Non-profit organizations, conservancies, community groups, school parks, neighborhood associations, and businesses are invited and encouraged to partner with the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) to enhance and improve parks, increase recreational and cultural opportunities and preserve natural areas in Austin.

At Austin Parks and Recreation we are committed to partnerships that align with our overall mission, vision, values, and provide benefit to the public and the Austin parks system. We actively seek partnerships with non-profit organizations, conservancies and businesses for park development, maintenance, management and programming. 

Partnership Goals and Initiatives 

  • Enhance and expand public use of Parks’ grounds and facilities
  • Encourage active recreation and healthy lifestyles
  • Improve environmental stewardship through public participation and education
  • Celebrate arts, culture, and history to build community and enhance racial equity at parks 
  • Maximize public benefit at minimum taxpayer cost
  • Align with Parks and Recreation Department's Long Range Plan
  • Reflect concepts in Imagine Austin's Comprehensive Plan 

PARKnership Configurations 

Partnership A

Programming, Operations, and Maintenance partnershipsPartnership A, otherwise known as Partner Operations and Management Agreement (POMA), is a document that outlines the roles, responsibilities, and rights of the owners and managers of a partnership. These partnerships successfully combine the assets of the public and private sectors in novel ways to create new and refurbished parks, greenbelts, trails, and other public assets in our community.

Partnership B

Community non-profit partnerships - Partnership B involves a partnership between community non-profit partners and the City of Austin. These partnerships help conduct ecological improvements or other community initiated projects in addition to the coordination of volunteers on parkland. These non-profit partners may have a formal agreement with the City of Austin, but it is not required for the partnership. 

Partnership C

Neighborhood/Community partnerships - Partnership C involves Neighborhood, Community, and "Friends of" groups that serve as advocates and stewards for their local park or facility. 

Partnership D

National and Local partnerships - Partnership D includes foundations, individual gifts, local businesses, and one-time funding donations that provide a wide range of activities including: park improvements, maintenance and management; programs and services; and donations and sponsorships. Examples include City Parks AllianceUS Soccer Association, and St. David's Foundation.

PARKnership Program Community Benefits 

In 2021 our non-profit partners invested nearly $14 million in park improvements in the Austin Parks System and provided high quality programs. We could not do what we do at Parks and Recreation without the active support of our nonprofit partners and conservancies. The Parks and Recreation Department is grateful for Austin’s diverse community of nonprofit organizations. Thank you to the many organizations that collaborate with the Department to further our mission, vision, and values!

Community partners

PARD has over 135 partners. Check out the Community PARKnerships Annual Report to learn more!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Will nonprofits be taking over parkland? Will it be privatized?

NO! Parkland belong to the City and to our community. Partnerships allows us to bridge the gap between public funding and what our parkland deserves. Nonprofits are phasing into maintenance and operations roles, but the City will always be the owner of the space and have operations within it.

Why do partnerships exist?

Park partnerships (PARKners!) successfully combine the assets of the public and non-profit sectors in novel ways to create new and refurbished parks, greenways, trails, and other public assets in our community. Partnerships between public agencies and community non-profits can help effectively build, renovate, maintain, and program parks. By teaming up, park agencies, non-profits, and community groups can help cities do a better job of meeting citizens' demands for more and better parks in the face of limited public resources. 

What does the partnership with the Trail Conservancy (TTC) look like?

Visit TTC's FAQ for more information. 

What does the partnership with Pease Park Conservancy (PPC) look like?

Visit PPC's FAQ for more information.