Year in Review: 2021 Mission Moments

This year a lot has been happening in Cincinnati Parks across the city. From free community wellness events to ribbon cuttings on new expansions, the bustle of activity has kept pace all year. Aside from the AMAZING team of hard-working individuals at the Cincinnati Park Board, our team has played a major role in the conservation, activation, and enhancement of Parks across the 5,000-acre systemand we were busy in 2021.

Raising funds on behalf of Parks, we have a dedicated team of just seven individuals, a 41 person Board of Directors and the support of thousands of park advocates. Working from a multi-year strategic plan, we operate independently from the Cincinnati Park Board, while supporting their shared goals and priority projects.

In 2021, we fundraised nearly $4 million dollars to support conservation projects, programming for Parks, and capital improvements! Here is a look at a few of our accomplishments in the past year.

Activating Cincinnati Parks with free programming

Kids with Ezz Fest bags
Children enjoying Ezz Fest activities in Laurel Park. Photo by Joe Simon.

Well-programmed parks bring many health and wellbeing benefits to local residents. CPF has made activating Cincinnati Parks one of our core pillars by supporting programs that engage the community and get people involved in their shared greenspaces.

Over the last year, CPF invested heavily into supporting programming within Cincinnati Parks. That investment with partners like Price Hill Will and World Peace Yoga brought over 200 free wellness classes to Cincinnati Parks across the city from Olden View Park to Burnet Woods. These programs ranged from beginner yoga to Spanish-language Zumba.

CPF also intentionally invested in programming geared specifically for those with disabilities. Our new Everybody in Mt Airy program in partnership with Luke5Adventures and Cincinnati Parks created 54 different opportunities for people of all ages and ability to get out and hike on trails that might be otherwise impossible for them. Plus our award-winning be.well partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital created 6 seasonal programs for children with disabilities to get active within Cincinnati Parks.

Focusing on conservation efforts in Cincinnati

Cincinnati Parks Foundtion helping to plant trees in the parks
MadTree Brewing volunteers joined Cincinnati Parks, Groundwork ORV, and Cincinnati Parks Foundation at a tree planting in Inwood Park.

Cincinnati Parks Foundation has been committed to supporting conservation efforts within the municipality for nearly three decades. With the help of private citizens and corporate sponsors, CPF enriches the City’s urban parks and public programs. We’ve made conservation a core pillar of our mission work.

In 2021, CPF was able to support the planting nearly 2,000 trees throughout the city. Thanks to a sponsorship from MadTree Brewing, Macy’s, and CPF, the Cincinnati Parks’ Fall Releaf program distributed over 1,700 trees to Cincinnati homeowners for free. Additionally, we partnered with Madtree Brewing to plant 40 more trees in Inwood Park and with LifeCenter Organ Donor Network to plant 40 trees in Mt. Echo Park.

Trees within parks and the city combat the negative effects of climate change by absorbing CO2 and providing shade. Urban trees can cool a city by up to 10°F. Greenspaces also help to remove environmental pollutants, purify the air, manage stormwater runoff, and more.

Supporting improvements in Parks across the city

An aerial view of a sandy park
View of the new Tom Jones Commons in Eden Park, made possible by donor Tom Jones and collaboration between the Cincinnati Parks Foundation and Cincinnati Parks.

Another focus of the Cincinnati Parks Foundation is to enhance and improve the many capital assets that exist across the Cincinnati Parks system. Through our own investments and through the generosity of private and corporate donors, CPF was able to support various improvements, repairs, and expansions this past year. Three major additions that CPF helped to bring to Cincinnati Parks this year were the new Tom Jones Commons in Eden Park, Phase 1 of the Smale Expansion at Smale Riverfront Park, and the new PNC Grow Up Great Playground in Inwood Park.

Thanks to the generous gift from donor Tom Jones, a once empty 3.5-acre area located south of Mirror Lake has been transformed into an exciting gathering space featuring a natural playscape, a new picnic shelter, a walking path, and much more. The development was planned using inspiration from Cincinnati Parks 2007 Master Plan.

Revitalizing pavement into a beautiful event lawn with gardens, pergolas, and tree groves alongside the Andrew J. Brady Music Center, the Smale Expansion is the next step to completing the John G. & Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park in its entirety. This year, CPF worked feverishly to help make this beautiful new expansion a reality. In the spring, CPF joined community partners The State of Ohio, The City of Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Cincinnati Parks, MEMI, The Banks Partnership, the Smale Advisory Committee, and private donors in cutting the ribbon on Phase One of the project.

Inwood Park saw the addition of the new wonderland-like PNC Grow Up Great playground this year. This award-winning and fully accessible new playground was made possible by PNC Bank and replaced a 20-year old playground. It is the largest play area in any Cincinnati Park. Designed with the help of local schoolchildren, Inclusion and Accessibility experts from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and the Mt. Auburn Community Development Corporation, it is a shining example of community engagement.

Get involved with the Cincinnati Parks Foundation

It is the support of generous park advocates in the community who make our work possible. When you make a tax-deductible gift to the Cincinnati Parks Foundation, you are making an impact now and for generations to come.

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