Meredith’s Blog

Celebrating 15 years of Park Stewardship

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011


Fifteen years ago Neighborhood Parks Council (NPC) was a fledgling nonprofit founded by Dr. Isabel Wade with just eight grassroots park groups. Our vision was the same as we hold to now: To engage citizens in improving generic viagra their public spaces.

Thanks to our coalition of volunteers and advocates, like you, we became a strong, unified voice for parks, recreation and open space. We changed the face of our city’s landscape, the management of our green spaces, and the policies that liquid cialis dose guide our open space system. Our coalition has secured millions of dollars in private funding for improvements and dedicated ephedrine viagra countless volunteer hours. Together, we passed park bond measures, increased government accountability, and made a more beautiful and sustainable park system for this and future generations.

Today, as we celebrate our many accomplishments we also look forward to an even more fruitful future. As you may know, we decided to partner with the San Francisco Parks Trust to create a new park-serving organization – the San Francisco Parks Alliance.

The mission of the Parks Alliance is to inspire and promote civic engagement and philanthropy to protect, sustain, and enrich San Francisco parks and green open spaces. We are equally committed to keeping strong connections to every neighborhood and will continue NPC’s legacy of informed se necesita receta para comprar cialis advocacy as a cornerstone of this new effort.

This October NPC will embark with the San Francisco Parks Trust to form the Parks Alliance. Through our efforts, we aspire to pioneer the vision for a national model for park-serving nonprofits. We hope you will continue to be an integral part of our future success by continuing to partner with us and results of viagra support our work.

Thank you for helping us successfully complete countless events and projects over the past 15 years. For more details on how the San Francisco Parks Alliance formed, please go to

For our Parks,

NPC staff and board

Update on the Formation of the San Francisco Parks Alliance

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

July 13, 2011

Dear Park Lover,

I am pleased to announce that on July 12, 2011 the members of the San Francisco Parks Trust (SFPT) voted in favor of forming a new, bigger and more effective park-serving organization for San Francisco in conjunction with the Neighborhood Parks Council (NPC). The cialis daily dosage new organization will be called the San Francisco Parks Alliance and I am asking for your help in ensuring its success as an advocacy, support and leadership entity for San Francisco parks and park users.

I hope that you have been tracking NPC’s updates about our efforts to form the San Francisco Parks Alliance (Parks Alliance) but if not, now is an excellent time to get involved. Here is an overview and next steps, cheap viagra online please keep reading.

NPC turns 15 this year. It is absolutely essential to managing an effective, efficient and vibrant non-profit that we step back from the day-to-day every so often and take a broader look at our efforts. As a part of examining our work, our mission, and our role in serving parks and open space in San Francisco, we took a deep look at how we conduct business as a non-profit and at our partners. We spent time talking with the Board and staff of the San Francisco Parks Trust and noticed that over the years, our two organizations began to serve park users in similar ways through programs such as fiscal sponsorship. We also noted that NPC’s vigorous advocacy was leading to a greater philanthropic investment in our parks and SFPT’s philanthropic contributions were leading to more park advocacy. As organizations, we asked ourselves- is there a need to create a new model for serving San Francisco parks and park users? In this depressed economic environment should we do all we can to reduce duplication of efforts and provide a stronger and united voice for parks?

By January of 2011, the Boards and staff of NPC and SFPT concluded that there was merit to the idea of exploring a new organization. We spent more time working with each other to develop a draft vision for a new park organization. We spoke with the Recreation and Park Department and park organization leaders from around the state to float our ideas and seek input.

In February of 2011, I began talking with NPC’s Coalition Steering Committee about how much does viagra cost the notion of joining forces with SFPT not simply as a merger of two organizations, but to form a brand new park-serving organization. The Steering Committee expressed that NPC’s strong connections to every neighborhood in San Francisco and informed advocacy must remain a corner stone of any new effort. They offered their help and guidance to craft the new organization, should we move forward with the idea. The Steering Committee’s feedback was brought to the NPC Board and to the joint working group of NPC and SFPT Board and Executive Directors that was now meeting on a regular basis.

By March of 2011 NPC and

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SFPT released the Green Paper (download it here:, our joint vision for the new parks organization we now call the San Francisco Parks Alliance. NPC featured the Green viagra men Paper at our Annual Meeting with the Mayor and began to have it on hand at each of our meetings and events since.

In April, NPC and SFPT held a joint stakeholder meeting at SPUR to get feedback on our vision and we worked to continue to refine our plans. We featured the cialis 5 mg idea in our enews and on Facebook, called our elected officials and various city park managers, and continued to use the input sent to us at, or by any other means, to build the concept.

In May, bolstered by the broad support we received for this idea, both the NPC and SFPT Boards voted to form a new park-serving organization, the San Francisco Parks Alliance.

On July 12, 2011, at the SFPT Annual Member Meeting, the final endorsement to form the San Francisco Parks Alliance was given.

The mission of the San Francisco Parks Alliance is to inspire and promote civic engagement and philanthropy to protect, sustain, and enrich San Francisco parks and green open spaces.

The Parks Alliance will launch this fall, and I would like your help. Please read the Green Paper, please send us your ideas, hopes, concerns, and dreams to or by calling our office at 415-621-3260. We will provide regular updates on our website, buy generic viagra canada

In order to craft an organization that I believe will become a national model we will need to build upon the strong community support both organizations bring viagra buy bangkok to our efforts. Please stay tuned and stay connected.

Thank you for your dedication to our parks and to NPC. I look forward to jumping into this new adventure with you!

For our parks,


Meredith Thomas
Executive Director
Neighborhood Parks Council

Planning for the Future

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

July 13, 2011: Update on the Formation of the San Francisco Parks Alliance from Meredith Thomas

I am pleased to announce that on July 12, 2011 the members of the San Francisco Parks Trust (SFPT) voted in favor of forming a new, bigger and more effective park-serving organization for San Francisco in conjunction with the Neighborhood Parks Council (NPC). The new organization will be called the San Francisco Parks Alliance and I am asking for your help in ensuring its success as an advocacy, support and leadership entity for San Francisco parks and park users.

I hope that you have been tracking NPC’s updates about our efforts to form the San Francisco Parks Alliance (Parks Alliance) but if not, now is an excellent time to get involved. Click here to read my full overview and next steps.

The Parks Alliance is seeking a dynamic and qualified professional to step into the role of Executive Director. A full job description is available here.

Green Paper describing the joint vision for a new organization for our parks and open space

Click here to download the Green Paper.

We welcome your feedback about the ideal park organization for San Francisco. Please send comments to

Thursday, April 14th joint stakeholder meeting held at the SPUR Urban CenterJoint Stakeholder Meeting

About 60 park stakeholders joined NPC and SFPT on April 14th to discuss a new organization for our parks and open space in San Francisco. The meeting was held at the SPUR Urban Center. Snacks were provided by Wichcraft

Missed the meeting? Minutes and materials are available at We welcome your feedback about the ideal park organization for San Francisco and can receive your comments:

-   via email at or via hardcopy by mailing your input to:

SFNPC Attn: Feedback
451 Hayes Street, 2nd Fl
San Francisco, CA 94102

March 21, 2011: Green Paper released and joint meeting announced for April 14

At NPC’s annual Meeting with the Mayor, we released hard copies of a joint “green paper,” composed by the Neighborhood Parks Council (NPC) and the San Francisco Parks Trust (SFPT). We are pleased to have the opportunity to share our early plans for a new city-wide organization for our parks and open space in San Francisco. If you do not get the opportunity to pick up a copy of this paper or missed the Meeting with the Mayor, you can download it here.

We are committed to receiving feedback from our stakeholders and therefore invite you to join us for a Joint Meeting between NPC and SFPT to discuss a new organization for our parks open space in San Francisco. Details for the joint meeting, to be held on Thursday, April 14, are listed above in the March 30, 2011 post.

March 1, 2011 : New unified city-wide park and open space organization envisioned

Dear Friends,

Since 1996, the Neighborhood Parks Council (NPC) has worked collaboratively with our coalition of park groups, community advocates and partners. As someone reading this message, we know that you have an interest and passion for your parkland. It is through park users and supporters, like you, that we are capable of giving our parks and open spaces an effective voice at City Hall. It is with your participation that we can continue to strive for a superior, equitable and sustainable park and recreation system for San Francisco.

As we celebrate our 15th anniversary as an organization, NPC has begun to work towards a vision for a comprehensive park resource and advocacy organization with the San Francisco Parks Trust (SFPT). With the substantial decreases in public funding for our parks, both organizations share the desire to safeguard the future of San Francisco’s green space. To this end, NPC and SFPT have been exploring the opportunity to create a unified organization that can ensure that volunteerism, civic engagement, advocacy, and philanthropy are coordinated and leveraged to achieve the best outcomes for our parks.

NPC and SFPT recognize that San Francisco citizens want and need a world-class, independent nonprofit to hold the vision for parks, align community needs with accountable management by our government, and provide resources for parks through volunteerism and philanthropy.

Moving forward, we are exploring whether a unified organization can eliminate duplication of efforts, be more efficient, and bring more resources to our parks. As our discussions continue, input from our coalition will be essential and ongoing. NPC will update this webpage with any information or documents that call for coalition feedback.

We welcome your feedback about the ideal park organization for San Francisco and can receive your comments:

-   via email at or via hardcopy by mailing your input to:

SFNPC Attn: Feedback
451 Hayes Street, 2nd Fl
San Francisco, CA 94102

For Our Parks,

Meredith Thomas, NPC Executive Director

Dolores Park Winter Meet-up for 2011

Monday, April 11th, 2011

On Thursday, February 24th, vipps certified online pharmacy canada

Dolores Park Works hosted generic viagra online the canadianpharmacy4bestlife Dolores Park Winter Meet-up. flushing and viagra At cheap viagra or cialis this pharmacyonline4better casual gathering, Dolores Park stakeholders and community leaders were able to voice their concerns about their beloved park. Among the community leaders was our Executive Director, Meredith Thomas, to premiere her presentation, “Dolores Park: 100mg viagra pfizer San Francisco’s Most Over-Loved Living Room.”

The event has been captured here.

Proposed Charter Amendment to Split RPD Commission Appointments

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

How can we be certain this will benefit our parks and park users?

A proposed 100mg viagra effects Charter Amendment (download here) would shift appointments to the Recreation and Park Commission from solely the Mayor to a split appointment process in which the Mayor would what does cialis feel like appoint 3 seats, the Board of Supervisors would appoint 3 seats and one seat would be a joint appointment between the Mayor and cialis online the President of the Board of Supervisors. The amendment would also allow for Commission decisions to be appealed to the Appeals Board. A public hearing on the amendment was cheap viagra 100mg tablets held Friday, June 18th at 10am at City Hall. An agenda can buy cialis doctor online be found here:

NPC does not support the proposed Charter Amendment because there is no guarantee that the change will make measurable and certain improvements to our parks and benefit park users. Proponents of cheap viagra the amendment assert vardenafil vs viagra that the change would democratize the appointment process, though idaho state board of pharmacy the Board currently has approval over Commission appointments. In addition to lacking guaranteed benefits to parks, the amendment could result in additional bureaucracy with the inclusion of the Appeals Board.

The NPC and the NPC Steering Committee feel strongly that park advocates should focus their efforts on ensuring that anyone who is elected to hold office in San Francisco commits to parks and open space as a top priority. Additionally, NPC feels that current frustrations with the Commission center on a heart attack with viagra lack of public participation in the decision making process. Many people cannot take time away from work to testify at the Commission hearing and the format itself can be an intimidating one in which to speak. NPC will work with RPD staff and Commissioners to improve the process through which decisions are made and ensure that there is robust public participation. NPC proposed convening a series of town hall meetings on a quarterly basis that will allow for identification of park user issues and provide a forum for input not tied to the limits of public comment or only at the moment in which a decision is about to be made.

NPC will provide more updates viagra sample on this issue as it unfolds.

Intro to April eNews

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Dear Friends,

This month we kick off our annual Playground Initiative efforts to identify and improve dilapidated playgrounds citywide. Please join us in supporting healthy play spaces for kids by making a gift to our Playground Initiative Matching Challenge. Thanks to a generous challenge grant from the Mimi and Peter Haas Fund of $15,000, every dollar you give to support our work goes twice as far! See more information in this issue of our enews and click HERE to give! Thank you so much!

Bond funding to repair and improve our neighborhood parks is on the way at last, and your involvement in park improvements is essential. In February of 2008, voters approved the $185 Million Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond. In addition to the 11 neighborhood parks that received dedicated funding for park repair, free standing restrooms, trees, trials, playfields and community projects via the Opportunity Fund are also going to benefit from financial support.

This spring, the proposed plan for how neighborhood groups can apply for park improvements, called the Opportunity Fund, is set to go before the Recreation and Park Commission for approval. The $5Million pot of bond money will be invested in park improvement projects requested by community groups who are also making a sweat equity (volunteer) commitment to their park. NPC urges you to learn about the Opportunity Fund and we will be keeping you informed about important dates related to this park improvement money. According to the draft timeline, applications for park projects would be due to the Recreation and Park Department in the Summer of 2010.

See for more information on bond planning to date. Also see:

In order for the bond funds to go as far as possible and make meaningful improvements to our parks, you and your neighbors need to get involved. By working with the Recreation and Park Department on bond improvements, neighbors can improve plans, set future goals for the park and identify new volunteer opportunities to keep the park looking great after work is complete.

Linden Alley progress; Mini park maintenance; RPD budget planning; Vacant lots to parks?

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

More updates from our Executive Director, Meredith Thomas:

1. Linden Alley progress: After nearly 4 years of work to green Linden Alley with support from the Community Challenge Grant Program and Supervisor Mirkarimi, the project is getting close to reality. It is a pilot for the city so online pharmacy lortab there were a number of complicated steps to work through.

The project, which will focus on a portion of Linden Alley viagra and drinking at Gough Street, will table the street to the level of the sidewalk, add trees and planted areas, along with seating and traffic calming. The Board of Supervisors is in the process of accepting the street, and a final fundraising push is underway. Everyone that has been involved hopes that we finish this exciting project in 2010!

2. Local 261 to partner with RPD for mini park maintenance: NPC is in the initial stages of planning a pilot program with RPD and Local 261 to care for mini parks. The idea behind the program is that mini parks require great deal of time to maintain, and there are more efficient ways to provide maintenance than is currently being done.

Local 261 staff would have oversight of the mini parks and provide the ongoing care. NPC would work to engage standing pharmacy online community support and volunteerism in conjunction with RPD and Local 261.

3. Welcome new Park canada pharmacy online Commission President: NPC’s Board Chair, Jim Sutton, and I met with Mark Buell, the new Rec and Park Commission President last week. We welcomed him to the Commission and provided him with some background about our work. We discussed how our vision and advocacy for parks align, and presented him with a park and NPC information binder. President Buell has a long history with San Francisco government and with parks. He believes in the value of an independent voice for parks.

4. RPD budget work group: I will participate in a working group of RPD staff and other partners over the buy cialis in uk online next month to establish a healthy budget range for RPD. Currently, we know that the operating budget is about $117M, but no one quite knows how big it should be. Before we can come up with a holistic plan to stabilize RPD’s financial situation, we need to know what our target budget size is.

generic pharmacy

5. Temporary parks in vacant lots? A couple of weeks ago I participated in a salon at SPUR with a group led by Rebar, to discuss tools and criteria for allowing interim use of vacant lots for park space and programming. Currently, property owners awaiting development keep vacant cialis and levitra combination lots chained off. But with the economic slump, those lots may sit vacant for years. So now there is a groundswell of interest to create agreements with property owners that would allow lots to be used temporarily as public spaces. More to come on that.

RPD Budget Process Update: Important Innovation and Tough Choices

Friday, February 19th, 2010

RPD LogoFebruary 19, 2010: Now that the Recreation and Park Commission has approved the Department’s plan for accommodating the 30% reduction ($12.4 million) in support from the City’s General Fund, the lengthy process begins for the Mayor’s Office and Board of Supervisors to build out San Francisco’s Budget. Over the next several months, the City will be working to tackle and immense budget shortfall of more than $450 million, and their choices will affect parks. NPC will be engaging in this process and we will keep you in the loop.

The good news is that there are a number of innovative solutions proposed by the Recreation and Park Department (RPD) that will deal with the budget shortfall, and could change the way that RPD operates for the better.

While NPC does not support every aspect of the proposed budget cuts and revenue generation ideas put forth by RPD (more on that below), there are several key initiatives that we are very excited about.  You can view the two presentations from RPD on the budget and changes to recreation here (Full Commission Presentation | Recreation Changes Presentation). Once you have read this post and review these presentations, please let us know what you think. Send emails to

NPC Supports the Following Key Elements:

1. RPD connected the budget process directly to the mission and principals of the Department. NPC feels strongly that all revenue generation and expenditure cuts must be made within the context of RPD’s mission, and must be as responsive to neighborhood park and recreation needs as possible. While conversations will continue for several months about the details of the budget, park advocates can see how RPD linked the proposed plan to the mission in the budget presentation.

2. RPD and Local 261 are establishing the first Gardener Apprentice Program in the state of California.  This means career-track development of horticultural professionals who will hone their skills both in the field and in the classroom. The move to employ apprentices allows RPD to save on labor costs while hiring new staff.

3. RPD is restructuring recreation in a manner that will result in more program hours and allow recreation professionals to focus on their areas of expertise: sports and athletics, community services (like tiny tots), cultural arts, and leisure services (like waterfront sports). While there will be reductions in recreation staff, the goal with the new recreation model is to increase what RPD can offer and position the Department for growth when funding becomes more stable. RPD has also committed to ensure that the ability to pay is never a barrier to participation. It is worth looking at the Recreation Changes Presentation and sharing this new model, a national best practice, with your park group.

4. RPD, Local 261 and NPC are working to pilot a partnership to maintain mini parks in San Francisco, a move that would increase the overall maintenance of the mini parks and leverage additional support of the surrounding communities. (This is a revenue-neutral, but community- positive, budget element.)

5. New amenities and programs that will generate revenue and activate park space. NPC believes there are opportunities to generate revenue in appropriate ways in our parks. Many people enjoy the ability to get a bite to eat and a cup of coffee while at Crissy Field, and that concept can be adapted for our city parks. Additionally, there are many types of adult recreation that San Franciscans enjoy that are not currently being offered by RPD.

NPC Does Not Support:

  1. The sale or long-term lease of parkland for non-park uses. Parkland is too precious and hard to come by to sell as a one-time solution to a budget problem.
  2. Using fees to solve the budget crisis. Fees directed at park users should be a last resort for solving a budget crisis.
  1. Generating revenue in a manner that does not compliment or enhance neighborhood park character.

As our past updates have told you, NPC is committed to helping RPD build a more stable finance package to avoid the severe cuts faced by the Department over the last several years.

Again, we would like to know what you think. Please email your thoughts to and stay tuned for more information on the budget, especially for opportunities to participate.

For information on the proposed non-resident entrance fees to the Botanical Garden, please click here.

Thank you for loving your parks!

New Year, Stronger Initiatives: Please Support NPC in 2010

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Hello Friends,

HAPPY NEW YEAR! We hope you are well rested and had a great holiday. The team at

NPC is ready to keep San Francisco parks a top priority in 2010! We would love your help!

The staff at NPC will be working toward a number of exciting milestones, and continuing our important initiatives and advocacy work in the new year.  You can look forward to:

  • PlayDay 2010: NPC will kick off the next round of reports cards for the City’s 144 playgrounds, which will identify the best places for our kids to play and where the city can do better in providing safe playgrounds.
  • NPC is also working to gather suggestions and implement creative solutions to help address the budget challenges for the Recreation and Park Department. We are committed to helping preserve core services for our neighborhood parks.
  • Building on the success of our 2009 Open Space Workshops, NPC remains committed to ensure City policy is real and action oriented. Our efforts lead San Francisco’s vision for today, tomorrow and the next 100 years.

What can you do to help?

NPC needs YOUR help to achieve our goals. Your donation directly supports staff time for volunteer training, advocacy, research and coalition building.

  • $100 will allow NPC to be the voice of parks at City Hall
  • $250 will allow NPC to help train the next generation of open space advocates
  • $500 will allow NPC to expand the impact of ParkScan by raising awareness and training community members on its uses
  • $1000 will allow NPC to work directly with volunteers in park-deficient neighborhoods to help them craft a plan for more parks close to home

Please consider donating to Neighborhood Parks Council today, and get us started off on the right foot! You can make a secure donation by visiting If you need assistance, please feel free to call Anita at 415-621-3260 and she will be happy to help.

On the behalf of the NPC staff, Board of Directors, volunteers and myself, we hope you have a prosperous new year.

Meredith Thomas, Executive Director

February eNews Welcome

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Dear Coalition,

Because you love your parks, I urge you to become involved with the Recreation and Park Department’s

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budget planning this month. RPD’s budget proposal is due to the Mayor’s office on February 19th and will include a combination of cuts in spending and sources of new revenue. NPC is working with RPD to make sure that the difficult financial choices the Department has to make will be done in a manner that is guided by RPD’s mission to foster the well being of San Franciscans and maintain beautiful parks and open spaces.

Specifically, NPC is seeking your input on the seven draft budget principals that RPD is using to guide the budget process (click here to download RPD’s budget presentation ). While the first draft of the budget plan will go to the Mayor’s office in mid-February, many months of work lies ahead on the City’s budget. It is important as park advocates that we have clear goals related to the budget in mind in order to ensure the best possible outcome for parks in a very difficult year. Please email your feedback to

Further, NPC continues to work with RPD on identifying new financing models for the Department to ensure adequate funding. Many of you participated in the Mayor’s Open Space Task Force and subsequent open space planning meetings NPC facilitated last year. A number of smart revenue generating ideas and financing tools emerged from those discussions. NPC will be spending time with RPD and our other partners this year to create a park financing action plan. NPC believes new revenue generation is a must for RPD though its success lies in the way RPD partners with the community to identify opportunities are are appropriate for our neighborhood parks. Please let us know if you have a particular interest in working with us on the park financing action plan.

- Meredith Thomas