Forest Park Forever is the steward for one of the nation's largest and oldest urban parks, Forest Park in St. Louis. This excerpt from their annual report highlights the diverse sources of funding that contribute to their extensive maintenance programs and capital improvements.
St. Louis, MO - A $150,000 gift from Monsanto for tree care equipment dedicated solely to the 14,000 trees of Forest Park was announced at the 16th Annual Meeting of Forest Park Forever. As part of the gift agreement, Forest Park Forever will fund the salaries of a new tree crew for the Park.
Other highlights of the meeting included the fruition of extensive master plan construction, major fundraising accomplishments and new education and outreach programs. In addition, five new board members were elected and James F. Mann was promoted to the position of President and Executive Director.
According to Board Chairman Lee Liberman, "This is a momentous time for urban park renewal. Throughout the United States, parks are being recognized as critical components of urban, neighborhood, and regional revitalization strategies. Nowhere is this trend more evident than right here in St. Louis, where City government has partnered with individuals, corporate leaders and foundations as Forest Park advocates and supporters. We are grateful for their confidence and their commitment."
Mayor Francis Slay added, "I'm thrilled that Forest Park Forever and the City of St. Louis are partners in this ambitious effort to restore Forest Park. Forest Park is truly a regional gem. The restoration of Forest Park is an essential foundation for a stronger, more vibrant city. By generating broad-based public input and financial support, you have engaged the entire metropolitan area in a form of urban renewal. The money invested to preserve Forest Park is money well spent."
$1.7 million in private capital funds were raised in 2001 on a goal of $1 million, and an additional $100,000 was raised for the Forest Park Trust maintenance endowment. To date, Forest Park Forever has raised $45 million in private capital funds, while the City of St. Louis has raised $45 million in public funds, allowing master plan projects to move forward rapidly. All major construction is scheduled for completion by 2004.
The Forest Park Forever Annual "Friends" campaign, which supports Park maintenance and education programs, surpassed its 2001 goal by $150,000, raising $1.45 million on the original $1.3 million goal. Key components of this increase were the record-breaking Women's Committee Leffingwell Awards Luncheon, a dramatic increase in Leffingwell Society donors ($1,000 + annually) from 27 members in 1997 to 460 members in 2001, and the growth of Annual Friends to 7,200 members.
According to President and Executive Director Jim Mann, "Forest Park Forever is committed to helping the City appropriately maintain and preserve Forest Park following capital improvements. Based on the preliminary findings of a maintenance and management study for the next ten years, we know that approximately $3 million in private funds will be needed each year to supplement the City's current maintenance resources. We hope to achieve this goal through a combination of Annual Friends contributions and income from the Forest Park Trust endowment. It is also critical that we engender Park stewardship in the youth of our community so that they recognize the importance of the Park to the stability of our region. We must secure the Park's future and keep it beautiful and accessible for generations to come."