In 2012, leaders from the Dane County Parks Commission started the Friends of Dane County Parks Endowment Fund, which was the initial program that later led to the formation of the Foundation for Dane County Parks. The Endowment Fund continues to be a major program of the Foundation, with over $600,000 in contributions.
The Endowment is housed in and managed by the Madison Community Foundation and provides permanent, non-supplanting funds to support three major purposes within the Parks:
- Interpretation – creating awareness and exploration of the cultural heritage, archeology, geography, climate and natural resources of Dane County.
- Education - engaging children, adults, communities, and organizations in outdoor learning and creativity.
- Volunteerism - supporting and encouraging individuals and groups to contribute their time, effort and resources for the benefit of their park system.
Starting in 2019, the Foundation began awarding grants from the Endowment to Friends and partner groups to fund projects supporting the parks. These grants are expected to be annual. Additionally, for the past six years the Foundation has awarded $2,000-4,000 to the Volunteer Program at the Dane County Parks Division.
One of the Foundation's goals is to continue to build the Endowment, so that its good work can be expanded in the future.
You can donate to the Endowment directly through Madison Community Foundation's donation page.