National Recreation Foundation

February 1, 2012, Department, by NRPA

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 well over $10 million dollars 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. This is an inexact science, and everyone is always seeking new and creative ways to address social issues faced by every community in the nation.

Project proposals come from the Trustee of the Foundation and from NRPA. No unsolicited proposals are accepted for consideration. The Foundation generally uses the following criteria in evaluating proposals for the projects:

• Programs should be innovative and should have the potential to contribute to life transformation for disadvantaged youth.
• Programs must have leverage potential, such as matching funds, or the development of partnerships or collaborations, that will enhance a grant’s effectiveness.
• Grant proposals should show how a program will be sustained at the end of the grant period.
• Programs should be capable of being replicated in other communities or agencies.

Replication of programs in order to benefit other communities and agencies throughout the country is a primary concern to the NRF and will be the focus in futures articles about NRF programs in Parks and Recreation.

The magazine is launching a new series spotlighting one or two programs each month with a brief description of the program. Appropriate contact information within the organization or agency that has been awarded the grant and is conducting the program will also be included.

For more information on NRF, please visit its website at