Survey Finds Strong Support for Park and Recreation Partnerships With Schools

(August 31, 2021)

Park and recreation partnerships with schools provide equitable access

Eighty-two percent of U.S. adults agree it’s important that park and recreation agencies and local schools partner to ensure equitable access to open spaces and facilities, according to a newly released National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) poll. These partnerships provide community members the ability to use amenities on school grounds outside of school hours or school-sponsored activities, including:

  • School playgrounds
  • School fields

More than three in five U.S. adults say these partnerships are extremely or very important, with the strongest support coming from parents (73 percent), those identifying as Hispanic (72 percent), Millennials (70 percent), and those identifying as Black or African American (69 percent).

“Educators and park and recreation professionals share a common goal — to support community members by providing increased physical activity opportunities that improve mental and physical health and well-being,” said Kevin Roth, NRPA vice president of research, evaluation and technology. “By working together and combining resources, we can strengthen and expand the number of quality recreation opportunities available to the community.”

NRPA supports efforts that increase public access to parks, nature, green spaces and other physical activity options, including promoting joint use agreements (JUAs) between park and recreation departments and local schools. These partnerships allow for greater public access to playgrounds, sports fields and other outdoor open spaces outside of school hours. NRPA is focused on ensuring that JUAs are implemented in an equitable manner so that all community members may benefit.

To view the interactive charts with the survey results, click here.

To view the full-size infographic, click here.

To learn more about NRPA, visit


About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit