The People, Parks, and Power initiative comes at a critical moment. Imbalances in political and economic power and a legacy of racial discrimination in the conservation movement have excluded groups led by people of color from full participation in park and green space work or have tokenized their involvement. The P3 initiative is grounded in the premise that urban parks are essential community infrastructure that should serve every neighborhood in a fair, just, and safe manner, without displacing longtime residents or community-serving businesses. P3 will support community-based organizations and base-building groups working in urban, low-income communities of color across the United States to increase park equity through local policy and systems change. The geographic focus of the P3 initiative is urban areas—with a particular interest in small and midsized cities (under 500,000 population).
African Americans, Latinos, and people living in low-income urban areas across the United States have disproportionately been denied the health, social, and environmental benefits of vital public spaces—inequities born from historical and current-day policies, systems, and norms. RWJF strongly encourages community-based organizations to apply, especially those led by people of color working to build community power at the citywide, countywide, or district-wide level. Until the policies, institutional practices, power dynamics, and problematic narratives that produced these inequities in the first place are transformed, park inequities will persist or worsen. Therefore, the “north star” of the P3 initiative is upstream policy and systems change, not planning, building, or operating individual, on-the-ground projects. RWJF is interested in funding a spectrum of eligible organizations across the United States that are either in the later or early stages of policy advocacy and systems change efforts to advance park equity.
Letters of interest are due November 4, 2021. Full proposals are due February 8, 2021.