Exciting News!

Teamwork makes the dream work! 10 dynamic programs getting special funds in 2020

by Sara Hirschler on September 21, 2020

We are thrilled to announce the winners of this year’s Neighborhood Collaboration Grant! This annual grant encourages park stewards to team up and collaborate with other public space advocates in their community, including library friends groups and recreation advisory council members. 

With the support of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Friends of the Free Library, and the Knight Foundation, the Conservancy is proud to award the Neighborhood Collaboration Grant in 2020 to 10 dynamic programs that will bring exciting cultural and environmental community projects across the city. Most of these projects will be implemented in 2021.

Presented in alphabetical order, the programs are:

Culture at the Park! With Friends of Bardascino Park Group + Charles Santore Library: 

“Culture at the Park!” will bring Charles Santore Library’s World Traveling Trunks program to Bardascino Park. which is on the 1000 block of Carpenter Street. The World Traveling Trunks program is, in the words of the Free Library, a “cultural-themed ready-to-go program in a box” packed with books, music CDs, and basic educational resources to explore a country or a region in the world. 

Nature Walks, Nature Talks, and Garden Parties with Friends of Nixon/Cobbs + Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Center

The Nixon/Cobbs Library and the Cobbs Creek Environmental Center are less than a mile away from each other, but they are very disconnected. Between them is one of the most environmentally rich landscapes in the city. The two groups plan to improve the pollinator garden at the library and, when safe to do so, host garden garden parties and nature walks between the two spaces to help bridge the gap and demonstrate the value that both places have for our community.

Healthy Healing with FDR Park + Vare Recreation Center Advisory Council

As a pledge to heal communities through mind, body, and spirit, this one-day event at FDR Park in South Philly will feature various “stations” on the FDR Boathouse Lawn that focus on yoga, journaling and reflection, nutrition, and physical education and exercise. The goal is to change the dialogue and showcase new methods to step outside our comfort area, empowering each individual and allowing them to be a conduit for the growth of the communities we want to help shape. 

Horticulture Club with Friends of South Philadelphia Library + DiSilvestro Playground Advisory Council

This duo is teaming up to create a Horticultural Club! The joint program will include monthly plant swaps, field trips that expose the club to local gems such as Bartram’s Garden, and a speaker’s series at the library that will focus on local horticulture and plant life with a children’s component.

Teen leadership program with Friends of Lucien E. Blackwell Library + Friends of Malcolm X Park

This West Philly-based library and park will use their grant to develop a teen leadership program, with the goal to encourage more participation of young people in the public spaces’ programs and activities. In addition to being ambassadors for the two friends groups, the young adults will be empowered to take on leadership roles in their community and be able to hone their skill building and intentional learning experiences.  

Nicetown Friends + Hunting Park Community Garden

This North Philly library and community garden will launch a gardening workshop series with an aim to reach Nicetown Branch Library’s surrounding community. The program will target 4 age groups; from young children to adults, and include gardening  books giveaways, workshops on container gardens and air purification using houseplants, and more!

 Friends of Northwood Park + Friends of Frankford Library

Friends of Northwood Park in partnership with the Friends of Frankford Library, and Simpson Rec Center will create a fun dog-themed literacy program in the park! This initiative will partner with the already-existing “Read to a Dog” program (through the Friends of Frankford Library) to provide dog-themed reading opportunities, crafts, and activities to families in the neighborhood.

Friends of Matthias Baldwin Park + Friends of Aviator Park

Friends of Matthias Baldwin Park and Friends of Aviator Park are collaborating to use their parks as an educational resource, both for biology and history! The idea is to use the parks as an outdoor classroom for biology grades K-12 and for adults. By acquiring arboretum-grade tree tags for the more prominent species in both parks, these will serve as a teaching aid for students and a jumping off point for curious adults who visit the parks.

Friends of Mifflin Square Park + Friends of FDR Park

The “Park Ambassadors Program” will support and empower immigrant leadership in South Philly’s Mifflin Square Park and FDR Park and foster authentic dialogue, and help to build a leadership pipeline to their Friends Groups! All this while working with the community to create programming that reflects the diverse communities these spaces nurture.

Tacony Creek Park Keepers and TTF Watershed Partnership + Friends of the Frankford Library 

These Tacony Creek neighboring groups will produce a program that combines both reading and literacy with time spent outdoors on the Tacony Creek Park trail! By posting lawn signs displaying pages from nature themed children’s books, in English and Spanish placed along the trail, visitors and families can read a story and enjoy the trail as they walk to the next page. As a bonus, each family that visits the park and reads one of these books will be eligible to receive a free book when they visit the participating library locations!


To learn more about how to get involved with your local Park Friends Group visit loveyourpark.org.