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Montgomery Parks Foundation

Nov 17 14

Montgomery Parks Foundation to Seek New Director

by Melissa Chotiner

Rankin to Depart After Guiding Revitalization

 

Montgomery Parks Foundation (Foundation) Board President, Joseph Isaacs, accepted with regret the resignation of its Executive Director, Debbie Rankin, who has held the position since January 2011 and has accepted another opportunity.  He expressed gratitude for Ms. Rankin’s outstanding efforts to revitalize the dormant Foundation and establish needed infrastructure to enable more effective fundraising programs, integration within the Department of Parks, and engagement of community stakeholders and partners.

 

With the support of the Board of Trustees, the Foundation has become a viable and robust organization with a mission to cultivate financial support and public engagement of county residents and businesses as members, donors, sponsors and advocates.  Mr. Isaacs stated that the Board will move as rapidly as possible to identify the next Executive Director to ensure the Foundation’s continuing momentum and a smooth transition to new leadership.

 

The Montgomery Parks Foundation had revenue of only $100,000 in the first year of its revitalization and over $660,000 in 2013.  In the current year, the Foundation received a $1 million gift for a Greenhouse at Brookside Gardens and will exceed $1.5 million in total revenue.

 

“The Foundation thanks Debbie for her leadership and intends with its next Executive Director to continue to grow for the benefit Montgomery Parks and those that enjoy them,” said Joseph Isaacs, President of the Board of Trustees.

 

The Foundation Board of Trustees in collaboration with the Director of Parks, Mike Riley, will begin the search process for the next Executive Director in the coming weeks.  The Board has named current Development Program Manager, Raleigh Leichter, as acting Executive Director during the transition.

 

“I feel confident that the Foundation Board of Trustees will work hard to identify the proper candidate to build on the excellent work Debbie and her talented staff started,” commented Mike Riley.

 

The Montgomery Parks Foundation is a 501c3 organization that champions Montgomery County Parks.

Sep 11 14

Montgomery Parks Foundation Receives Million Dollar Gift to Construct a Greenhouse at Brookside Gardens

by Melissa Chotiner

The Montgomery Parks Foundation, an independent non-profit organization providing fundraising and support to Montgomery Parks has secured $1 million dollars from a private donor to help construct a new growing greenhouse at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD.  The greenhouse is part of the multi-phase Master Plan adopted in 2005 that will enhance the many spectacular offerings at the popular public garden which opened in 1969.  Brookside Gardens is a facility within the Montgomery County Department of Parks and part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

 

The generous donor, Mrs. Joan O’Rourke, has been working with staff at Brookside Gardens and Debbie Rankin, Executive Director of the Montgomery Parks Foundation for several years to make this project a reality.  An avid supporter of the gardens for decades, Mrs. O’Rourke was the founding President of the still vital Friends of Brookside Gardens.  Her generosity is visible in many ways as she supports programs as a teacher and volunteer throughout the year.

 

The greenhouse is a $3,274,600 project and is also funded by $1,200,000 from the State of Maryland and $1,074,600 from Montgomery County through the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).  Mrs. O’Rourke’s gift comprises almost 30% of the cost to construct the greenhouse.

 

“We couldn’t be more thrilled or grateful to receive this extraordinary donation,” says Joe Isaacs, President of the Board of Trustees of the Montgomery Parks Foundation.  “In less than four years of our own organizational revitalization, Mrs. O’Rourke’s kind gesture is an outstanding demonstration of support for our park system that has endured more than its share of budget cuts in recent years.”

 

“The support from our community for the award winning park system in Montgomery County has always been impressive,” said Mike Riley, Director of Parks.  “Mrs. O’Rourke’s gift highlights what can be accomplished if we work together for common goals.  We are so appreciative of this support from Mrs. O’Rourke.”

 

“Brookside Gardens is honored to be the recipient of such a generous gift.  The growing greenhouses support all aspects of our operations, including conservatory displays, the Wings of Fancy live butterfly exhibit, our landscapes and many educational programs.   It is a special donor indeed who recognizes the critical importance of well-designed and energy-efficient infrastructure to sustain the beautiful plants and gardens so loved by our community,” adds Stephanie Oberle, Director of Brookside Gardens.

 

The Request for Proposal (RFP) for the design build project will be released in September.  The contract will be awarded in November and the project is scheduled to begin shortly thereafter requiring about 18-24 months to complete.

 

 

About The Montgomery Parks Foundation

The Montgomery Parks Foundation is a 501c3 organization that champions Montgomery County Parks cultivating financial support and public engagement of county residents and businesses as members, donors, sponsors and advocates.  www.MontgomeryParksFoundation.org

 

About the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 35,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 420 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other park systems. www.MontgomeryParks.org

 

 

 

Aug 26 14

John Dugger, Capital Crescent Trail Visionary Honored with Dedication

by Melissa Chotiner

 

Dedication event to take place September 12, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.

AUGUST 26, 2014,SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery Parks Foundation, Montgomery Parks, and the Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail are honoring John Dugger, one of the visionary’s behind the Capital Crescent Trail, an 11-mile, hiker-biker trail.  A dedication plaque to Mr. Dugger will be installed on the trail just south of the rest plaza by the Dalecarlia Water Treatment Plant, near the D.C. line in Montgomery County, Maryland.  A special dedication event will take place there on September 12, 2014, at 4:30 p.m.  Media, elected officials, business and community leaders and the public are welcome to attend.

Dugger dedication plaque

WHAT: Dedication of the John A. Dugger tribute, “Visionary Leader” of the Capital Crescent Trail

WHEN: 
Friday, September 12, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: 
Capital Crescent Trail, near Dalecarlia Reservoir

WHY:
 Celebrate Mr. Dugger’s years of tireless work and dedication to help establish the Capital Crescent Trail as a first-class hiker-biker trail.

 

A collaborative effort between the Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail, the Montgomery Parks Foundation and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks was key to making this dedication a reality.

 

“We are delighted that the relationship between our three organizations resulted in this important opportunity to honor John Dugger, our friend and champion of the Capital Crescent Trail,” said Ron Tripp, Chair of the Coalition.  “The Montgomery Parks Foundation and Montgomery Parks were not only supportive of this effort, but were our partners in assuring this was done and done well.”

 

Mr. Dugger saw the abandoned B&O Rail line from Georgetown to Silver Spring as an opportunity to create a multipurpose trail for the residents of the greater Washington, D.C. area.  In 1991, encouraged by friends, including avid cyclist Henri Bartholomot, John was instrumental in securing Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) funds to develop the trail, and was personally involved in acquiring and developing additional right-of-way to form the trail that bikers, joggers, and walkers enjoy today. 

 

Dugger, a retired naval officer and specialist in international law was chairman of the group that inspired the project for many years.  He led the coalition of volunteers that worked to create the recreational trail, now known as The Capital Crescent Trail.

 

With origins in the Civil War, the Capital Crescent Trail is now the most heavily used of the many trails in the Washington, D.C. region.  Today, the Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail supports and advocates for the Capital Crescent Trail, which is maintained by Montgomery Parks and the National Park Service.  John took great pride in his efforts to make the Capital Crescent a USA Rails to Trails Success.


About The Montgomery Parks Foundation
The Montgomery Parks Foundation is a 501c3 organization that champions Montgomery County Parks cultivating financial support and public engagement of county residents and businesses as members, donors, sponsors and advocates.  www.MontgomeryParksFoundation.org


About the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks
Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 420 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other park systems. www.MontgomeryParks.org


About the Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail
The Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail is a non-profit citizens’ group advocating for a first class development of the 11.2 mile rail-to-Trail conversion from Georgetown, D.C. to Silver Spring, MD for multi-purpose, recreational use.  www.ccttrail.org

 

 

 

Jul 10 14

Montgomery Parks Josiah Henson Park Will Be Profiled on National Broadcast of PBS Series Time Team America on August 19; Program Uncovers New Evidence Related to the Site’s History

by Melissa Chotiner

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Montgomery Parks Foundation announce the premiere of “TIME TEAM AMERICA, The Search for Josiah Henson,” on Tuesday, August 19 at 8 p.m. TIME TEAM AMERICA is a PBS series that combines archaeological discovery with good story telling. “The Search for Josiah Henson,” one of four new episodes of the second season, explores Josiah Henson Park, a significant historical resource located in Montgomery County, Maryland within the Montgomery Parks’ system. The park is located on the former Isaac Riley plantation where Reverend Josiah Henson was enslaved for many years before his escape to freedom. Henson’s autobiography is the inspiration behind Harriet Tubman’s landmark novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. 

Time Team America filming at Josiah Henson site in August 2012.

Time Team America filming at Josiah Henson site in August 2012.

Filming of the program took place in August 2012. The TIME TEAM AMERICA production crew and on-air talent—comprised of scientists Joe Watkins, Allan Maca, Meg Watters, Jeff Brown and Chelsea Rose and host Justine Shapiro—spent three days on site working alongside Parks’ archaeologists and their many volunteers, searching for evidence of Henson-era structures and related artifacts long lost to suburban development. The archaeological exploration unearthed three layers of compacted earth flooring in the kitchen under the existing floor, which indicates the strong likelihood that the existing log kitchen sits on the exact footprint of the one described in Henson’s memoirs.

It was upon his return to Isaac Riley’s plantation in 1828 that Josiah Henson recalls sleeping on the dirt floor of the kitchen in the main house.

“After putting my horse in the stable I retired to the kitchen, where my master told me I was to sleep for
the night … that crowded room, with its earth floor, its filth and stench – The negroes present were strangers
to me. Full of gloomy reflections at my loneliness, and poverty stricken aspect of the whole farm, I sat
down…thinking how I could escape from the accursed spot.”

—Josiah Henson, The Life of Josiah Henson Formerly a Slave, Boston: 1849

The Montgomery Parks Foundation will conduct a major campaign to raise $2 million dollars to support the educational and interpretive aspects for Josiah Henson Park. These funds will be matched by $4.85 million approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board and the County Council for the park’s development.
The TIME TEAM AMERICA episode on Josiah Henson Park can be previewed at: http://video.pbs.org/video/2365243972/

About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks
Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 420 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. www.montgomeryparks.org

About the Montgomery Parks Foundation
The Montgomery Parks Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that champions Montgomery County Parks cultivating financial support and public engagement of county residents and businesses as member, donors, sponsors and advocates. Visit www.MontgomeryParksFoundation.org to learn more.

 

Nov 25 13

Enjoy a Day at Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course and Support the Montgomery Parks Foundation!

by Melissa Chotiner

 —Go Ape will offer a $10 discount on tickets December 7 and 8; $10 from each ticket will be donated to the Montgomery Parks Foundation.—

go apeSILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) is pleased to announce the Go Ape Park Friends Fundraiser at Rock Creek Regional Park. On Saturday, December 7th and Sunday, December 8th Go Ape will offer a $10 discount on all tickets AND donate $10 from each ticket sold to the Montgomery Parks Foundation. Discount tickets are available online at www.goape.com or by phone at 1-800-971-8271 with the promo code “GIVERC.”

 

The Montgomery Parks Foundation (www.montgomeryparksfoundation.org) is a fundraising and support organization to Montgomery Parks. Funds raised by the Foundation support Montgomery County Parks facilities and programs.

 

“Go Ape has been a wonderful partner to the Montgomery Parks Foundation. In addition to providing park visitors with an exciting experience, they support our mission through fundraising events, park cleanups, re-plantings, and ticket donations to underserved and special needs communities,” said Debbie Rankin, Executive Director of the Montgomery Parks Foundation. “We greatly appreciate all that they do in support of parks. Their contributions enable us to further our mission to support Montgomery Parks.”

 

“As part of Go Ape’s mission to support the parks, we are happy to support organizations, like The Montgomery Parks Foundation, that are such worthwhile contributors to the preservation and sustainability of Rock Creek and other parks across the Maryland region.  I hope that everyone will join us as we raise funds for The Montgomery Parks Foundation while enjoying this exhilarating outdoor adventure.”  Dan D’Agostino, USA Managing Director.

 

WHAT

Go Ape Park Friends Fundraiser

WHEN and WHERE

Saturday December 7th – Sunday December 8th, 2013

Go Ape! Rock Creek Regional Park
6129 Needwood Lake Drive
Rockville, MD 20855
                                                                            

BOOK RESERVATIONS

Reservations are recommended through www.goape.com or call 1-800-971-8271. For the fundraising weekend, tickets are $10 off with promo code “GIVERC” plus $10 of every ticket will be donated.

 

About the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 35,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 418 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. www.montgomeryparks.org

 

ABOUT GO APE USA (www.goape.com)

Go Ape is a highly interactive treetop adventure where participants are equipped with harnesses, pulleys and carabineers and receive a 30-minute training session before they are turned loose into the forest canopy.  The courses feature a series of zip lines, Tarzan swings, rope ladders, bridges, swings, and trapezes.  Catering to all skill levels, participants are encouraged to live life adventurously, push themselves, and turn “I can’t” into “I can.”  To join the tribe, follow @GoApeUSA or visit the YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/goapeusa.

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Editor’s Note: Media representatives are invited to take a complimentary swing through the Go Ape course during the 2013 season.  All participants must receive a 30 minute training session, prior to starting the course. To book your complementary visit, please contact Carolyn Tunney at 443-365-0554.

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Feb 11 13

Montgomery Parks Unveils New Corporate Sponsorship Policy

by Melissa Chotiner

Policy approved by Montgomery County Planning Board on January 31, 2013 will help foster greater support for parks, facilities and programs through new revenue and partnerships.

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) announced today the approval of a new Corporate Sponsorship Policy by the Montgomery County Planning Board on January 31, 2013. The policy will guide the development of a Corporate Sponsorship Program to be administered by the Montgomery Parks Foundation and aimed at generating non-tax based revenue to enhance the Department’s parks, facilities and services for the benefit of the public. The policy does not involve renaming entire parks nor does it involve selling parks. It is available on Montgomery Parks’ web page in the announcement section, or can be accessed directly at this link:  http://www.montgomeryparks.org/team/ppp/sponsorship.shtm.

The Corporate Sponsorship Policy completes the first phase of the timeline for developing the Corporate Sponsorship Program. The policy was developed based on research and analysis of hundreds of park and county agencies around the nation that have active, successful corporate sponsorship programs, including local agencies and organizations such as the City of Gaithersburg Parks, Recreation and Culture and Bethesda Green, as well as large systems such as the City of Boulder, Colorado Parks and Recreation and Seattle Parks and Recreation, among many others. Research on these systems indicates that sponsorship programs can generate anywhere from $100,000 to $1,600,000 annually.

“We’ve already had sponsors for many of our programs, as well as facilities named for corporate donors—like the Discovery Center at SoccerPlex (South Germantown Recreational Park) for the Discovery Channel,” said Mary Bradford Director of Montgomery County Department of Parks.  “This approval will bring rules and order to the process, plus allow the Montgomery Parks Foundation to seek corporate sponsors for many more opportunities that could supplement our budget.”

During the next phase of the Corporate Sponsorship Program Parks and Foundation staff will develop varying levels of system-wide sponsorship packages and associated recognition benefits and standards. Once developed, these packages will be presented to the Planning Board for approval before the program is marketed to potential sponsors. The goals for the sponsorship program include:

  • Raise revenue through appropriate partner / sponsor programs;
  • Enhance, expand and sustain programs, facilities and services for the public;
  • Increase awareness of M-NCPPC and its programs and services among new audiences; and
  • Avoid or minimalize adverse impact on the park visitors’ overall experience and the visual qualities of the park environment.

“We appreciate the support of the Planning Board in approving the Corporate Sponsorship Policy and look forward to the next phase of developing the program,” said Debbie Rankin, Executive Director of the Montgomery Parks Foundation. “Montgomery County residents are fortunate to have a wonderful, robust park system, and, we are optimistic about this program as an opportunity to expand our county’s park assets and programs while establishing mutually beneficial relationships in the community.”

The sponsorship program will provide businesses and nonprofit organizations naming, sponsorship and advertising opportunities for park facilities and programs (naming rights for entire parks will not be considered), which could include:

  • Regional and recreational athletic fields;
  • Ice rinks;
  • Dog parks;
  • Picnic pavilions; and
  • Special events and programs (such as the Fall Harvest Festival, concert series, or the Garden of Lights holiday light show)

Status of the program will be provided annually in a report from the Montgomery Parks Foundation, presented to the Planning Board. Any organization interested in becoming a park sponsor should contact the Montgomery Parks Foundation.

About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission – Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 35,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 418 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. www.montgomeryparks.org

About the Montgomery Parks Foundation

The Montgomery Parks Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization established to support the creation, maintenance and improvements of Montgomery Parks’ facilities, open spaces, forests, wetlands and historic and cultural resources. The Foundation provides opportunities for county residents and businesses to support Montgomery Parks as members, donors, sponsors, and advocates, and actively seeks individual donations, sponsorships, legacy gifts, and endowments to support park operations, development and maintenance. www.montgomeryparksfoundation.org

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Dec 19 12

Montgomery Parks Proposes Corporate Park Naming and Sponsorship Policy

by Melissa Chotiner

Questions and comments are due January 4, 2013; Draft policy to be presented to Planning Board January 31, 2013. 

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) is proposing a Corporate Park Naming and Sponsorship Policy to guide the development of a corporate sponsorship program. The program will be administered by the Montgomery Parks Foundation and is aimed at generating non-tax based revenue to enhance the Department’s parks, facilities and services for the benefit of the public. It does not involve renaming entire parks nor does it involve selling parks.

Public input on the proposed policy is due by January 4, 2013 and may be submitted online at http://www.montgomeryparks.org/team/ppp/sponsorship.shtm or by email to Kate.Stookey@MontgomeryParks.org. A final draft policy will be presented to the Planning Board on January 31, 2013, for approval.

“A number of counties, cities, park systems and municipalities across the nation have implemented similar programs with great success,” said Mary Bradford, Director of Montgomery Parks. “Our tax funding is used to cover the costs of ongoing park maintenance and operations; sponsorship revenue will enable us to expand and enhance the services and activities we are able to provide to the public.”

The sponsorship program would provide businesses and nonprofit organizations naming, sponsorship and advertising opportunities for park facilities and programs (naming rights for entire parks will not be considered), including but not limited to:

  • Regional and recreational athletic fields;
  • Ice rinks;
  • Dog parks;
  • Picnic pavilions; and
  • Special events and programs (such as the Fall Harvest Festival, concert series, or the Garden of Lights holiday light show)

“This program provides area businesses with an opportunity to express their support in a way that benefits everyone who uses our parks,” said Debbie Rankin, CFRE and Executive Director of the Montgomery Parks Foundation. “We look forward to partnering with the business community to provide much needed financial support to our county’s award-winning park system.”

The proposed Corporate Park Naming and Sponsorship Policy outlines the parameters for such opportunities, including criteria for eligibility, details on editorial discretion and other provisions.

Visit www.MontgomeryParks.org/sponsorships for a copy of the draft policy and more information on how to comment.

About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission- Montgomery Parks
Montgomery Parks manages more than 35,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 417 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. www.montgomeryparks.org

About the Montgomery Parks Foundation
The Montgomery Parks Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization established to support the creation, maintenance and improvements of Montgomery Parks’ facilities, open spaces, forests, wetlands and historic and cultural resources. The Foundation provides opportunities for county residents and businesses to support Montgomery Parks as members, donors, sponsors, and advocates, and actively seeks individual donations, sponsorships, legacy gifts, and endowments to support park operations, development and maintenance. www.montgomeryparksfoundation.org
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Nov 29 12

Go Ape! Treetop Adventure Course Offers Ticket Discounts to Guests that Also Benefit Montgomery Parks Foundation

by Melissa Chotiner

Guests receive $10 discount on all tickets December 8 and 9;
$10 from each ticket sold will benefit the Montgomery Parks Foundation.

SILVER SPRING, MDGo Ape, a treetop adventure course located at Rock Creek Regional Park is offering a $10 discount on all tickets on Saturday, December 8, and Sunday, December 9; additionally for each ticket sold Go Ape will donate $10 to the Montgomery Parks Foundation, a champion of Montgomery Parks which is part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC). To take advantage of the discount and book your adventure at Go Ape, enter the code “GIVERC” at checkout online at www.goape.com or by calling 1-800-971-8271. Tickets regularly cost $55 for adults and $35 for children ages 10 – 17.

Go Ape, part of a public-private partnership with Montgomery Parks, is a highly interactive treetop adventure course where participants are equipped with harnesses, pulleys and carabineers and receive a 30-minute training session before they are turned loose into the forest canopy. Spanning a length of more than seven football fields and with obstacles 40 feet above the ground, the course features a series of ziplines, Tarzan swings, rope ladders, bridges, swings, and trapezes among the treetops of Rock Creek Regional Park, located in Rockville, Md.

“The Montgomery Parks Foundation is extremely grateful to Go Ape for their support of our parks through this generous promotion.” said Debbie Rankin, Executive Director of the Montgomery Parks Foundation. “The donations help support the Foundation’s efforts to secure funding for Montgomery Parks which is so important in today’s challenging economic climate.”

The upcoming “Parks Day” promotion is just one way Go Ape supports Montgomery Parks and specifically the park it calls home – Rock Creek Regional Park. A portion of every ticket sold throughout the year already goes back to the park, and Go Ape staff also takes part in park cleanups, replanting, and community outreach.

Go Ape is located in Rock Creek Regional Park at 6129 Needwood Lake Drive, Derwood, MD 20855.

About the Montgomery Parks Foundation
The Montgomery Parks Foundation is an independent, nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation which promotes the values and benefits of the park system to Montgomery County residents and policy-makers. The Foundation provides opportunities for county residents and businesses to support Montgomery Parks as members, donors, sponsors, and advocates, and actively seeks individual donations, sponsorships, legacy gifts, and endowments to support park operations, development and maintenance. The Parks Foundation is a fundraising and support organization to Montgomery Parks. The Foundation does not directly operate park facilities or programs. Funds raised by the Foundation are transferred to the Parks, where specialized staff acquire parkland, build and maintain park facilities, and deliver services to the public.

The Montgomery County Parks Foundation was first established in 1992. In early 2009 the Foundation Board was re-constituted and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Foundation and Montgomery Parks/M-NCPPC was adopted by both the M-NCPPC Planning Board and the Foundation Board of Trustees. The MOU set forward a new direction and structure for the Foundation that promises to significantly increase public support of the parks.

About Go Ape USA  (www.goape.com)
Go Ape is a highly interactive treetop adventure where participants are equipped with harnesses, pulleys and carabineers and receive a 30-minute training session before they are turned loose into the forest canopy. The courses, which can be completed in two to three hours, feature a series of zip lines, Tarzan swings, rope ladders, bridges, swings, and trapezes. Catering to all skill levels, participants are encouraged to live life adventurously, push themselves and turn I can’t into I can. To join the tribe, become a fan of Go Ape USA on Facebook or follow GoApeUSA on Twitter. To see video of the Go Ape experience, visit the YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/goapeusa.
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Sep 26 11

Montgomery County Planning Board Approves Donation to the Montgomery Parks Foundation from NBA All-Star to Improve Takoma Piney Branch Local Park

by Kelli Holsendolph

TAKOMA PARK, MD—Thursday, September 22, the Montgomery County Planning Board approved a donation agreement to enhance Takoma Piney Branch Local Park located at 2 Darwin Avenue in Takoma Park.

“We are deeply grateful to Mr. Steve Francis for his donation,” said Kate Stookey, Chief, Public Affairs & Community Partnerships Division with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Montgomery Parks. “In these tight economic times, generous contributions like his make a tremendous difference.”

Steve Francis, a former NBA All-Star and long-time resident of Takoma Park, offered to donate $70,000 to Montgomery Parks to improve the basketball court and create an endowment to cover future maintenance costs at Takoma Piney Branch Local Park. Improvements will add six new basketball goals, enabling half-court play, and a color-coated surface. Francis approached the parks department in July 2009 with this donation because of his ties to the Takoma Park community and the park.

A total renovation of Takoma Piney Branch Local Park is underway and currently funded in the Parks’ Capital Improvements Program (CIP). Plans for the 17.4 acre park include: maintaining the existing ball fields; replacing existing basketball courts and playground; adding a playground next to the Piney Branch Elementary School, which is adjacent to the park; converting two tennis courts to a skateboard park; providing a loop path; natural surface trails and pedestrian connections; improving an
entrance plaza and parking lot at Darwin Avenue; providing accessible parking and maintenance access at Grant Avenue; constructing a new picnic pavilion; and enhancing wetland areas.

The agreement approved Thursday by the Planning Board creates an endowment to support maintenance of Takoma Piney Branch Local Park. The full gift amount will be directed to the Montgomery Parks Foundation.

“The revitalized Montgomery Parks Foundation is delighted to receive its first major gift from the Steve Francis Foundation,” said Montgomery Parks Foundation Executive Director Debbie Rankin. “Contributions such as this are now critical to maintaining and supporting the award-winning Montgomery Parks system at the level we’ve all come to expect.”

To recognize Francis’ donation, Montgomery Parks will dedicate the upgraded basketball court to Tony Langley, Steve Francis’ former coach and long-time president of the Takoma Park Boys and Girls Club; dedicate the new picnic pavilion to Mrs. Brenda Wilson Bryant, Steve Francis’ deceased mother; and paint Steve Francis’ signature on the court surface between the half court and three point lines.

To make a donation to Montgomery Parks, visit www.MontgomeryParksFoundation.org. 

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Contact:
Kelli Holsendolph
Media Relations Manager
Montgomery County Department of Parks
301-650-2866