About Us

CPF (City Parks Foundation) is the only nonprofit organization to create programs in parks throughout all five boroughs of New York City. We enrich and connect New Yorkers through free and accessible arts, sports, education and community-building initiatives.

Our History

  • 1989
    AUG
    City Parks Foundation is incorporated as a 501(c) 3 nonprofit.
  • 1990
    JUN
    Arts programming begins with free concerts in neighborhood parks. Sports programming begins with free tennis lessons in neighborhood parks.
  • 1991
    Growing Gardens, what will later evolve into Learning Gardens was born of a unique partnership with the Department of Education. From that school model, the program transitioned to park sites.
  • 1992
    Education programming expands with its field based environmental program for public school students, Seeds to Trees.
  • 1994
    CPF takes over SummerStage from the Central Park Conservancy.
  • 1995
    Partnerships for Parks, a joint program of NYC Parks Department and CPF launches to support a culture of collaboration among people and government.
  • 1996
    Catalyst for Neighborhood Parks launches as a multi-year initiative of Partnerships for Parks to program, physically improve, and foster local stewardship over a four-year period with the goal of revitalizing parks in historically underserved communities throughout the city.
  • 1998
    MAY
    The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre reopens after $1.5 million restoration project.
  • 1999
    JUN
    Free golf instruction begins in neighborhood parks for children ages 5-17.
  • 2000
    MAY
    Readings in the Park, CPF's children's art and literacy program launches in neighborhood parks.
  • 2000
    Partnerships for Parks receives the prestigious Innovations in American Government Award and is called upon to share best practices with counterparts from locations as widespread as Anchorage, Philadelphia, Berlin, and Tokyo.
  • 2001
    JUL
    Free Track & Field instruction begins in neighborhood parks for children ages 5 – 17.
  • 2002
    Green Girls education program begins, encouraging girls to excel in the sciences with hands-on activities and trips to parks and natural areas, wildlife refuges, and cultural institutions.
  • 2003
    JUN
    Readings in the Park is rebranded as CityParks Kids, a full scale summer festival presenting not only readings but performing arts programs on weekday mornings all summer long.
  • 2003
    AUG
    CPF takes over production of the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival from the original producers who could no longer sustain the free, two-day festival.
  • 2004
    FEB
    Youth Made Media, CPF's multimedia/technology after school program offering video production training, media literacy, new media, academic support and life skills training launches in Red Hook Brooklyn under the name Hook Productions.
  • 2006
    JUN
    Free Dance and Theater programs launch in neighborhood parks.
  • 2006
    MAY
    The Coastal Classroom program opens in Long Island City, Queens, offering workshops in parks along the waterfront, focused on coastal ecology, aquatic habitats, water quality, and urban waterfront restoration and preservation.
  • 2006
    NOV
    Construction on the $8 million CityParks Junior Golf Center begins in Dyker Beach Brooklyn.
  • 2008
    JUN
    Mayor Bloomberg helps open the $8 million CityParks Junior Golf Center, a free state-of-the-art facility open only to juniors. The facility has a six-hole golf course, practice putting and chipping greens, a sand trap, covered driving range and Clubhouse Learning Center.
  • 2009
    APR
    The newest round of Catalyst, Reclaiming Our Waterfront Parks, is announced as Soundview Park in the Bronx, East River Park in Manhattan, Calvert Vaux and Kaiser Parks in Brooklyn, and the stewardship of the NYC Water Trail.
  • 2010
    JUN
    CPF's concerts, dance and theater programs are brought under the SummerStage brand in celebration of the 25th year of SummerStage.