The Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation has changed its name to the BI Parks & Trails Foundation, as it has become a local leader in public trails, too.
“Public trails are at the nexus of outdoor recreation, community health, sustainability and climate resilience,” said Mary Meier, foundation executive director. “Adding ‘trails’ to our name affirms our commitment to an island where ample trails link neighborhoods, parks, schools, culture and commerce — open and accessible to all.”
The nonprofit foundation often partners with the BI Metro Park & Recreation District. Where the district owns parks and runs recreation programs with its taxing authority, the foundation raises private donations and grants for projects that would otherwise go unfunded. Gifts to the foundation are tax deductible.
In 2021, the foundation channeled more than $1.7 million to parks and trails.
Terry Lande, district executive director, said: “They’re a multiplier for parks and trails. Many projects just wouldn’t be possible without their efforts.”
The organization was chartered in 1998. Since hiring its first full-time executive director in 2014, the foundation has expanded its work on an array of park, trail and stewardship programs.
The foundation led the $600,000-plus campaign for the KidsUp! playground, and raised funding for the Founders Courts pickleball center, among many recent projects. A $1 million gift through the foundation allowed the 10-acre Strawberry Hill Park addition, for a new bike park and expanded dog park.
The foundation recently granted $50,000 to Bainbridge to help develop a master plan to continue the Sound to Olympics Trail from Winslow north to the Agate Pass Bridge. The STO is envisioned as a spine linking up with smaller neighborhood trails to promote safe, non-motorized travel.
The foundation is securing new trail easements islandwide, to complete the long-sought Winslow-to-Gazzam Lake route and a number of smaller, neighborhood connectors. The foundation also supports the Summer Trails Crew program for trail construction and maintenance.
Meier said their first fundraising event was the Trillium Trail Run about five years ago. “So we’ve been committed to trails all along,” Meier said. “Now we’ve put it in bold – trails connect us, and we’re bringing more trails to the community.”
The foundation is located at 221 Winslow Way W. Suite 104. For more go to www.biparksfoundation.org