By Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County Executive Director Kelly Blandford
As The Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County wraps up an exciting year, we celebrate the growth, achievements, and positive impact that have defined the foundation’s journey over the past year. From free community events including our Meadowbrook Park Festival to collaborative projects with county partners and local organizations, we connected with our community in new ways!
We are charting our course and setting goals to support our parks, facilities, and programs in the most effective way possible. This year the foundation established a strategic plan with renewed focus on land conservation, parks and trails, stewardship of natural resources, and support for our incredible arts and culture programs, including the Johnson County Museum and Theatre in the Park. Through private fundraising efforts, the foundation is able to close funding gaps, accelerate project timelines, add capacity to programs, and bring an added layer of richness to the work JCPRD does.
Here are a few of our 2023 highlights:
- The Foundation was excited to sponsor the Natural Areas Association’s national workshop focused on restoration and stewardship of high-quality natural habitats in urban settings. JCPRD is a leader in this space, and shared knowledge and experience in protecting biodiversity, promoting connections to nature, and creating resilient ecosystems within public parks. Conservation professionals from as far away as Florida and New York visited JCPRD and Kansas City natural areas during the workshop.
- The Foundation was proud to contribute $10,000 in matching funds for the Johnson County Museum’s award-winning exhibit "REDLINED: Cities, Suburbs, and Segregation." The community response to the REDLINED exhibit was astounding, with thousands of people visiting in 2022. We are happy to share that the Johnson County Museum plans to convert the in-person exhibit to a high-quality website that continues the deep-dive into this hard history. Learn more here: Special Exhibit - Redlined: Cities, Suburbs, and Segregation | Johnson County Park & Rec, KS (jcprd.com).
- Thanks to a generous contribution from AT&T to the foundation, JCPRD’s Public Art Program announced the 2024 continuation of the popular Poster Project, which began in 2023. Posters feature JCPRD parks, trails, and facilities using the iconic style of Work Progress Administration (WPA) artists in the 1930s. JCPRD is excited to announce the parks to be featured in 2024 are: Antioch Park, Mill Creek Streamway Park, Ernie Miller Park, and Stilwell Community Park. Explore our public art program here Public Art Program | Johnson County Park & Rec, KS (jcprd.com)
- Support for JCPRD’s 50 Plus New Horizons Band program through the foundation allowed the band to purchase new percussion equipment this year, including a new set of bells. Come see the band in their wonderful holiday performance on Dec. 12 at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center! Concerts | Johnson County Park & Rec, KS (jcprd.com).
The foundation is committed to supporting and improving the quality of JCPRD assets for current and future generations to enjoy. This holiday season, please consider a gift to support your parks and recreation programs. A gift to The Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County is an investment in our amazing parks and public spaces, and in our growing community. The Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit and your gift is completely tax deductible. To donate, visit our website DONATE — Johnson County Parks Foundation (jcprdfoundation.org).