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Washington Parks & People

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Community & Neighborhood Development, Economic Development, Environment, Parks & Playgrounds, Performing Arts Centers

Mission: Washington Parks & People began in 1990 as Friends Of Meridian Hill -- a community partnership to reclaim D.C.''s most violent park. Today crime in that park is down over 98% and Meridian Hill is just one part of a broad grassroots alliance. WPP works to leverage the capital''s two greatest but most forgotten assets -- its vast network of public lands and its innovative grassroots leaders -- to advance the entire region.WPP''s goal is to make parks across underserved parts of Washington into safe, healthy centers of environment, education, economic investment, arts, culture, and community as they were meant to be-- vibrant village greens for all.

Programs: Josephine Butler Parks Center -- This unique 18,000-square-foot "greenhouse" for innercity revitalization serves diverse partners across the city and region with training and conference spaces, a multimedia lab, a funding and resource library, an incubator loft, after-school programs, performance and rehearsal space adjacent to America's first national park for the performing arts, and a headquarters for networking and building new alliances.Down by the Riverside -- Parks & People is leading a massive multi-year transformation of the city's longest municipal park and stream system into a model of urban environmental and community renewal. This effort is now being replicated in other large parks.Neighborhood Parks Initiative -- Parks & People provides technical assistance to community parks partnerships of all kinds, including fiscal sponsorship, volunteer coordination, performing arts production, media promotion, expansion of park curriculum for schools and youth groups, heritage tourism, funding counsel, boosting earned income, advocacy support, and organizational incubation and development. As part of this effort, Parks & People hosts such community parks partnerships as the Watts Branch Community Alliance, the Oxon Run Community Alliance, Walter Pierce Park, North Columbia Heights Green, and more.Blueways and Greenways -- Parks & People is leading efforts to link parks across the capital in greenway connections, centered on the Washington Ridge Crossing, a historic 28-mile innercity link now being advanced as part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.Heart & Soul -- Parks & People and its partners are using parks for model programs in health, fitness, and nutrition.Community Harvest -- Parks & People provides grants and technical assistance to community greening and garden projects across the city, and it helps advance community farm markets in under-served areas.

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