“If there is a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.” – Toni Morrison




On Friday, March 6, 2020 we unknowingly closed a book. We celebrated parks and the people that use them during our largest and most successful annual fundraising luncheon. At the time, we were the Indianapolis Parks Foundation – an organization that had existed for more than 25 years to raise money in support of Indy Parks. Our presenting sponsor was the former Indianapolis Power & Light Company, or IPL. We were a proud partner of the Central Indiana Community Foundation. We were a staff of six, located in the basement of a building in Downtown Indianapolis. On that day, we jokingly bumped elbows and optimistically shared a meal among old and new friends – some of us for the last time in months, years, or ever.

Just one week after the 18th Annual IPL Mayor’s Lunch for Parks, we joined people across the world in packing up our work stations to prepare for a different kind of work – school – life, as we entered into a national state of emergency. What I didn’t know at that time, is just how much would change for the Indianapolis Parks Foundation.

My step-daughter, a freshman at Indiana University, cut her spring break in Florida short and moved back into our home with only her vacation clothes. We shared a laptop for several weeks so she could complete her assignments and I could keep working remotely. My daughter finished her 4th grade year learning math from mom (or did mom learn math from her?) and how to socialize with friends over Zoom.

I quickly learned that no matter how much I tried, working from home was not my strength. I never realized how much I appreciated my routine, my time alone and my time with others, the difference between walking into my office verses walking into my home. We did, like so many others, begin to explore our local surroundings – we live on the northwest side, so Eagle Creek Greenway and Park became a great place to break from life and work at home.

Our board and staff had identified ambitious and strategic goals that had been set in motion before this shift in the world. These goals deserved to be achieved. We had to use this time to rewrite our story.

In the meantime, our team at Indy Urban Acres quickly rallied to grow and deliver even more free, fresh produce to some of our most vulnerable community members. And when elderly volunteers at the Old Bethel Food Pantry (one of Indy’s busiest food pantries) needed to stay safely at home, our team stepped up to keep the doors open and food available for customers experiencing food insecurity.

Our organization became a steward of resources to assist with emergency access to food throughout Indy Parks across our city. And as we started to settle into life at home, people turned to their neighborhood and city parks for much-needed relief from the ever-changing new normal.

In October of 2020, we officially reintroduced ourselves as The Parks Alliance of Indianapolis – a people-first organization committed to demonstrating the transformational power of parks by stewarding philanthropic gifts on behalf of Indy Parks and the people that use them.

In March of 2021, we returned to the basement office to officially move out and up – to the banks of the White River in the heart of Riverside Regional Park. We continue to grow our team, and are still a proud partner of the Central Indiana Community Foundation.

2021 marks 30 years and I cannot think of a better way to celebrate than rewriting our story. Taking this moment to mark three decades of success, and looking ahead to equitably building the next generation of parks in our city.

As we settle in to life as The Parks Alliance of Indianapolis, will you help us rewrite our story by making a year-end donation?  Every gift counts and we are counting on you to help us ensure our parks receive needed resources.