed project and requests the support of the Intergovernmental Community Affairs office to move this request to the next stage.
We do understand the cost of this project will require [the council] to fundraise and provide a substantial portion of the resources needed for this project. We are requesting a meeting with your office to review his project and make contact with the necessary personal at the Chicago Park District to begin the evaluation and planning process.
Please contact [ ] [at] to arrange this important meeting with your office.
We've just heard about this. You can inquire at Friends of the Parks--www.fotp.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. 312 857-2757. Or email@example.com.
Donors Forum. www.donorsforum.org
Philanthropy Center of Chicago. www.cod.edu/library/philanthropy/center, www.library.prairiestate.edu
Heartland Institute. www.Heartland.org
Local Initiatives Support Center. www.lisc.org
Chicago McCormick Tribune Foundation. www.mccormicktribune.org
Sara Lee Foundation. www.saraleefoundation.org