Park Pride’s MLK Working day fairness update

By Guest Columnist MICHAEL HALICKI, govt director of Park Pride

Monday, Jan. 18, is the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Company, an occasion that calls on us all to honor the legacy of Dr. King and to look at no matter if our personal actions abide by in his illustration.

Michael Halicki

Michael Halicki

In line with the spirit of the working day, I want to offer a handful of updates on Park Pride’s initiatives to deepen our determination to Range, Equity, and Inclusion since we initial manufactured general public our efforts to engage in these challenges last 12 months. These highlights are portion of a greater body of DEI-associated work that commenced in 2020 and will proceed in 2021 and the yrs forward.

Park Pleasure Grant Method

Final summer time, Park Satisfaction announced structural improvements to its Grant System to make it extra obtainable to small-earnings communities. Amongst other adjustments, Park Pleasure fully commited to deploy 1-third of the Legacy Grant Method bucks through awards that waive the matching need for Friends of the Park groups in minimal-cash flow neighborhoods in the City of Atlanta.*

Following this announcement, we increased outreach efforts to interact communities that formerly experienced struggled with the Grant Program’s matching specifications and presented tailored help as they moved by way of the grant software approach. This month, we introduced the grantees for each Legacy Grants and Community Constructing Grants. I am pleased to report that the just one-3rd determination has been exceeded, with extra than 56% of full grant dollars awarded to help parks in small-income neighborhoods (an achievement that has been achieved in section thanks to matching help furnished by the City of Atlanta).

turkey foot creek, Cascade Springs Nature Preserve

The Close friends of Cascade Springs Mother nature Protect, traversed by Turkey Foot Creek, gained a Park Pride grant for enhancements including a more welcoming greenspace with an ADA-available pedestrian entrance, much more locations for individuals to acquire, and enhance basic safety with lighting. Credit:

These grants will fund a broad range of exciting assignments in Atlanta and unincorporated DeKalb, which include new and revolutionary playscapes, ADA-accessibility advancements, walking and biking trails, new pet parks, a new nature middle, and a lot more. You can perspective the full record of awards and job descriptions on our website.

Park Pleasure thinks that anyone justifies obtain to great parks, trails, and greenspace. We have set new benchmarks to be certain that methods are distributed equitably and have taken out limitations to entry. We program to construct on this exertion in the 12 months forward. In this perform, we will be supporting initiatives by community group groups to build potential to have an affect on positive adjust in the world around them. This is absolutely something to rejoice this MLK working day.

Increased Board and Workers Variety

Final 12 months, we also expressed a motivation to diversify our board and staff. When nevertheless a do the job in progress, our latest new board member announcement is a stage in the proper course. These individuals provide management, knowledge and viewpoint that will enable Park Pleasure progress our mission with an eye on equity. With their help, the aid of Park Pride’s DEI Committee, and the support of the whole board of directors, Park Satisfaction is better equipped to navigate complicated worries that influence our operate and the communities we provide.

Moreover, Park Pride will fill two open positions this year, and we will consider benefit of this opportunity to diversify our predominantly white personnel. We fully grasp the significance of illustration and will carry on to increase our recruitment initiatives and broaden our candidate pool transferring ahead. Addressing staff diversity is a priority spot of improvement for the business.

In assist of these initiatives, we will proceed to function with an external DEI marketing consultant to assist efforts to engage the comprehensive board and employees in advancing the lifestyle alter that is underway.

“A Day On, Not a Day Off”

But, the Martin Luther King Jr. Working day of Company is about much more than reflection. It is about action! Like so lots of other nonprofits across the country, Park Pride recognizes this holiday as “a day on, not a day off.” It is the only federal holiday selected as a nationwide working day of company to really encourage all People in america to volunteer to increase their communities.

Michael Halicki (still left), Park Pleasure executive director, and his family (Harrison, Rosemary and Jennifer) equipment up for a volunteer provider venture at Grant Park on MLK Day. Other Park Satisfaction staff members are also volunteering at other little scale, socially-distanced park volunteer tasks throughout Atlanta and DeKalb this MLK Working day. Exclusive: Michael Halicki

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has compelled us to forgo our common huge-scale, all-fingers workday beautifying and increasing a public park, there are so quite a few strategies for you to make a change in your neighborhood greenspace and in your local community – this sort of as volunteering in a park (solo or with your pod), supporting parks from home, or traveling to parks and trails considerable to the occasion. Nowadays, I am volunteering in a park with my relatives (a longstanding family members custom). Also, Park Delight team associates are dispersed in parks across Atlanta cleansing up litter, spreading mulch, getting rid of invasive vegetation, retaining a harmless length (and carrying masks) with little teams of dedicated Pals of the Park volunteers who haven’t allow the pandemic derail their motivation to beautifying their community greenspaces (even though remaining secure). I’d like to thank these groups for their enthusiasm and commitment to their communities for the duration of a time when parks are necessary most.

I’d also like to thank park personnel, who perform on the entrance line working day in and day out to preserve our parks for all to take pleasure in. Your attempts have been critical to upholding the quality of existence for residents in the course of this pandemic, and it does not go unnoticed. Thank you.

In closing, the Martin Luther King Jr. Working day of Provider calls on you to give back, today and just about every working day. It’s not as well late to get included. Look at out Park Pride’s web-site for thoughts and steering on techniques to commemorate MLK’s legacy by means of provider to your park and neighborhood.

Footnote: The neighborhoods outlined as Local community Development Effects Spots are where at the very least 51% of the inhabitants are at or underneath 80% of the Atlanta space median income.