Media Release


11 Organizations Awarded Grants to Promote Volunteerism and Park Stewardship Across San Francisco

Today the San Francisco Parks Alliance announced the 11 recipients of its third annual SFPA Action Grants and Volunteer of the Year awards, totaling $50,000. The grants stimulate park beautification and volunteerism in parks and open spaces across San Francisco.

San Francisco firefighter Chuck Farrugia, an Excelsior native and a longtime volunteer in McLaren Park, was named Volunteer of the Year. The Volunteer of the Year Award comes with a $5,000 grant for Help McLaren Park, the community group Mr. Farrugia founded in 2006 with his wife Trilce.  Mr. Farrugia and Help McLaren Park have been instrumental in community efforts to improve and support the 312-acre park, including the opening of the Peru Street Playground and improvements around McNab Lake, funding their work with pancake breakfasts and other community fundraisers.

Safety in and around McLaren Park has been a particular focus for Mr. Farrugia. "As long as I am around I will never give up that fight to keep our park safe. I feel that if kids can't use their neighborhood parks safely, than there is no reason to live in San Francisco no matter how beautiful it is," Mr. Farrugia recently wrote to Help McLaren Park supporters.

Other recipient organizations are:

  • Climate Action Now - $5,000: To remove 3,000 square feet of asphalt at two SFUSD school sites, and with the help of students, parents and school site staff, replace them with organic orchards, vegetables gardens and pollinator habitat.
  • Connecticut Friendship Garden - $5,000: To help construct an outdoor classroom at its Potrero Hill community garden.
  • Friends of the AMP - $5,000: To support annual summer concert series at the Jerry Garcia Ampitheater in McLaren Park.
  • Garden for the Environment - $2,500:  To help fund the urban gardener training program.
  • Northridge CommUNITY Garden - $5,000: Funding to support the local community garden serving 300 low- and moderate-income residents of Bayview-Hunters Point.
  • Precita Valley Neighbors - $5,000: To fund a community kiosk in Bernal Heights’ Precita Park.
  • SF Urban Riders - $5,000: To promote trail-building and stewardship, as well as other bike community-building efforts.
  • Sunset Community Garden - $2,500: To purchase gardening tools and support youth outreach.
  • Sutro Stewards - $5,000:  To help construct a new trailhead and meeting point in the Mount Sutro Open Space.
  • Ceramics at Mission Art Center - $5,000 – “People’s Choice” award made through an online voting process. The Friends of the Randall Museum will use the funds to purchase equipment for use in the Center’s popular ceramics program.

More information about each of the recipient organizations is available on the Parks Alliance web site.

Mr. Farrugia and the Action Grant recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony on Thursday, June 11, at the Parks Alliance’s annual Love Your Parks Day celebration at Sue Bierman Park on the Embarcadero.

“The Parks Alliance is proud to support these organizations and continue this innovative program,” said SF Parks Alliance Chief Executive Officer Matthew O’Grady. “Action Grant awards have really made a difference in communities and parks across the City. “

Parks Alliance Action Grants enable residents to take positive action in and for San Francisco parks.  Any organization involved in programming or capital improvements in a San Francisco park or recreation facility may apply for Action Grants, which are funded through generous bequests from donors to the San Francisco Parks Alliance..

In 2015, the Parks Alliance received grant applications from 20 organizations. A grants committee made up of Parks Alliance staff and Board members, representatives from the SF Recreation and Park Department, the Department of Public Works, and the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Advisory Council selected 9 grant recipients. One organization was selected by popular vote of Internet users: the Ceramics Center at Mission Arts Center, championed by Friends of the Randall Museum.

“Supporting parks and open spaces is key to maintaining a healthy, livable and beautiful city, ” Mr. O’Grady said.  “As San Francisco grows and grows, it’s crucial for us to support these neighborhood-based efforts to keep the City green.”


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