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Heritage

The Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit, and traces its roots back to 1981, and is the product of a merger of two great organizations: Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation and the Oakland Parks Coalition.

Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation was founded in 1981 by Anne Woodell and a group of committed citizens (pictured right) to help Oakland’s park system develop new parks, and renovate tot lots, playing fields and recreation centers. Friends has raised millions of dollars to maintain and champion our the parks through partnerships between city government, park users and beneficiaries, and local business and community organizations.

In 2002, a group of citizens concerned about declining conditions in Oakland parks and park programming met to create a blueprint for the formation of a new organization that would tackle the emerging issues around parks, address them through community outreach and advocate for changes in the governing system that would help to resolve them. That organization, Oakland Parks Coalition, was ably led by Landscape architect Gillian Garro and then former Superintendent of Recreation and Parks in San Francisco, Audree Jones-Taylor, for the next 3 years while the organization found its bearings.

Since 2006, when OPC reorganized and redefined its mission to be an advocate for improved standards of performance of maintenance in City parks and green spaces, it has supported its cadre of park stewards, conducted the annual park survey, published the annual parks report and urged city agencies to fund for increased maintenance resources.

The two groups merged in November 2014, and changed the organization’s name to the Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation, with a new mission to provide financial and volunteer resources, and advocacy for Recreation programs and Parks in Oakland.