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People for Parks Records

Identifier: M/A 0363

Description of Contents

The records include administrative and financial documents, board of directors and committee meeting materials, newsletters, project and subject files, correspondence, promotional materials and limited photographs created or compiled by People for Parks from 1977 to 2015. The collection documents People for Parks’ park revitalization and fundraising efforts in coordination with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Projects of note include tree replacement, Longfellow Gardens landscaping, and memorial benches and paving stones at Lake Harriet Bandshell.

The materials are divided into five series. The Meeting Materials series and the Newsletters series are easy access points to the collection.

Additional descriptive information is included at the beginning of each series.


  • Creation: 1977 - 2017



The collection is available for use in Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library during the department's open hours.


People for Parks was a non-profit community organization dedicated to support of Minneapolis parks. Working in collaboration with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, People for Parks collected donations to benefit park recreation, horticulture, and amenities. From its founding in 1977 to 2010, People for Parks raised nearly $2 million for park projects. In 2020, People for Parks consolidated with the Minneapolis Parks Foundation.

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation was founded in 1977 to respond to the scourge of Dutch elm disease. In that year alone, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board lost 31,000 trees to the invasive disease. Local businesses were eager to donate to fight the spread of Dutch elm and replace removed trees, but some were unable to donate directly to a government entity. Minneapolis Parks Foundation was set up to receive these corporate donations. The foundation’s officers were current and former park board officials. In 1979, with the peak of Dutch elm response concluded, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s mission was expanded to raising funds for various supplemental park services not funded by tax revenue. Membership in the foundation was opened to all, and officers were drawn from membership. Under this new model, the foundation was renamed People for Minneapolis Parks Fund, or People for Parks, in 1981.

In the following decades, People for Parks led many projects in Minneapolis parks. Early efforts included the purchase of a portable stage for use at park events, creation of the rock garden (now, Peace Garden) near Lake Harriet, and planting memorial daffodils throughout the city. For nearly 20 years, the organization contributed substantial operating funds to the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra. In the 1980s and 2010s, People for Parks twice contributed to the Lake Harriet Bandshell revitalization, including the installation of memorial benches and paving stones.

People for Park’s activities decreased in the early 2000s. During this lull, the current Minneapolis Parks Foundation was founded as the primary philanthropic partner to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. After 2005, People for Parks once again increased its activities. The group focused on small donors and community-driven projects. On July 1, 2020, People for Parks transferred its assets to the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. The work of People for Parks continues under the Minneapolis Parks Foundation's People for Parks Fund.


4.62 Linear Feet (11 boxes)

Language of Materials


Donor Information

This collection was donated by People for Parks in March 2019 as accession 2019.05.

Related Materials in Hennepin County Library Special Collections

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jenna Jacobs from March to April 2020.

People for Parks Records
Jenna Jacobs
April 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Hennepin County Library Special Collections Repository

Minneapolis Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis MN 55401 U.S.A.