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New foundation focuses on enhancing Natural State's parks & recreation

Parks and Recreation Foundation of Arkansas says it will work to support, protect, enhance, and add value to recreational experiences across the state. (KATV Photo)

A new nonprofit foundation is taking its aim at providing an innovative approach to enhance the Natural State's parks and recreational opportunities.

Parks and Recreation Foundation of Arkansas says it will work to support, protect, enhance, and add value to recreational experiences across the state, which bring more than 8 million visitors in each year.

“Until now, there hasn’t been an effective way to channel private resources into our parks for worthy projects,” said Little Rock attorney John Gill, a founding board chairman of the organization. "Arkansas is blessed with abundant beautiful outdoor places to recharge the spirit and enjoy nature, including our 52 state parks, which provide quality of life for residents and attract visitors to our state.”

Gill is joined by Suzanne Grobmyer, formerly Director of Major Gifts for the CHI St. Vincent Foundation, who will serve as executive director. Trustees include Bryan Day of Little Rock, Ed Nicholson of Prairie Grove, Jane Rogers of Little Rock, Jim Shamburger of Hot Springs, and Craig Soos of Rogers.

“Our goal is to accelerate progress towards becoming a world-renowned destination for outstanding outdoor recreation, ” Grobmyer said. “We intend to capitalize on the potential offered by our state’s natural attractions with the help of others who see the importance of parks and recreation for our people and our economy.”

The project was supported by a three-year grant from the Walton Family Foundation that totals to $310,000. These funds will be used for infrastructure projects, upgrades to existing facilities and maintainining quality outdoor offerings.

An ongoing fundraising campaign will also be launched soon.

For more information about the foundation, go to www.arparksfoundation.org.

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