WHAT IS A “PARK PARTNER”?
50 companies will proudly join the 50/50 initiative as Park Partners. Park Partners make a financial commitment in addition to building long-term relationships within the community, meaningful employee engagement opportunities, and intentional investments in park activations that get people outside. Park Partners join a coalition of businesses driving positive social, environmental, and economic change in Houston’s neighborhoods.
HOW DOES 50/50 PARK PARTNERS MAKE AN IMPACT?
50/50 Park Partner initiative is an investment in neighborhood parks with the greatest needs across the city of Houston. Houston Parks Board, Houston Parks & Recreation Department, Greater Houston Partnership, and Office of the Mayor are partnering with private organizations and engaging communities to create thriving public places. Through this innovative approach we are committed to improving local parks that have not seen significant capital investment in a generation. Park improvements will be supported by building better partnerships with communities, growing the capacity of local groups to care for and better use their parks.
WHY DO WE NEED PRIVATE INVESTMENT IN PUBLIC SPACE?
In many cities public funding for building and maintaining parks is inadequate, leaving places like Houston to look for innovative ways to ‘close the gap’ between current budgets and tomorrow’s potential. The 50/50 Park Partner initiative is creating a public/private collaboration with a coalition of 50 businesses to help uplift and realize the potential of neighborhood parks across the city.
The 50/50 framework will strategically allocate resources from private / public resources through a singular fund, ensuring investment is equitably apportioned to align with greatest need.
CAN A NON-PROFIT OR COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION SUPPORT 50/50?
50/50 Park Partners aims to build long-term connections between Houston’s companies and Houston’s communities. While non-profit organizations might not be able to join through a financial contribution, these organizations can connect to 50/50 Park Partners in other capacities. Their strengths may lie in their ability to convene their neighbors, host park programs, or donate their services as part of a project. Adding the support of non-profit organizations further maximizes the impact of 50/50 Park Partners and draws further connection points within the neighborhoods themselves.
WHAT IS A NEIGHBORHOOD PARK?
Classifications within the HPARD system are assigned based on size and/or type of park in the Parks Master Plan (2015). Neighborhood Parks are between 1 and 15 acres.
WHY NEIGHBORHOOD PARKS?
Our city ranked well for our outdoor spaces in a recent national study. However, a lot of our national acclaim comes because of our great signature parks. We are rightly proud of them, but Houston is not a city to rest on its laurels as we must also lift up those spaces that are at the heart of our communities throughout the city—our neighborhood parks.
It is our neighborhood parks that play a crucial role in our quality of life, because they improve the health of families and youth, provide a natural space for heightened cultural awareness and exchange, make our city more beautiful, and contribute to our economic development, environmental well-being and resiliency.
HOW WERE THE NEIGHBORHOOD PARKS SELECTED?
Houston is home to more than 180 neighborhood parks. Neighborhood parks most in need were identified through a detailed assessment process.
The criteria used evaluated the overarching condition of each neighborhood park, including safety, amenities, green space condition, and accessibility, alongside population and equity metrics for those Houstonians living within a 10-minute walk of each park.
HOW AND WHEN WILL THE FUNDING BE DISTRIBUTED?
The 50/50 Park Partners initiative pools financial contributions to enable an equitable distribution of funds. This unique and innovative initiative is structured to funnel public and private funding in a way that is responsive to the community and uplifts all 50 parks.
Community engagement is one of the three founding principles of 50/50 Park Partners. Improvements, projects, and volunteer support will be aligned with community needs. Deep community engagement is at the heart of the 50/50 decision-making process, along with consultation with Houston’s Complete Communities Action Plans, ongoing HPB community input, and the initial HPARD park condition assessment. Relationship-building and community-input will continue throughout the 3 year initiative.
Once park priorities are determined, Houston Parks Board will lead the project management phase, working closely with HPARD.
WHAT PARK IMPROVEMENTS FALL UNDER THE 50/50 PARK PARTNERS INITIATIVE?
Projects may include playgrounds, lighting, drainage improvements, trails, and park amenities. Improvements will not be made to existing park facilities such as community centers or aquatic center. Communities can take pride in a park that is well-cared for. That’s why, in addition to any capital investment, this program will seek to bring small physical improvements that offer a large impact on the neighborhood. Example projects may include repainting and repairing play equipment; resurfacing ball courts and play areas; repairing benches, fences and other features; and making parks greener with more plantings, trees and restored lawns.
HOW WILL A PARK PARTNER BE PAIRED WITH A PARK?
The 50/50 framework provides an opportunity for Park Partners to make a city-wide impact while establishing a close relationship with a park and its community.
Park Partners are paired with a neighborhood park through a highly personalized process that considers both the community and the company. These connections are drawn after careful analysis of existing relationships, company initiatives, and community needs. Park Partners get involved through volunteering, leadership development, and community engagement in the neighborhood of the paired park.
The initiative is founded on long-term sustainable impact through relationship-building between communities and corporate partners. Park Partners may select a park for employee engagement events where a relationship exists or is desired. Priority selection will be given to Founding Partners followed by Visionary then Collaborative Park Partners.
IN WHAT WAYS CAN I GET MY EMPLOYEES INVOLVED?
50/50 Park Partners provides meaningful opportunities for an organization and its employees to make a tangible, sustainable difference on a large scale. Employees will tackle park improvement projects like planting trees, building nature trails, or refurbishing existing facilities.
Park Partners may also participate in the opportunity to developing leaders and stewardship groups. We empower Park Partner employees to share their knowledge and experience to help communities to mobilize stewardship groups. Skills-based volunteers will help build capacity of community leaders as they turn their park vision into reality, support community outreach, and continue to improve their park and community.
WHY IS THE COMMITMENT THREE YEARS?
50/50 Park Partners is guided by principles of park equity, community engagement, and sustainable impact. We require a long-term commitment because it is the only way to accomplish high-impact, community-led improvements in the community.
TO DISCUSS WHETHER THIS INITIATIVE IS THE RIGHT FIT FOR MY COMPANY, WHO CAN I CONTACT TO LEARN MORE?
Please inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time.