Parks Partnerships

The Department of Parks and Recreation’s (Department) mission is to provide, protect, and preserve regional parklands for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of this and future generations. Partnerships with individuals, community organizations, local businesses and other agencies is a powerful way to match enthusiasms and resources to provide greater public benefit. The Department’s 2018 Strategic Plan provides guidance to the development of parks and programs (to learn more please click here). All partnerships must serve a park purpose from recreation to natural resource stewardship to public education.  

A partnership is a working relationship between organizations with compatible values and goals and that results in mutual benefits. The partnership may be formed around a single activity or event, or it may be long-term and multi-faceted. Partnering with us does not necessarily include a financial commitment. Many of our partnerships are non-financial and require only an exchange of services and/or facility usage. This is negotiable based on the interests of both parties. 

Santa Clara County Parks has different types of partnerships: 

How to become a Park Partner

In general, the Department of Parks and Recreation is open to proposals, new ideas, new programs and services and/or potential investments to park facilities or programs. Interested potential partners can explore the following approaches to collaboration with the department. 

Propose an innovative recreational or educational use of park land 

Public Benefit Proposals – Parks carefully evaluates partnership proposals for compliance with state and local restrictions on parkland uses. For example, the State of California restricts the use of publicly-owned parkland to park purposes. The County has approved various Park Master Plans and Policies, which also constrain the types of permissible park uses. Additionally, some of our County Parks contain restrictions on permissible uses imposed at the time the County acquired the land. Examples of park purposes include, but are not limited to, expanding resources for recreation opportunities, improving the way Parks delivers services and programs, and enhancing the amenities offered at Parks.

To ensure that partnerships further these purposes, Parks utilizes the Public Benefit Proposal process, which is designed to give all interested parties an opportunity to propose partnerships, including those which may require permits, licenses, leases, and concession agreements. Expressions of Interest will be received and reviewed on an ongoing basis. An internal review team meets four times a year to review proposals and make recommendations.  

 

    What is a public benefit partnership? 

    Public Benefit Partnerships are collaborations between the Santa Clara County Parks Department and an individual, community organization or business that helps expand resources for recreation opportunities, improves the way we deliver our services and programs, and enhances the amenities offered at our facilities. Public Benefit Partnerships are formalized by an agreement such as a permit, lease, license, contract or MOU.  

    How do public benefit partnerships make an impact? 

    Public Benefit Partnerships provide recreational and other mission aligned opportunities and capital investments that the department does not have the resources to provide.  

    Why do we need private investment in public space? 

    The voters of Santa Clara County have consistently supported dedicating a portion of the County’s general fund to invest in parks, open space and community wellbeing since 1972 when the Park Charter Fund was created. In 2016 voters renewed the fund through 2032 providing approximately $50 million a year to support our park system of 28 parks over 52,000 acres. The size of the park system and the population of Santa Clara County requires additional resources to ensure that every resident has access to the benefits of the regional park system.  

    Can a nonprofit or community organization partner with the parks department? 

    Absolutely! The department currently partners with dozens of community organizations, many of which are incorporated 501c3 organizations (e.g. Friends of Martial Cottle Park, Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful). We welcome the opportunity to partner with any group who is as excited about parks, recreation and natural  and cultural resource stewardship as we are. 

    What type of improvements fall under the Public Benefit Partnership program? 

    • Recreational amenity (e.g., casting ponds, bike pump track, event venue, stables) 
    • Educational amenity (e.g., cultural/historical use of park facility, natural resources stewardship and climate response activities) 
    • Radio/Cell/Weather Tower and Stations

    How do I propose a Public Benefit Partnership? 

    Questions? Call or email Melissa Hippard, Partnership & Equity Manager 408-824-0981, [email protected]

    Donate to Parks and Programs 

    The Santa Clara County Parks Department values public support from individuals, foundations, corporations, non-profit organizations, service clubs, and other entities, and seeks to foster philanthropic contributions through recognition of community support. The Park Partner Program MOU establishes a connection between the department and organizations seeking to fundraise to support the development and enhancement of parks, opens spaces, trails, programs and events in the regional park system.  

    Park Partner Program Guidelines 

    Santa Clara County Parks accepts charitable donations to restore and improve our open spaces. Benches, shade structures, water fountains, BBQs, trees, and other items make great gifts to both your beneficiary and your favorite park.

    Our Donations Program is undergoing enhancements, and we anticipate resuming donations on March 15, 2024, featuring an improved catalog. If you wish to contribute to our parks, kindly provide your contact information in our Donation Request Form, and we will inform you about the details of our enhanced program once it becomes available.  

    Donation Request Form

     

     

     

    Current Partners

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