Kirkland is known for the important role that parks play in our city. The community’s parks are a key part of why people choose to live in Kirkland and the city has done an excellent job of securing land for and creating useable parks as well as maintaining them at a very high standard.
This all being said, the people in Kirkland are creative & passionate and they have ideas for things that could be done in our parks to make them even better. That is why the Kirkland Parks Foundation was started in 2015. Since our founding, our goal was to be the voice for the community, enabling its people to raise funds for projects in the parks that have clear community support and contribute to their overall well-being.
Over the last five years we have funded twelve projects raising more than $170,000 and have learned a lot in the process. One thing we discovered is that people in Kirkland have a lot of good ideas that go beyond just making our parks better; there is a great deal of energy and interest in the foundation expanding its scope to support community projects as well. (i.e. Santa’s Mailbox, KITE STEM project, etc.)
That is why we are changing our name and expanding our mission to become the Kirkland Parks and Community Foundation (“KPCF’).
Expanding our mission enables us to do a number of things:
First, KPCF will be able to help raise funds for projects that support key issues and projects that are important to the community. So, in addition to raising funds for improvements in our parks like a picnic shelter, dog fountain, learning garden, etc., we are now able to expand our efforts to include raising money for homelessness, education, etc.
With this is mind, KPCF’s first project will be to raise funds for a new counseling center inside The Sophia Way, the homeless shelter being built for women & children. KPCF will match dollar-for-dollar funds raised from the community up to $5,000 for a total of $10,000.
Another thing that we will be able to do is partner with the City of Kirkland to apply for local, state and federal grants that otherwise would not be available to the city. Often these government entities require a 501c (3) organization to be involved in the grant process and the KPCF would be able to fulfill this role with the City of Kirkland. This is a wonderful opportunity as Kirkland continues to grow and needs access to capital to fund this growth.
Corporations that are located in our community but headquartered elsewhere will also be able to take advantage of our new expanded focus. They’ve told us that having a community foundation enables them to access more funds from their head office to invest in our community than they otherwise would be able to if they made one-off requests for various local charities and events. There is a benefit for the corporation too – – they can simplify the time spent on philanthropic efforts by making make one donation to the KPFC with directions as to how the funds are to be distributed. In this way, the amount of philanthropic dollars is increased for distribution in the community. Since the KPCF is funding and marketing entity – not an operating entity, we do not compete for these donations but simply pass on them on as directed.
Finally, having the KPCF gives people a place to donate their philanthropic dollars that will support their local community. Right now, a lot these funds from the east side go to Seattle to the Seattle Foundation or other organizations because we don’t have a local community foundation. Establishing the KPCF gives local residents the opportunity to give locally.
The key to the long-term success of the KPCF is to continue increasing the number of projects so that at some point in the future, it becomes a fully self-sustaining organization. The Kirkland Parks Foundation was started as a 100% volunteer effort and this will continue through its transition to the KPCF for the foreseeable future.
To date, 100% of the funds that have been raised has been distributed towards each of the designated projects. The foundation has a built up a reserve over the past couple of years to fund its basic needs and is now able to selectively invest in key projects (i.e. The Sophia Way). As we develop a sufficient number of projects consistently in the pipeline, the KPCF will begin charging a small sponsorship fee that will go towards the ongoing operation of the organization.
Note that all donations received – whether designated for a specific project or unrestricted – are fully tax-deductible.
KPCF is an independent organization that works in conjunction with, but separately from the Kirkland Parks Department and the City of Kirkland.