Session Details

Protecting Parks through Advocacy

Successful park advocacy requires a variety of strategic approaches. In this session, hear from two nonprofits who have pursued a variety of strategies to protect their threatened parks.

The Overton Parks Conservancy cultivated a constituency through purposeful communications, and sometimes non-traditional partnerships, over multiple years, and were able to draw on that constituency to raise $1 million in two months to save the park.

Chicago's Friends of the Parks will share success stories and lessons learned from its recent successes in three different park advocacy campaigns in which the organization utilized different strategies and tactics and played different roles: 1) utilized a "bad cop" role via a successful federal lawsuit; 2) a decades-long campaign via the DuSable Park Coalition--to convert a lakefront brownfield into a proposed park, and; 3) playing a "good cop" role among many loosely coordinated players to foster a "park positive" outcome in the form of the replacement of all green space taken up and all recreational amenities displaced by the development of the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago's historic Olmsted-designed Jackson Park.

If you're interested in learning more about successful city-wide park nonprofits and the role they play in fundraising, capacity-building and advocacy, consider attending:

Session Presentation Slides

Slide Deck: Protecting Parks through Advocacy


  • Be inspired to understand advocacy as one essential tool for ensuring great parks and open space in your city.
  • Learn to cultivate key players, both in public and behind the scenes.
  • Become familiarized with advocacy strategies and roles for an effective campaign.
  • Become aware of different types of partnerships and collaborative vodles that can be effective for advocacy.