More than 30 years ago, Sally J. Michel had a dinner with Baltimore City mayor, William Donald Schaefer. Longtime friends, the two frequently dined together; however, during this particular evening, Schaefer had an idea. He asked Sally to develop a private-public partnership to enhance the city’s parks and from that, the Parks & People Foundation was born.
On August 16, 2018, our founder, Sally J. Michel, passed away. In founding Parks & People, she had a vision for a Baltimore where everyone is connected to their community and each other through vibrant parks and green spaces. And it is our mission to make that dream a reality.
Although she is gone, Sally’s legacy can be felt through the 31,000 children who have graduated from SuperKids Camp since its creation. It can be felt with every teen who participates in our Branches internship program and every middle schooler who joins one of our sports leagues. And it can be felt with every child’s laugh that hangs on the breeze in one of our parks.
To donate in Sally’s memory, please click here.
PPF organized a design competition and development of a master plan for Druid Hill Park
URI (Urban Resources Initiative) started as a collaboration between Yale University’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Rec & Parks, and PPF to bring interns from the School to Baltimore to help Rec & Parks manage the city’s natural resources. Over the years, the project has expanded to different universities.
PPF set up the Baltimore Baseball League to provide organized sports after school.
Creation of Baltimore Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound, in collaboration with Hurricane Island (Maine) Outward Bound School.
Based on an initiative that grew out of one of the first URI projects, Mayor Schmoke formed a Task Force on Greenways (chaired by a PPF board member). This led to the decision to create the Gwynns Falls Trail.
PPF began its Community Forestry program, again based on research and pilot projects conducted by URI. Community Forestry projects included street tree plantings, vacant lot restoration, training for community volunteers, and plantings along stream banks.
Baltimore Middle School Soccer League began for boys.
Revitalizing Baltimore started as a collaboration of the US Forest Service, state and city government, and PPF to research ecosystem management in urban areas. Areas of investment: watershed management, community involvement, developing urban forestry management plans. The National Science Foundation has funded a Long Term Ecological Research project, its first in an urban area, and a hydrological research project, both focusing on the Gwynns Falls watershed, in conjunction with the Revitalizing Baltimore collaboration.
PPF began its KidsGrow program, an environmental education program for children, offered through Rec centers in the summer and in after school programs.
PPF moved the majority of its staff to the Crimea Mansion in Leakin Park under a long term lease with the City.
The master plan for the Gwynns Falls Trail was finalized by Balmori and Associates.
The Middle School Soccer League expanded to include girls.
PPF created its Community Grants program to fund small greening projects that are developed by neighborhoods and volunteers. In addition to the grants, PPF staff help the applicants develop their ideas through community meetings and training sessions.
Baltimore City Volleyball League was created for high school girls.
SuperKids started with 460 rising 4th graders. Objective to have them reading at grade level by the end of the summer, while having a fun camp experience.
PPF led task force to study the Department of Recreation & Parks at request of Mayor Kurt Schmoke
Construction began on Phase 1 of the Gwynns Falls Trail
PPF began the huge project of leasing the new campus, developing plans to: restore the Stone House and the Carriage House, build a new Platinum LEED headquarters, and redevelop the grounds. The vision is for the revitalized campus to serve as a community resource, a welcoming link between the Mondawmin neighborhoods and Druid Hill Park, a site for SuperKids and Branches, a place for environmental education and demonstration projects.
The goats come in to clean up the poison ivy and invasives on campus.
Renovation of Stone House completed.
Groundbreaking for new building.
Long-time CEO Jackie Carrera resigns; the board conducts a nationwide search resulting in naming Lisa Schroeder as our new CEO.
Grand Opening of the new campus.
Easterwood/Sandtown Park & Playground a.k.a “The Miracle on McKean” ribbon cutting.
Ambrose Kennedy Park groundbreaking.