Sunday, July 19, 2009

Press Release: JPA Approved by Parks Commission

The Need for an American River Parkway Conservancy Via Approved Joint Powers Authority

Last month, the Sacramento County Recreation & Park Commission approved further discussion of a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) Agreement for consideration by the respective jurisdictions of Folsom, Rancho Cordova, Sacramento City, and Sacramento County.

ARPPS applauds the short-term purpose of this discussion approval which: “is to formalize the cooperative working relationship of each of these jurisdictions”; however, ARPPS does not approve the long-term goal which: “would be to impose a Benefit Assessment District for the American River Parkway” (Recreation & Parks Commission, June 25, 2009, Agenda Item 2, p. 2)

ARPPS noted in a January 18, 2008 press release that the concept of a benefit assessment district and subsequent property tax increase was not a good idea for an already over-taxed public, and a better method is to raise funds philanthropically.

What would allow the JPA to raise substantial supplemental funding would be for the JPA to create a nonprofit conservancy, the American River Parkway Conservancy is our suggested name, dedicated to the management and funding of the Parkway.

The ability of nonprofit organizations to raise funds for worthy causes, even in a bad economy, is well proven.

Last year over $300 billion was raised by nonprofit organizations nationally and 75% of that came from individual donors.

Creating a nonprofit organization and raising money philanthropically is the strategy taken by other signature parks, such as Central Park in New York City, where the Central Park Conservancy manages the park and raises funds, raising 85% of needed funding.

While there may be little to compare between Sacramento and New York City, we can compare the significance of Central Park to New York City, to the significance of the Parkway to the Sacramento region, and from that perspective learn valuable innovations about sustaining and enhancing our beautiful resource.

In addition to learning from others, it is also crucial to ensure that the executive management of a future Parkway Conservancy is a nonprofit management professional adept at raising funds in all of the ways necessary to be of significant financial help to the Parkway.

In addition to the ongoing strategy of social enterprise, there are many methods of fundraising:

• Annual giving programs such as direct mail, events, internet-based new media/direct response, telemarketing, and volunteer-led solicitations.
• Major giving programs such as corporate support, cause-related marketing, grants from foundations and government, major gifts from individuals, planned giving, and capital campaigns.

The well managed nonprofit that needs substantial amounts of money, like a Parkway Conservancy certainly would, will need to conduct all of these efforts throughout the year, while keeping the ongoing fundraising creative and vibrant to ensure the continued interest and loyalty of funders.

In the trying economic times our region has been dealing with, any discussion of increasing taxes is counter-productive; but the love our community has for the Parkway is very evident and, given professional nonprofit management and fund raising leadership, an American River Parkway Conservancy could be relied on to rally that love around preserving, protecting, and strengthening the Parkway long into the future.

Organizational Leadership
American River Parkway Preservation Society
Sacramento, California
July 14, 2009

Contact Information

David H. Lukenbill, Senior Policy Director
American River Parkway Preservation Society
2267 University Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95825
P: 916-486-3856 E:
W: B: