National Recreation Foundation Spotlight

April 1, 2012, Department, by NRPA

As part of an ongoing series on the National Recreation Foundation, Parks & Recreation highlights grant recipients for the foundation’s program benefitting at-risk youths. This month features programs from Michigan, Texas, and New Jersey.

Cranbrook Schools Horizons-Upward Bound: Exercise, Gardening, and Reading Grant— $99,000. This grant will help support the “Exercise, Gardening, and Reading” program, which seeks to help students develop leadership skills, healthy habits, and improved physical fitness. Horizons-Upward Bound (HUB) has been improving the quality of life in the Detroit metropolitan area for more than 40 years by offering a program that encourages youth to view education as a means to economic and social mobility. This particular program provides comprehensive academic enrichment and physical activities with the interdependent components of exercise, gardening, and vocabulary building. HUB primarily serves students from the city of Detroit who are from high poverty areas and are potential first-generation college students.  

Sequor Foundation: Texas Partnership for Out-of-School Time Grant—$30,000. Sequor Foundation is a charitable foundation that works to coordinate with multiple nonprofit agencies to better meet the needs of at-risk youth in Texas. One such nonprofit that the foundation has partnered with is the Afterschool Alliance. This organization is working to ensure that all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs. The Afterschool Alliance is aiming to create a sustainable structure of statewide, regional, and local partnerships; secure necessary resources; and support statewide systems to ensure that the programs are high quality.

Greater Newark Conservancy: Urban Farming/Food Access Initiative Grant—$30,000. The Urban Farming/Food Access Initiative is a pilot program which expands on the current community greening project. Its goal is help low-income inner-city residents increase access to affordable, healthy foods. Like many urban centers, Newark’s residents have limited access to fresh, nutritious foods and have a high rate of obesity. In order to improve access to healthy, fresh foods for Newark’s low-income inner-city population, the Greater Newark Conservancy is establishing nearly two dozen urban farms on city-owned vacant lots in Newark, and guiding residents in the process of growing their own produce. Funding from the NRF reaches 96 families at 12 gardening sites. 

The National Recreation Foundation. The National Recreation Foundation and NRPA, along with its predecessor organizations, have had a close working relationship since 1919. The Foundation has supported many programs and activities through NRPA for all of those years, including the National Recreation School, the World Leisure and Recreation Association, and many other programs of the former National Recreation Association and NRPA. In more recent years the Foundation’s endowment portfolio has grown significantly, which has made possible the funding of more than $10 million of NRPA programs and activities. In addition to NRPA, the NRF supports many other not-for-profit organizations and government agencies throughout the United States.  In 2010-2011 grants were made to 36 programs for a total of just under $2 million. 

The mission is “to be a life-enhancing force on the youth of the nation by investing strategically in recreation with a special focus on programs for those that are economically, physically, or mentally disadvantaged.” The NRF gives funding priority to organizations working to coordinate efforts among local, state, and national agencies that address this mission, as well as to programs focusing on outcomes leading to significant social change. The Foundation views recreation and the leisure services as a broad and holistic perspective that assists youth-at-risk by encouraging healthy lifestyles for all.