ASHBURN, Va. — The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) today announced a $1.5 million contribution from The Walt Disney Company in support of the association’s national Meet Me at the Park program, which helps bring the fun of parks and recreation to children and families across the United States. Meet Me at the Park includes an Earth Month campaign as well as a healthy living initiative, focused on play space grants.
This is the fourth year NRPA and The Walt Disney Company have teamed up to celebrate Earth Month by helping to fund local park improvement projects in 16 U.S. cities. Additionally, NRPA and Disney will collaborate with recreation agencies in 50 states on a healthy living program that seeks to increase the amount of time children and families spend at parks by increasing access to play spaces.
During the month of April, the public will have the opportunity to vote for one of three projects in 15 select cities to receive $20,000 in grant funding. Voters can also nominate a city or town anywhere across the country to be entered for the chance to receive a $20,000 grant that will be used to support a local park within that community. The areas participating in Meet Me at the Park include one “wild card” city and:
- Austin, Texas
- Fresno, California
- New York, New York
- Brevard County, Florida
- Hartford, Connecticut
- Orlando, Florida
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Houston, Texas
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Chicago, Illinois
- Los Angeles, California
- San Francisco, California
- Durham, North Carolina
- Miami, Florida
- Seattle, Washington
Started in 2014, the Meet Me at the Park Earth Month campaign seeks to improve local parks through projects that connect kids to nature, inspire healthy living and provide access to sports. These projects include activities such as environmental education programming, improving trails and refurbishing playgrounds or soccer fields. In 2017, more than 300,000 people were impacted by the Meet Me at the Park Earth Month campaign — including:
- 175,848 people with improved access to physical activity
- 161,449 people with improved access to nature
- 125,935 people with improved access to healthy food
- 32,926 people with improved access to sports
“At NRPA we believe everyone deserves a great park. That’s why we’re proud to collaborate with The Walt Disney Company on this campaign,” said Lori Robertson, NRPA director of conservation. “Everyone is encouraged to join us in giving back to the places that shape so much of our lives by participating in this year’s campaign. A vote for your favorite park is all it takes.”
Public voting for the Meet Me at the Park Earth Month campaign will take place April 1–30. People can vote daily online at www.nrpa.org/DisneyMeetMeAtThePark. The park project with the most votes in each city at the end of the month will receive $20,000 in grant funding. Similarly, the wild card (or write-in) city with the most nominations at the end of the month will receive the same funding, as well.
The participating cities of the Earth Month campaign along with the selected projects from the healthy living initiative will be announced June 1, 2018, and will implement their park improvement plans this summer, with opportunities for volunteers to help bring park projects and programs to life. Everyone who votes will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one GoPro Prize Pack (No purchase necessary; must be 18+. For rules, visit www.nrpa.org/DisneyMeetMeAtThePark). Voters also are encouraged to celebrate earth at their favorite park and take a selfie using the hashtags #MeetMeAtThePark, #Parkies and #CelebrateEarth.
During the month of April, a public service announcement supporting the Meet Me at the Park Earth Month campaign will be shared on various Disney platforms, including ESPN, ABC Television Network, ABC-owned and affiliate stations, Freeform, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Radio Disney, the ABC app and other digital platforms. The PSA also will be available to view on the voting site at www.nrpa.org/DisneyMeetMeAtThePark.
SOURCE: National Recreation and Park Association press release