Bainbridge Island Ultimate was looking for a fundraiser to support the frisbee club’s events and activities. At Moritani Preserve in Winslow, the west end of the park was choking under the weight of English ivy as invasive weeds overtook the native vegetation.

Opportunity met need one afternoon in February, when about 30 frisbee club members turned out for an afternoon of stewardship at the Preserve. 

The club put in two hours of vigorous weed pulling, grubbing out bushels of the noxious plants for haulaway. 

For its work, the club received a $600 donation from the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation. 

“This model yielded a triple win,” says Elinor Fanning, Bainbridge Island Ultimate board member. “The student athletes earned community service credits and funds for their frisbee club, the Park District got a truck load of ivy and holly removed, and the entire community will benefit from a healthier Moritani Preserve.”

It was the second-ever event of Nonprofits Helping Parks, a new stewardship program of the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation in partnership with the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District.

The first event, in summer 2019, saw the Bainbridge Island Swim Club tackle Scotch broom and other invasives at Sakai Park, a prototype event as the Nonprofits Helping Parks program was being developed.

“Nonprofits Helping Parks is a great fundraiser, a great team-building opportunity, and will have a big impact in the stewardship of our parks,” says Barbara Trafton, Parks Foundation Executive Director. “These work parties can bring our island nonprofits together to improve the health and beauty of our parks and trails.”

Nonprofit + Stewardship = WIN 

Through Nonprofits Helping Parks, a nonprofit organization, club or team commits to a work party in a public park or along a trail – pulling invasive weeds, for example, putting in native plants or spreading gravel on trails. 

In return, the Parks Foundation makes a donation to the organization. Donations are valued at approximately $10 per service hour volunteered, so a 25-person team putting in two hours of work would net $500 for the organization. 

Work parties will be scheduled throughout the year, whenever organizations step up to volunteer their time. 

During the school year, weekday afternoons would work well for youth organizations. Community trail work parties are scheduled every fourth Saturday of the month, another good opportunity if a group wants to volunteer during a weekend.  

The Parks Foundation is now accepting Nonprofits Helping Parks applications for the coming year, to be scheduled as public health guidelines allow. 

Once you’ve signed up for the program, the Parks Foundation and Park District will work with you to schedule and plan your Nonprofits Helping Parks work party event. Work projects will be designed around the size of your group and the needs in local parks and trails. 

The Park District provides onsite supervision throughout the event. Tools are provided, and for the safety of your group, only hand tools will be used. Groups that bring youth volunteers must provide one adult supervisor for every 10 students throughout the event. A typical work party lasts two hours. 

Bainbridge Island Ultimate earned about $600 for the club for an afternoon of stewardship at the popular Moritani Preserve – doing well for the club by doing good for the community. 

“Isn’t that better than a car wash for your upcoming fundraiser?” Fanning says.

To get involved in the Nonprofits Helping Parks program, email Barb Trafton, [email protected], or find out more here