History

Children playing in one of the many playgrounds supported by GMPF's efforts.Tacoma has a rich parks and recreation heritage, and the GMPF is committed to leaving a lasting legacy for this and future generations. We believe that parks play a vital role in assuring that everyone in our community has the opportunity to play, learn, and grow in a healthy environment. We can achieve this together by providing every child a safe and beautiful place to play; making our neighborhoods attractive and livable; stimulating economic development; and creating memories that last a lifetime.

Moving Beyond Fundraising

When the organization began as the Tacoma Recreation Foundation in 1990, its purpose was to raise and distribute funds for the development, maintenance and operation of recreation programs and events sponsored by Metro Parks.  However, over time, other opportunities for support developed and in 1998, members of the Board agreed that the Foundation should have a new name and a broader purpose.  In 1998, a reinvigorated Board approved the name change to the Metro Parks Foundation.  The Board also adopted a new mission statement reflecting the new focus of the organization.

Spraygrounds provide a fun place for kids to play during the summer months. The Foundation continued to strengthen governance, recruit new board members, improve financial results, and support public policy through advocacy during the past two years.  Funds were raised through a combination of individual solicitation, grants, corporate contributions and special events.  

In 2007 the Board committed to the first steps toward a capital campaign focusing on Wright Park. A draft communication document was created on the MPF/MPT importance of parks, history of MPT and MPF along with the capital support/program support projects.  The Board funded a feasibility study in 2007 in order to begin to raise funds for the spray ground /playground project.  The result of this feasibility study led to a reevaluation of the structure of the Foundation and the hiring of their first full time executive director. It also led to a renewed commitment to board development and  the development of a greater individual giving base from which to launch the immediate Wright Park capital campaign, and a solid foundation to address future funding priorities. 

A Greater Community Focus

The community celebrated the first Play in Peace Day to celebrate the revitalized Wright and McCarver Parks.In 2008, the foundation hired an Executive Director as its first employee. The foundation also changed its name to the Greater Metro Parks Foundation (GMPF) to distinguish itself from Metro Parks Tacoma as a separate non-profit organization, but also to keep the connection of the relationship between it and Metro Parks.  The GMPF Board was shifted to more of a policy and governance body, who would work closely with MPT directors and commissioners in developing strategic directions and funding priorities in the future.

This structure allowed Metro Parks and The Greater Metro Parks Foundation to collectively identify and restructure the Capital Campaign (previously set for Wright Park alone) to encompass McCarver and Wright Parks together as part of a larger initiative called the Zina Linnik Project. The enormous scope and accomplishments of this project,resulted in new leadership which allowed for greater community response, greater institutional flexibility, and ultimately greater service to the community's needs. Moreover, it created something of significant value that will serve all of Tacoma for many generations. Credit is to be given to the MPT Resource Development, Metro Parks Business and Operational Support Department, and GMPF for working so closely during this process, thereby unlocking the true potential of this partnership and the ability to serve the greater community at the highest possible level.