The Foundation for Minneapolis Parks will honor four organizations for exceptional contributions to enhance the Minneapolis Park System. Best Buy, Friends of Loring Park, the Lupient Foundation and the Minnesota Twins Community Fund will be presented with special awards in May.
The awards are presented to corporations, foundations and non-profit organizations that demonstrate exceptional generosity, significantly enhance the Minneapolis Park System through direct financial and/or in-kind support, and motivate others to support The Foundation for Minneapolis Parks.
Best Buy – Outstanding Corporate Donor Award
Best Buy believes the real community connection is through its employees, so each year they donate their time to local organizations. In July 2006 over 300 Best Buy “Tag Team” employees took part in a volunteer day that focused on improvement projects throughout the Minneapolis Park System. Projects included trash pick-up, weeding, mulching, watering plants and trees, removing invasive plant species and sprucing up playgrounds.
The Best Buy Tag Team Award program donated a $22,000 grant to The Foundation for Minneapolis Parks. The Best Buy Children’s Foundation grants the Tag Team Award to approved nonprofit organizations benefiting from their employee’s volunteer service. The grant will go toward Minneapolis park improvements and programming.
The 2007 Best Buy Tag Team Volunteer Day is May 23 at Father Hennepin Bluff Park. Projects include trail brush and invasive species removal, river bank cleanup, planting flower beds and landscaping around the band shell.
Friends of Loring Park – Charles M. Loring Award
Named in honor of the “Father of the Minneapolis Park System,” the Charles M. Loring Award is being presented to Friends of Loring Park. The award honors an individual or group that has demonstrated longevity in service and direct financial or in-kind support.
Dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the 35-acre park in downtown Minneapolis, Friends of Loring Park helps provide a park that is environmentally and socially sound. Since the organization was established in 1997, donors and volunteers have installed over 600 pathway bricks with personalized messages and provided over 90 benches. Friends of Loring Park has added 10 trees yearly, participated in planting over 120 trees for the 2000 Arbor Day celebration, and secured funding for injections to prevent Dutch elm disease in the park.
With a large volunteer base, Friends of Loring Park donated volunteer hours valued at $14,200 in 2006 through such activities as cultivating the gardens and shoreline plantings.
The Lupient Foundation – Outstanding Park Steward Award
The Lupient Foundation is a strong supporter promoting and encouraging water safety and exploration to Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) program participants and also to youth that might not otherwise be able to afford lessons. Through the Lupient Foundation’s annual swimming program, youth are given the opportunity to participate in fun and constructive water-related activities while learning life-long skills.
The Lupient Foundation funds lessons, transportation costs, prizes and incentives and also provides recreational opportunities for youth of other cultures and backgrounds. For example, the Village Park/Immigrant Outreach reached out to Somali youth and taught swimming lessons in both English and Somali.
Over 2,300 youth have participated in the swimming program since 2000 and were recruited from MPRB programs such as Rec Plus, Youthline, Summer Playground and Phat Summer. MPRB pools in the program were Jim Lupient Water Park, Webber Pool, Olson Middle School Pool and North Commons Water Park.
The Lupient Foundation has donated $200,000 to MPRB since 2003.
The Twins Community Fund – Outstanding Non-Profit Organization Award
The Twins Community Fund seeks to enrich local and regional communities by providing resources for the healthy development of children and families through baseball, softball and the Minnesota Twins.
The Fund has donated $340,000 to the MPRB from 2002-06, including a $50,000 grant in 2005 for the Bob Casey Field. The funds were used to irrigate and grass the infield, build new bleachers and player’s benches and improve fencing and dugouts.
In 2006 the Fund awarded a $50,000 grant to help operate the Twins Rookie League and Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) youth baseball and softball leagues, and partnered with MPRB to sponsor a Minneapolis Girls All-Star Fast-pitch softball team for the 2006 RBI World Series.
An MPRB partner since 1993, the Twins Community Fund donations have included marketing program funds; instructional clinics for youth, coaches and officials; and equipment.
The Foundation for Minneapolis Parks, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working in partnership with MPRB, secures private funding to support projects and programs throughout the Minneapolis Parks System. For more information on The Foundation for Minneapolis Parks, visit www.mplsparkfoundation.org or call 612-313-7794.