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Friday, January 24, 2014

Is philanthropy the answer to funding public parks? No.

Margaret Walls of Resources for the Future has written this excellent blog and important issue brief on the – limited - role of philanthropy in funding public parks. It follows important work published last year that I blogged about – and opined about - here.

At the risk of being self-referential, I’ll restate my strongly held belief. Across the nation, the concept of the commons – of natural resources that are held in trust for the benefit of all people, that are accessed, shared, used, and enjoyed by all – is at grave risk. This is a fundamental deterioration of our democracy, and calls into question what kind of society we are becoming – or have already become. 

Privatization, philanthropy, and other alternative financing tools should have very limited roles in providing for public parks. They are not – and should not be allowed to become - substitutes for public funding of these essential services. Citizens should demand no less.

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