Friends of Santa Cruz County Parks

Activating the power of our parks

aka County Park Friends   |   Santa Cruz, CA   |  www.countyparkfriends.org

Mission

Our Mission is to preserve, protect, improve and promote the use of ​Santa Cruz County parks and open spaces for recreational activities, arts and cultural activities to benefit ​all generations in our diverse community.

Ruling year info

1989

Executive Director

Ms. Mariah Roberts

Parks and Programs Specialist

Ms. Aniko Millan

Main address

870 17th Ave. STE 2

Santa Cruz, CA 95062 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Supporters and Helpers of Parks, Arts, Recreation

EIN

77-0209249

NTEE code info

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (N12)

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Our County Parks, beaches and public spaces offer vast potential for health, connection and community. However, barriers to access exist. Our community needs clear pathways to connect people with their places, for the benefit of all. For some, barriers include knowledge, accessibility, familiarity, transportation or program fees. For others, there is a lack of clarity about how to improve, volunteer or support a beloved space. We work with community partners to define specific barriers and co-design pathways to activate and enjoy our parks.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Invest in PEOPLE

County Parks Friends works to activate the power of parks. Santa Cruz County Parks, Beaches and Trails belong to all of us, and Friends works to make sure they are places everyone belongs.

We Invest in People to develop Park Access & Equity in Santa Cruz County, activating the power of our green spaces to support health for all. Access to green space is a measurable social determinant of health, but barriers exist for those who might benefit most. We accomplish this through: 1. Staff who represent professional parks expertise, a diversity of racial identity and physical ability. 2. Community Mobilization Leadership program to build trust, capacity and shared expertise. 3. Community co-design process for improved programs, training and policies. 4. Park Prescription framework to link health outcomes directly to parks resources. 5. Outdoor Career Pathways development to invite the leaders of tomorrow.

Population(s) Served
People of African descent
People of Latin American descent
Families
People with disabilities
Economically disadvantaged people

​We offer clear pathways for philanthropists, businesses and community leaders to help fix, support or invest to improve our precious spaces. There are 50+ Santa Cruz County Parks and Beaches, covering more than 2000 square acres across the community. At least 14 have community-designed landscape master plans, but not one is fully realized, due to lack of funds to build​.

For parks with existing, but unfunded, master plans, we offer support for fundraising and campaigns. For parks with outdated/no master plan, we work with community and co-design what should be prioritized for the spaces they love.

Completed projects include launch of "LEO's Haven Inclusive Playground at Chanticleer Park", the accessible "Cement Ship Skatepark and Art Feature" at Seacliff Village Park, and the new accessible "Hidden Beach Playground" replacement. Current campaigns include "Fixing Up Floral Park," and the NRG Rio Flats Mural project. Together - We CAN.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of free participants on field trips

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children, Preteens, People of Latin American descent, Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

As part of our COVID-response, we created outdoor ecosystem camps free to families for economically Distance Learning Campers/Pods from Watsonville providing enrichment after laptop learning was done.

Total number of fields trips

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, Families, Economically disadvantaged people, People with disabilities

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

This includes our COVID response Distance Learning enrichment camps, as well as small group park camps/classes offered free in parks.

Number of grassroots organizations supported

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Ethnic and racial groups, Family relationships, Social and economic status, People with disabilities

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Recognizing existing expertise, we partner and invest in grassroots orgs who have trusted positions within communities of interest. All our programs includes co-design and co-definition of success.

Number of community events or trainings held and attendance

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Ethnic and racial groups, Family relationships, Health, Social and economic status

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

During COVID, we've been focused on helping partners and community leaders learn how to hold safe activities in parks. Each includes leadership training and protocol training for the attendees.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We work to connect people and places for the benefit of all. With our public partner, the County Parks Department, we provide accessible, inclusive parks and programs to all generations in our diverse community.

We increase access through targeted outreach, scholarship and collaboration with community partners. We view our partners as assets with key community expertise and valuable input. Together, we support play, activity, health and connection.

We invite participation by community groups, businesses and organizations who care about our County Parks and places to organize, fundraise and serve. We view this participation as a key ingredient in a healthy community; with value both tangible and experiential.

County Park Friends invests in People and Places, with community-led co-design of program and policy as the foundation for change. Our strategic goals draw from a Countywide Strategic planning process that involved thousands of our community members and was adopted in late 2018. In partnership with our public Parks Department partner, we aligned and designed strategies to be complementary and provide a collective impact. County Parks maintains 49 parks and beaches covering 2000 acres of beautiful Santa Cruz County. 14 of these parks have existing community designed master plans, but not one has been fully built due to lack of funds. Many have not yet benefitted from the community input process leading to a master plan.

Invest in People: We accomplish this through: 1. Staff who represent professional parks expertise, a diversity of racial identity and physical ability. 2. Community Mobilization Leadership program to build trust, capacity and shared expertise. 3. Community co-design process for improved programs, training and policies. 4. Park Prescription framework to link health outcomes directly to parks resources. 5. Outdoor Career Pathways development to invite the leaders of tomorrow.

Invest in Places: We accomplish this through: ​1. Fiscal sponsorship of park Improvement campaigns, 2. Supporting Park Adoptions 3. Fiscal sponsorship of aligned emerging non-profits and projects 4. ​Improvement Project support and management.

Our organization is designed to be the a nimble, active, creative non-profit partner our Parks system needs to thrive. With a strong foundation of community support and input, we provide the complementary role needed to connect people with their parks and places.

Our leadership team brings a wealth of experience from land use, education and healthcare to assess and target barriers, then collaborate to design solutions for impact and growth. We approach each barrier with an eagerness to learn and an eye on affecting systemic change.

We have a strong working partnership with our Parks department, based in the public's defined priorities and clear roles. We have established working relationships with community, philanthropic, and service organizations.

Our Board and Advisors bring a wealth of expertise and community representation that informs all of our work and ground us in the communities we serve.

2021
Spring 2021: 4 Mayors + County scale up ParkRx "Outside the Frame" pilot countywide.
Completed Hidden Beach fundraising
Launched Floral Improvements

Summer 2021: Scaled up/delivered 2020 pilots "Outdoors to Heal" free activities, serving people across the county with community leader co-designed pandemic-safe programming.

Fall 2021: ROVING RANGER: PARKS TO SCHOOL - Active 10/1/21
COVID-safe, culturally competent Visiting Field Trips, w/ ParkRx Challenges for 800+ students

YOUTH LEADERSHIP - CAREER PATHWAYS - co-designed with Live Oak families - Submitted
CA State Parks Outdoor Equity Program Grant - Youth Outdoor Leaders of Live Oak
County Park Friends, County Parks, LOC2C, State Parks, Friends of SP, Land Trust of SCC, YFIOB

POLICY & SYSTEMS CHANGE - Coalition in Planning Stage
RWJF's People, Parks and Power grant - U. Way, TWDCC/SCBHMI, County Park Friends, County Pub Health, City of Wats, City of Santa Cruz

2020
● Opened LEO's Haven inclusive playground, designed and funded through our private-public partnership.
● Continued collaborative ParkRx framework in collaboration with Parks and Public Health to increase access and impact
● Began work with multiple philanthropists to support additional County Parks and spaces.
● Launched first cohorts of expanded Learn-To-Swim program for MediCal eligible populations.
● Opened Seacliff Village County Park skateable sculpture element, funded through private-public partnership.
● Launched new campaign with community partner to support Hidden Beach County Park through private-public partnership.
● Co-Designed Pandemic Pivots for all programs targeting those disproportionately affected.
● Invested in community leaders to provide relevant safe programming and info in parks during the pandemic.
● Co-created and promoted virtual content - investing of/by and for communities most affected from design to launch.
● Facilitated first steps in a ParkRx process with medical partners.

2019
● Established updated Memorandum of Understanding with County Parks partner
● Accepted into OF/BY/FORALL, informing our framework for engagement & impact
● Launched Membership Program to fund youth scholarships
● Engaged with youth (juv. probation and others) to co-design relevant activities and inform park staff
● Trained 40+ teachers and community partner staff in social inclusion programming
● Supported LEO’s Haven construction completion
● Expanded scholarship program, co-designed eligibility/outreach w/ community input.
● Hosted ParkRx staff for facilitated conversation with public health and parks leaders
● Began work with multiple philanthropists to support additional County Parks and spaces.
● Defined 2020 capacity needs for successful fulfillment of community goals

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    With a renewal of this organization in 2019, we identified our swim scholarship program as an area for growth. Through partnership with community groups and leaders, we co-designed an assessment for families to asses barriers to this resource. The input and data collected with from this co-designed assessment has led to changes in scholarship amount, application process, scope and length of program. Shifting our model to one that acknowledges community as the very asset needed to achieve success has indeed proven valuable.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection,

Financials

Friends of Santa Cruz County Parks
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Friends of Santa Cruz County Parks

Board of directors
as of 11/8/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Teresa Corwin

Friends of Santa Cruz County Parks

Term: 2018 - 2021

Raymon Cancino

Community Bridges

Adele Gardner

Santa Cruz Childrens School and Foundation (ret)

Kate Pavao

Live Like Coco Foundation

Nancy Gerdt

Felton Library Friends

Kim Said

Hutchinsen and Bloodgood LLP

Lesley Harris

Law office of Lesley Harris Esq

Lilia Chagolla

Alliance for Health Central Coast

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 01/13/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Decline to state

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/13/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.