As Communications Coordinator, I have the pleasure of reading all the comments that come in through our Web site—including those from new Members who are just signing up. And yes, we really do read all your comments.
I always feel like a Membership contribution is the ultimate comment card, but sometimes you nice people also leave a note. I thought I would share some comments, as this is great insight into why people decide to become Parklands Members, and great evidence as to whether we’re delivering on our promises.
I hear a lot of themes in the comments—words like “love” and “the best” and lots of “thank you.” An example I’d like to share:
“I grew up in Louisville, went to college in Colorado, came home to live for about 10 years, and then moved up to NYC. Two years ago, my husband and I moved from Cabin John, Maryland (next to the C&O Canal National Park), and we built a house in Pewee Valley. I missed biking and hiking the Canal. The Parklands was a fabulous discovery for us, and I go there three or four times a week to hike or bike. We are proud to be new members of the Parklands, and we will spread the word.
Every time I set foot in the parking lot, I have no idea what new and beautiful things I’ll discover. We’re looking forward to seeing the new hiking paths as the Park grows. Thanks for such a beautiful park.”
She also included this beautiful photo. (I also LOVE getting photos from visitors.)
Here's another one:
“How we love The Parklands! We visit all the time and so much enjoy the beauty, the nature and the ability to go on various walks and bring our grandchildren to enjoy. Louisville is a great city and The Parklands adds to its uniqueness! We are always proud to bring our out-of-town guests too. Thank you for this beautiful, wonderful Park!” – Sarah O.
One of our goals is to help shape Louisville for the next 100 years—just like our grandparents and great grandparents did for us when they commissioned Olmsted to build a system of parks just outside the city center in the 1800s. With all the growth our city is experiencing, 21st Century Parks set out with the goal of setting aside land for green infrastructure—ensuring that future (and growing) neighborhoods have integral, unexcelled park space—leading to greater quality of place. This vision may sometimes be missed by the everyday park visitor, but many of you recognize what we’re working toward here:
“Beautiful, what a wonderful addition to our city's park system. Just one more feather in our cap as a unique, healthy, and livable city.” –Robert C.
“Love the park and use it frequently. The best thing to happen in Louisville ever.” – Charles J.
“Thank you for preserving and reserving this green space for current and future generations. We all need to get outdoors more often and The Parklands will help facilitate this endeavor. No more excuses!” – Larry N.
I also see gifts, referrals, and renewals. Some of that is due to the progress of our parks since the Membership program began, but sometimes it’s due to programming and opportunities afforded especially to Parklands Members.
“Renewing our membership. Have really enjoyed the programs over the past year!” – Michael C.
“Already a member, but upping my contribution. Thank you all for what you have given Louisville.” -Deborah G.
There’s also quite a bit of pride that exudes from Members. They like knowing they are a part of something new and great, and a project of vision. They are able to see their membership dollars at work in the everyday Parklands happenings—from tree plantings, weeding projects, education programs, and public events—to persistently clean restrooms.
Others definitely see the value in giving back, thanks to the way the parks are already changing their everyday lives. People mention they come weekly—and even daily—and all the different ways they use the park.
“I love running/walking in your park! Thank you for making it such a fun, safe, and enjoyable place to be outdoors!” – Rachael G.
“Have enjoyed walking, hiking, and biking in The Parklands several times already. Thanks.” -Todd G.
“We just completed a 10 mile walk this morning starting in Beckley Park and through the next Park on the other side of Taylorsville Road and back. We live in Frankfort and make regular trips to walk in the most beautiful park anywhere around. The Parklands have done an outstanding job. We will return often.” – Charles S.
“LOVE the dog park and can't wait for the Ricky Skaggs/ Rhonda Vincent/ Sam Bush concert!!!” – Kelly G.
I also see a lot of exclamation points. And who doesn’t appreciate an exclamation point?
But it’s not just all about us. All of you, as park visitors, play an important role in The Parklands experience.
“I have a Miles Park Garden, walk in the park and ride my recumbent bike. My cell phone slipped out of my pocket and some good person turned it in at the office. I appreciate the kind act of a stranger and say thanks.” –Aubrey N.
Thank you for continually showing you are awesome, too.
As we work to reach new membership goals each year, and to raise the 2 million dollars needed from the community annually to maintain The Parklands, I often think about what motivates Members. Thanks to those of you who include some insight into that when you sign-up. Remember, we love hearing from you anytime—whether that’s through an email, a Facebook post, or in person at one of our Member Appreciation Events with our Parks Director. You are not only contributing to our annual fund but also to a growing community of folks who cherish these new parklands and are willing to go out of their way to contribute to its success.
“We LOVE the Parklands and want to try and donate each year!” -Tony G.
You all are the reason this is going to work.
Ellen Doolittle Oost
Ellen has been the Director of Development at 21st Century Parks since April of 2015. In this role she oversees fundraising functions for The Parklands, including the annual fund/membership campaign, corporate sponsorships, supporting the Board of Directors, leading major fundraising events, and seeking grant and foundational support. It’s her goal to create multiple compelling opportunities for donors to support The Parklands, a donor-supported public park that does not receive tax dollar support on an annual basis but has four world-class parks free and open to the public 365 days a year. Although fairly new to this role, Ellen is intimately familiar with The Parklands as she spent the previous 3 years as the Communications Manager in charge of public relations, social media, community outreach and marketing for the parks. Before joining 21st Century Parks she spent three years with Louisville-based advertising agency Doe-Anderson. Her background also includes marketing and account service roles at Anheuser-Busch InBev, PriceWeber advertising agency, and direct mail marketing at Traffic Builders, Inc. Ellen is a graduate of Marietta College where she studied advertising, public relations and marketing and played volleyball. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, camping, and traveling with her two mutts and her husband Andrew.
Being a donor-supported public park means we rely on donations, not tax dollars, for annual operations each year. Because of your generosity, we are able to maintain, program, and further develop this extraordinary public space without charging an entry fee. Together we work to enhance quality of life and help our community and economy grow in ways that are healthy, sustainable, and enjoyable for people of all ages. Help us reach our goal of sustaining The Parklands by becoming a Member today. Members make it happen!
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