Regional Parks Foundation
Please take a moment to read about our event beneficiary - The East Bay Regional Parks Foundation. Find out how you can help and support on behalf of Firetrails 50. Make a donation today. Please write “Firetrails 50” in the comments boxFind out how you can help support.
Background: The Regional Parks Foundation was founded in 1969 for the sole purpose of supporting the East Bay Regional Park District. It was the first 501(c)(3) non-profit established in the U.S. to raise private support for a public park agency. The East Bay Regional Park District is currently home to over 113,000 acres, 65 parks, 1,100 miles of trail and 40 miles of shoreline, making it the largest local park agency in the nation. The Regional Parks Foundation primarily serves the Park District by supporting broader public access, environmental conservation, and special capital funding. One of the Foundations flagship programs is Campership which helps at-risk and low-income youth to participate in a variety of outdoor experiences throughout the Regional Parks.
Mission: The Regional Parks Foundation is a sole purpose foundation in support the East Bay Regional Park District, which serves the East Bay through preserving the environment, providing opportunities for outdoor recreation, and offering environmental education. One of the Foundation’s top priorities is to ensure that underserved populations have equal access to the East Bay Regional Park District parks, trails, programs, and services.
Governance: The Foundation is governed by a 14 member Board of Directors that is composed of corporate leaders from all over the East Bay. This all-volunteer Board works closely with the Park District and its elected board to identify and invest in programs that are aligned with the Foundation’s mission.
Programs: While retaining flexibility to serve the East Bay Regional Park District as needed, the Foundation annually raises funds to provide support for a group of core program initiatives:
- Special Projects: The Regional Parks Foundation steps in to fill funding gaps for special capital improvement projects within the Park District. The guiding principal for the Foundation’s contribution is the charter to create broader public access. Examples of recent special projects underwritten by the Foundation include new ADA-compliant access to Lake Chabot Marina, new or upgraded campgrounds at Pt. Pinole, Round Valley and Coyote Hills, restoration of the historic waterfall at Lake Temescal, and restoration of the historic carousel at Tilden Regional Park.
- Membership: Membership is a popular and cost-effective way for families and individuals to frequent their Regional Parks and includes benefits such as free day-use parking, swimming, discounted camping, dog passes, and special Member-only events. Currently, over 7,500 individuals and families enjoy Membership and the ongoing ability to discover the many treasures of the Regional Parks. Residents may also purchase fishing and boating permits.
- Environmental Conservation: With the help of volunteers and donors, the Foundation supports numerous initiatives to help build a healthier ecosystem for all by establishing wildlife habitats so that endangered species can once again thrive. Participants engage in outdoor educational and environmental conservation activities such as capturing, collaring and releasing pumas; creating nesting habitats for birds and amphibians; trail maintenance; and shoreline clean-up to name just a few. Corporate volunteerism and sponsorship is at the core of this popular initiative.
- Legacy: The East Bay Regional Park District is committed to preserving lands for the enjoyment and education of the public. Through the years, the Park District and the Foundation have benefited through the generosity of donors who prefer to make tax-deductible gifts to the Park District through the Foundation. To this end, the Foundation continues to develop its Legacy program by helping contributors with financial and estate planning assistance in their pursuit to provide lasting support for the Regional Parks.
- Campership: The Regional Parks Foundation provides ongoing camping scholarships to low-income, at-risk and disabled youth. Campership includes both summer day camping and outdoor environmental education at Camp Arroyo. Summer day camping activities encourage school-age children to get close to nature through activities such as hiking, kayaking, fishing, biking, etc. At Camp Arroyo, a state-of-the-art “green” facility nestled in the Livermore Valley, students with scholarships are given a week of outdoor environmental education in keeping with 5th and 6th grade curriculum standards. In addition, Campership funding also provides funds for swim lessons, fishing derbies and transportation assistance for groups and individuals with special needs.