Friends of Grand Rapids Parks was founded in 2007 to support and enhance Grand Rapid’s parks and urban forest canopy. We continue to exist to leverage volunteer engagement and philanthropic investment with existing city resources to achieve our vision of Grand Rapids as the healthiest, happiest, most shade and tree equitable city in America.
Our vision directly supports the vision for the City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation in creating and supporting a healthy, vibrant community.
Our mission is to provide the best experience in urban forest and park stewardship and activation. When we are successful, the City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation is better able to achieve their mission to provide our community with inspirational experiences through the responsible management and collaborative stewardship of the City’s natural, educational, and cultural resources.
Our major goals through 2027 are that:
1. All 76 park units in Grand Rapids are adopted, activated, and sponsored by the community; meaning maintained at a high standard, habitat restored, and more pollinators and unmanicured spaces planted where appropriate, with people using and enjoying the space.
2. 10,000 new trees planted and 5,000 additional trees planted to grow the urban forest canopy to 30% in every neighborhood and maintain it at 30% or greater throughout the city.
3. Health care, insurance, pharmaceutical, and wellness companies lead all businesses in investing in programming and stewardship of our urban forest canopy and park system that directly and indirectly supports overall individual and community health.
4. People know what recreational opportunities exist and know how to access the different opportunities from the banks of the Grand River to city and county parks.
5. Prioritize the refurbishment and redevelopment of Lodges throughout the system.
These goals support Parks and Recreation’s Major Goals of ensuring:
1. Connected Network-Create a connected network of parks, natural areas, and waterways accessible to the entire Grand Rapids community.
2. Healthy Community-Create programs and projects that support the physical, mental and emotional well-being of community members.
3. Neighborhood Investments-Create diverse experiences by drawing on community feedback, local ecology, and national trends.
4. Sustainable System-Seek innovative solutions to become more financially self-sustainable and diverse funding sources.