Park & Recreation Management Faculty Publishes Article

Nick Pitas recently co-authored a peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Park and Recreation Administration examining partnerships between local park and recreation agencies and non-profit foundations.

The majority of the nation’s more than 10,000 park and recreation agencies rely on taxpayer support and generated revenue (e.g., registration fees, sponsorships, and concessions) as their primary funding sources. Unfortunately, the typical agency does not receive sufficient funding to fully deliver on its mission, and the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession are adding to the financial pressures. As a result, many park and recreation agencies partner with nonprofit park foundations or “friends groups” to ensure access to high-quality park and recreation programming and facilities.

To better understand what leads to effective and sustainable partnerships between park and recreation agencies and nonprofit foundations, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) commissioned a study focused on these strategic relationships.

Based on in-depth interviews with leaders in the public and nonprofit sectors, results illustrate a variety of motivations for initiating an agency-foundation relationship, as well as a number of distinct benefits of such a partnership. Respondents also identified various characteristics of a successful agency-foundation relationship and challenges to success. Based on these results, we propose several strategies to help local park and recreation agencies maximize these partnerships (communicate frequently and with purpose, build relationships, formalize ties, and strive for equitable outcomes).

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