PARC Foundation Helps Thurston County Get Outside for Parks, Arts, Recreation and Culture

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Many of the outdoor spaces and exciting activities we have in Thurston County come from funding and partnership efforts supported by the PARC Foundation. Started in 1998 by James Reddick, the nonprofit’s volunteer board members work with the cities of Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey, Yelm and Tenino to raise and allocate funding for parks, arts, recreation, cultural programs and events.

PARC doesn’t operate programs. Instead, money is given directly to the foundation who facilitates its use directly with projects. One of many examples of their work is the $5,000 they gave to the City of Tumwater for recreation program scholarships with money raised from the Capital City Marathon. Another is the insurance paid for the luminary parade participation in Olympia. They also assist with fundraising applications and even just promote city programs and events via their PARC Foundation social media.

Supporting Thurston County Parks and Recreation

PARC efforts aim to keep the green, natural settings in Thurston County preserved and available for public recreation and simple enjoyment. Not only helping to provide the physical space, PARC supports people getting to those opportunities. The foundation has given money to the county for a specialized recreation program for 16- to 99-year-old individuals with special needs. The program takes groups out to play bingo, go eat or go to the beach.

Tenino Stone Carvers under a tent at an outdoor event
The PARC Foundation is supporting the Tenino Stone Carvers guild with business administration and grants to put together classes at the Tenino City Workshop. Photo courtesy: Tenino Stone Carvers

“It’s been very fulfilling to work with parks departments that have fewer staff people and fewer resources like Yelm and Tenino,” Washington State Representative-elect and PARC Foundation President Beth Doglio says. “I feel like the PARC Foundation is a huge value add in those communities.” 

“The Tenino Stone Carvers is a pretty cool thing,” says Doglio about projects and serving on the board, “and also to be able to support music in the community, scholarships for kids to go to summer camp and the Yelm trail. I also love working with all the parks departments on their marquis projects.”

Tenino doesn’t have a big park department like other cities, so PARC helps fund operations at the pool. To help grow more programs, the foundation posted the Tenino park survey on their own PARC Facebook page to help get word out, a gesture they do for other cities as well.

PARC Foundation Support Connects Communities

		Yelm Prairie Line railroad tracks crossing the Nisqually River
Yelm Prairie Line railroad tracks crossing the Nisqually River between Yelm and Roy will be transformed into a path for walking, jogging and riding. Photo courtesy: City of Yelm

PARC is assisting Yelm to further transform its Yelm Prairie Line Trail by helping the city apply for a grant. An unfinished span, which crosses the Nisqually River on a rail bridge between Yelm and Roy, will connect the two communities to each other and those beyond. The path will also preserve local and regional history and mean safer hiking, horseback riding, biking and walking than on SR507.

Social and emotional connections are made possible too through PARC supported programs such as Lacey Loves to Read and the Summer Teen Adventure Program.

Supporting Art and Culture in Olympia and Tenino

Spaces for making and teaching art and crafts are important for cultivating talent and passing on historical forms of craftsmanship. The PARC Foundation has a mission to preserve the quality of life by enhancing the arts and cultural activities, along with parks and recreation. Armory: Creative Campus is a major part of that. The Olympia armory, once transformed, will have event, exhibit and instructional space for art.

The PARC Foundation is supporting the Tenino Stone Carvers guild with business administration and with obtaining grants so they can put together classes for the public. Though smaller classes have taken place at the guild’s Shed, PARC Foundation support will help broaden the outreach.

aerial view of the empty Tenino Quarry pool with an Olympia Symphony Concert happening
The PARC Foundation helps fund operations at the Tenino Quarry pool, and they supported the Olympia Symphony playing a summer concert for the public when the pool was empty. Photo credit: Scott Hermann

“I want it to have a real communal feel, to have them enjoy it and take some heritage away with the craft,” Dan Miller, stone carver with the Tenino Stone Carvers guild says. “I think workshops are great places to pull future stone carvers from.” Classes will be held at the Tenino City Workshop with groups of about 10 people per session. “I think everything ties together,” Miller says. “Tenino has the quarry here, and they want to be known as the stone city. We couldn’t do it without PARC.” 

When the Tenino Quarry Pool was drained for the summer, PARC was active in bringing the Olympia Symphony down to Tenino, where they played a free concert for the public. Additional music programs have received PARC support too, such as the Tumwater Senior Choir and Capital City Chorus.

PARC also partnered with the Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater parks departments for Earth Day work party projects and contributed funds toward a $500 prize that encouraged Thurston County schools to see who could sign up the most volunteers.

Olympia Symphony concert at the Tenino Quarry Pool
Creating cultural and artistic opportunities for the public, such as enjoying the Olympia Symphony concert in the Tenino Quarry Pool, is part of what the PARC Foundation supports. This event combined art, culture and history. Photo credit: Jessica Reeves-Rush

Supporting PARC Foundation Projects

One PARC supporter is the Greene Realty Group Greene Giving Fund. Each agent contributes to the fund financially. Charities can apply for those funds, and a committee works with Greene Realty Group to award those funds.

When people, organizations and businesses contribute to the PARC Foundation, they are benefitting every community with parks, art, recreational and cultural opportunities. To learn more about the PARC Foundation, visit the PARC Foundation Facebook page, check out their website or give them a call at 360.352.0980.

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