History Highlights


NPC Celebrates 15th year anniversary and Fiscal Sponsorship Group Successes
• Celebrating the 15th year Anniversary of NPC, we also recognize over 30 fiscal groups who share NPC’s mission of making San Francisco greener and improving local public spaces.

NPC’s Park Organizing Techniques Taken to Mexico
NPC Executive Director Meredith Thomas journeyed to Tijuana, Mexico to present “Park Groups:  Advocates for Safe Places to Play” at a children’s rights workshop, in hopes of improving the lives of children at risk.


Former NPC Board Member Tapped for RPD Commission
• Former NPC board member and park advocate Mark Buell, was appointed by Mayor Gavin Newsom to the Recreation and Parks Commission.

2010 Park User Survey Report Released
Over 1,400 respondents participated in the 2010 Park User Survey, providing their constructive feedback to best align NPC’s advocacy and policy work directly with park users’ needs.

Federal Support Provides a Local Voice for 13 Miles of Waterfront Parks
• NPC was awarded $175,000 from the EPA to heighten local community involvement in the execution of the Blue Greenway through a Brownfield’s Area-wide Planning process.


NPC obtains its own 501(c)(3) status.

Founder of Neighborhood Parks Council has Retired
The leadership of NPC reaches a moment of transition as founding executive director Isabel Wade moves on after 13 years of dedicated and passionate service. Isabel’s energy has propelled NPC to a leadership role in park organizing and advocacy in San Francisco and the nation.  She now passes the torch to Meredith Thomas.

ParkScan recognizes the launch of a partnership with the 311 system in San Francisco and the development of a ParkScan program in Portland, Oregon.


Passed Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond
Prop A, the Clean and Safe Neighborhoods Bond for $185 million passed by 71.6% of voters.  Prop A is the first bond in San Francisco’s new 10-year capital plan to upgrade the city’s declining physical facilities.

Blue Greenway Proposition D
The passing of Proposition D will provide as an optional financing tool to pay for improvements to Pier 70 including waterfront parks, remediation of environmental conditions, and rehabilitation of the history building.

Isabel Wade Wins Lifetime Achievement Award
NPC Executive Director Isabel Wade was selected by the Neighborhood Empowerment Network as the first-ever winner of the NEN Lifetime Achievement Award.


Playful City USA Award
Playground Initiative staff helped San Francisco secure KaBOOM’s Playful City USA designation from 2007 to 2010. This award honors communities who have taken innovative approaches to make play a priority for the health and well being of their kids.


ParkScan.org program rolled out nationally; Playground Campaign started Report Card
• The ParkScan.org program was launched nationally, with presentations in Oakland, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago
• Established annual playground maintenance report for each of the city’s 144 playgrounds.
• Improvements along the first mile of the Blue Greenway were celebrated at a launch in June, 2006.


Launched Blue Greenway Initiative
• NPC’s advocacy for the Blue Greenway, a waterfront trail along the Bay shoreline, spurred Mayor Newsom to create a Task Force.
• Established Stewardship Awards.


Published Green Envy Report
• Completed a two-year study on the critical gaps in San Francisco’s open space system with recommendations for policy changes and action.
• Developed monthly e-news and park calendar.


Co-sponsored Proposition C to require maintenance standards for parks and posting of staff schedules at each park
• This proposition has resulted in the development of park maintenance standards and posting of staff schedules on the RPD website. Bi-annual survey monitors implementation.


Playground Campaign & ParkScan.org started
• Published recreation guide for District 11.
• Organized Crocker-Amazon community to build their own playground, saving over $350,000 in construction costs for the city.
• Began development of the ParkScan.org program to hold the city accountable for park maintenance, and to direct limited city resources.


District Park Planning program established
• Created a monthly forum in each Supervisor District under a grant from the Board of Supervisors to encourage planning and joint problem solving between the Recreation and Park Department and the public.


Spearheaded ‘Parks Package’ on March 2000 ballot
• Drafted two ballot measures for parks (Propositions A & C) and coordinated the campaign (raising $250,000) to pass a $110 million bond and the renewal (for 30 years) of the Open Space Fund.


Prepared a budget analysis of the RPD budget and presented to Recreation and Park Commission and Department
• Analysis indicated that program and service priorities were devoted to revenue-generating activities — thereby shortchanging no-fee services such as neighborhood parks.


Published and distributed the Parks Plan
• Task Force Action Plan became the guiding document for both the public and the Recreation and Park Department in implementing needed management changes.


Community Park Task Force launched
• Created a citizens task force with San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Council (SPUR) involving 200 civic and community leaders, elected officials, and Recreation and Park Department management.
• Began publishing Parks Report newsletter.


Park group coalition established
NPC was founded by Isabel Wade.  It was started as a project under an umbrella non-profit organization, Urban Resource Systems.
• Began regular meetings with eight park groups providing volunteers for park maintenance (Today the coalition includes over 130 groups.)
• Began research and publication of more than 39 park histories.