Putting Programs to Work: Our Commitment to Inclusivity & Equity in our Programs

Grant Ausbury 
Education
, All Parks, APF News, Blog Page, Featured Projects (Home Page), Featured Top LPs, Parks, Uncategorized

Our commitment to inclusivity & equity in our programs

Here at Austin Parks Foundation (APF), we're committed to creating thoughtful and inclusive programming. And we strive to infuse equity into every project, in order to intentionally bring Black, Indigenous and People of Color neighbors to the table, and include them in the decision-making process.

We understand no one can be held accountable without making commitments, so we’ve put together our past and future commitments for each of our programs. We invite you to join us as we strive to hold ourselves accountable to ensuring access, transparency and equity within our work in Austin's parks, trails and green spaces.

Building Relationships

Community Outreach

We are committed to building our community of park stakeholders through engagement opportunities that center community organizing and outreach best practices. Our outreach efforts have helped build participation in the Adopt-A-Park Program and have focused on ensuring representation from historically underserved communities.

We have also assisted park adopters in building their own group capacity and leadership through training, outreach assistance and by providing materials to help groups increase visibility in their own neighborhood.

We will continue to work to eliminate barriers by ensuring APF resources (such as grant applications, It's My Park Day information, design services, etc) are available in both Spanish and English, and offer interpretation services as needed.

We have also grown our community engagement efforts as part of our park improvement projects. A robust community engagement plan is now incorporated into our Board and partner-funded projects, and include strategies such as partnering with neighborhood associations, block walking, creating flyers and park signage, posting on social media, and more in advance of every project to ensure that neighbors and neighborhood groups are included in the decision-making process.

Partnerships

We are committed to collaborating with organizations that support BIPOC communities in nature, and seek to amplify their work. We have begun to discuss partnership opportunities with organizations and groups that share our vision for inclusion in the parks and nature space, and will continue this commitment to using our platforms to amplify their voices.

Advocacy

In addition to strengthening our relationships with the communities we serve, we are also creating more opportunities for park advocates from historically marginalized groups to participate in our asks to city council.

We are working to make pre-taped videos, interpretation and translation services more consistently available to advocates. We believe everyone should be able to speak up for their parks, but we recognize that first we must build trust, as well as reliable structures.

Volunteerism

Volunteerism is at the core of APF’s mission, and we believe in empowering BIPOC neighbors to not only become active park volunteers, but also in elevating their parks’ colorful histories.

By holding our first-Saturday workdays at unadopted parks in Districts 1-4, we are working to bring awareness to our Adopt-A-Park program, and its resources, and encouraging neighbors to get to know each other.

Community input has also become a definitive factor in how we choose volunteer projects as we work to build relationships through our Outreach and Community Organizing efforts.

Through It’s My Park Day and private corporate workdays we are supporting neighbors in completing the improvements they wish to see.

Park Education

Parks inequity is, and has been, a problem in Austin, and we feel it's important to hear the stories of those it has affected. Through our new Parks Summit Series, we’ll be learning alongside our community as we focus on equity and inclusion, advocacy, and the work of the City of Austin Equity Office.

We are working to include BIPOC voices in each of our formal sessions as well as supplemental digital events, and are open to any topic suggestions from our community!

Investments

Grants Program

Our ACL Music Festival Grants program offers communities an opportunity to access funding for park improvement projects identified by their neighborhood.

Projects in historically underserved areas are given preference during the selection process, and a flexible matching component allows people to participate, regardless of the fundraising capacity of their community.

We are committed to providing:
  • More transparent communication of application selection criteria and selection processes
  • Increased avenues for help surmounting application barriers, through one-on-one application process consultation with APF staff, assistance with community engagement efforts, and guidance on fundraising approaches.
  • Research best practices of community grant programs nationwide that have successfully benefited BIPOC communities
  • Continue our commitment to conduct outreach to BIPOC communities to inform them of this resource

Park Design Services

Austin Parks Foundation offers access to professional design services, by our in-house landscape architect, to communities who may not have access to this assistance. Our Design Services program exists to help community groups navigate the entire process of making improvements on public lands.

Without access to professional design and planning, parks groups - especially in BIPOC communities - face significant barriers in approval and funding for park projects. APF’s free, professional design services support communities who lack access or funds to hire a professional.

APF also provides project management during the design and construction process to provide technical guidance in order to get the desired improvements across the finish line.

On-site consultations are provided to all groups who apply on a rolling basis while groups applying for detailed park design and park master planning in historically underserved areas are given preference during the selection process.

We are committed to providing:
  • More transparent communication of application selection criteria and selection processes
  • Increased avenues for help surmounting application barriers, through one-on-one application process consultation with APF staff, assistance with community engagement efforts, and guidance on fundraising approaches.
  • Continue our commitment to conduct outreach to BIPOC communities to inform them of this resource

SFA Program

APF’s Sponsored Fund Account program seeks to provide community groups with the benefits of our 501(c)3 status to raise funds for large and small-scale community-initiated park improvements. SFA groups can hold donations from individuals and businesses that are restricted to their neighborhood park, and can participate in Amplify Austin under APF’s umbrella -  offering an opportunity to maximize their fundraising efforts.

We are committed to improving access to this program by:
  • Increasing BIPOC representation among our account holders through a detailed audit of account holder locations
  • Offering assistance to groups that have been unable to participate in the program
  • Determining ways to lower the barrier of entry through analyzing our current fee structure and processes

Past Park Projects

We are fortunate to have partnered with and supported leaders within the BIPOC community who have spearheaded work in parks all over Austin, but especially in historically Black neighborhoods. We are inspired by their efforts, and are more committed than ever to continue investing in these neighborhoods and collaborating with these leaders.

See some of our past projects:
Image

Downs Mabson Baseball Fields

We're proud to have partnered with Six Square and Greater East Austin Youth Association (G.E.A.Y.A.). to preserve the important history of baseball in East Austin. Learn more about this project here.

Image

St. John Park

We worked closely with the St. John Neighborhood Association and residents to transform a closed pool into a wonderful gathering place for residents. Learn more about this project here.

Image

Pastor Edward Clarence Craig Jr. Neighborhood Park

Franklin Park was renamed to honor Pastor Craig, a life-long Austinite and community leader, after he passed away in 2017. Learn more about this project here.

Image

Colony Park District Park

The Colony Park Neighborhood worked hard for decades to get a park for their residents. In 2019, their long-awaited park finally opened. Learn more about this project here.

Image

Rosewood Neighborhood Park

If the shade trees, picnic tables and stone walls could talk, they’d tell a story of community more than 90 years in the making. Learn more about the history of this park here.

Join the conversation!

Get involved and lend your voice. We need our whole community on board if we are going to work to solve the systemic inequities in our parks system.

SUBSCRIBE AND GET INVOLVED TODAY