The Friends of Sarasota County Parks, Inc. is a federally qualified 501(c)3 independent nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the parks, recreation areas, and natural resources. The Friends raises funds from individuals, corporations, and foundations to support projects important to the Sarasota County Department of Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources and to further our mission. The Friends, donor engagement programs, and the Friends for the Future are housed at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
Friends of Sarasota County Parks include a parent organization (often referred to as just “Friends”) plus park chapters. The chapters vary in number and reflect the changing interests of the groups. The number of chapters fluctuate tending to be around 15 active and others that come together for an activity, project, or program. Some of the older chapters are Friends of Carlton Reserve, Friends of Woodmere Park, and Friends of Urfer Family Park. The Friends provides the 501(c)3 nonprofit status and manages the accounting process for each chapter. The chapters work directly with County Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources on approved projects.
“Parks and recreation are critically important to the economic and environmental well-being of communities, and the physical and mental health of individuals,” Barbara Tulipane CEO of the National Parks and Recreation Association Mission
Friends of Sarasota County Parks, Inc. is a 501(c)3 volunteer lead organization committed to enhancing and supporting the extensive Sarasota County park system for the community and visitors to our area. During the past 13 years, the Friends have provided over 33,000 volunteer hours on County park projects and thousands of dollars in park enhancements/amenities. Recent major accomplishments include raising $297,000 towards the renovation of the Keith farmhouse in Phillippi Estate Park through the operation of a farmer’s market, a paver donation program at Siesta Key Beach ($108,000), and raised $72,000 to help fund a feasibility study for the extension of the Legacy Trail.
Friends of Sarasota County Parks is a partner-participant in Giving Partner, Giving Challenge, providing community services opportunities for hundreds of hours, and for-profit businesses that encourages their staff to give back to the community.