Gainesville Parks & Recreation Foundation

Save the Date! 26th Annual Butterfly Release

Butterfly Release (3)
BUTTERFLY RELEASE ART CONTEST INFORMATION & WINNERS                                  sponsored by Quinlan Arts Center

Donations and Sponsorships are currently being accepted. Help us reach our goal of $10,000 toward Park 2 Park Connectivity!

Formerly Friends of Gainesville Parks & Greenways, the Foundation is...

a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 

Mission - to champion the necessity of our City Parks, connecting all people to our valuable natural resources.

Vision - to engage the community and fundraise through various activities in support of our mission.


  1. Advocate - Advocating for accessible greenspaces for all people.
  2. Collaborate - Collaborating with community leaders and groups; assisting Gainesville Parks & Recreation and other local organizations with financial support for community-based projects. 
  3. Educate - Educating our community that parks are essential to personal health and local economies. 

Since its inception in 1996, the Foundation has funded over $820,000 in projects and successfully advocated for another $5.6 million in capital projects, park improvements and grants for Gainesville Parks and Recreation.

Current Initiatives

Park 2 Park Connectivity - Chair, Lynn Kearns, [email protected] 

Park 2 Park Connectivity is a grass roots campaign to create safe and accessible walkways that connect the entirety of the parks system. Sidewalk connections and bike/pedestrian lanes are essential in this effort. Check out our map for more information. 

  • Successes - Walking/Biking lane created along Wessell Road from Holly Drive to Piedmont Road.
  • Next Phase - Completing the sidewalks along Wessell Road and Dixon Drive to create a safe and accessible walkway all the way from Wessell Park to Wilshire Trails Park.

Become a Member!

As a member of the Park Rooters, you are one of the Friends of Gainesville Parks & Greenways most treasured supporters. Your annual gift directly supports our mission  to serve as a cultural, educational, and recreational resource to develop, beautify, maintain, restore and preserve passive and active leisure pursuits in Gainesville, Hall County. For more details, see our various giving levels and benefits below.

Giving Tree and Park Bench Program

Remember a loved one; Celebrate a new life; Honor someone special
Giving Tree: $1,000
Park Bench: $2,500
Both includes a recognition plaque and installation.

Sponsor the Wilshire Wonderland of Lights

A Strolling Holiday Experience at Wilshire Trails Park | 849 Wilshire Trails Road
Find out more about the event.

Call 770.531.2680 for more information.

Our Legacy

  • Friends of the Parks was formed in response to citizen concerns for the need to restore Ivey Terrace Park.
  • In 1996, a public-private partnership was created between the City of Gainesville, Gainesville Parks and Recreation, and the 501-C3, Friends of Gainesville Parks, Inc.
  • Friends of the Parks is funded through private donations and grants.
  • Friends of the Parks is under the direction of Board of Directors, a mixture of City Council and Board appointed.
  • Friends of the Parks hosts the annual Sunday in the Parks Butterfly Release.
  • The non-profit focuses on:
    • Restore the Rock Creek Greenway Corridor, including streambank restoration, erosion control, landscape beautification, and the construction of multi-use trails
    • Acquire land for parks and greenways to develop greenway network in partnership with the City of Gainesville
    • Maintain and beautify parks and greenways
    • Increase connectivity and greenspace awareness through educational programs
  • 2023 - the organization changed it's name to Gainesville Parks & Recreation Foundation.

Our Achievements

  • Creation of the Rock Creek Park or "Gateway Park" dedicated in 2001
  • Land acquisition along the linear corridor
  • Master Plan development for the Rock Creek Greenway
  • Stormwater management and streambank stabilization
  • Restoration of Ivey Terrace Phase I, II and III
  • Annual Butterfly Release
  • Sidewalk Initiative (In partnership with the City of Gainesville Sidewalk Master Plan)

Get Involved

The Gainesville Parks & Recreation Foundation meets the first Thursday of every month at the Gainesville Civic Center.