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Nov 01

Consider joining or contributing to The Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County

Posted on November 1, 2019 at 3:00 PM by Becky Burnside

Raising money for equipment to support a 50 Plus band program, scholarships to help disadvantaged youth attend summer camps, and to help develop the John Barkley Plaza near the 79th Street entrance to Shawnee Mission Park are just three examples of projects being pursued by The Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County.

The group is actively seeking members and donations to allow it to do even more.

“In 2020, we hope to triple our membership to over 300 members,” said JCPRD Development Director Jay Hinrichs. “Our fundraising goal for the year is just $700,000.” 

Initially established in 1977, the foundation is an independent donor-supported, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that cultivates financial support and community engagement. The group was recently revitalized and its board of directors reengaged.

The foundation works closely with JCPRD to take on projects large and small and address park and recreation needs not met through tax support or participation fees. 

“Tax support for JCPRD is just a little over 50 percent of what all the programs and activities that go on in our agency cost,” Hinrichs said. “All of the enterprise fund projects and programs, such as the aforementioned 50 Plus New Horizons Band are not tax supported. So The Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County is out making sure that people know that there are areas that do need financial support beyond your tax dollars.” 

As referenced above, the foundation has had considerable success during 2019  in generating donations to help purchase sheet music, instruments, and other necessities for the New Horizons Band, a program of JCPRD’s 50 Plus Department in conjunction with the University of Missouri - Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance and Meyer Music.

Through a very generous gift from the Russell and Helen Means family, the foundation also funded about half of the $2 million cost of the observation tower that will bear their  name expected to open later in 2019 at Kill Creek Park. 

The foundation board is currently considering proposals for additional major capital projects to support.

“The vision of The Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County is to engage the public through two means - one of which is to join us through becoming a member of the foundation, and our memberships start as low as $50 a year,” Hinrichs said. “The second way we ask for the public’s help is for their philanthropic donation to the foundation. There are several methods of philanthropic donations. One is planned giving. So in advance of leaving this earth, you can direct your finances or your land, or other parts of your property to the foundation, and then we can put it into our assets. There are also memorial contributions that go to honor our loved ones that can be directed to the JCPRD Memorial Bench Program.” 

Donating through the foundation also allows contributors to specify that their funds go to specific areas that are important to them.

“Interested people who would like to make a donation can also specify or designate a specific project, activity, or program they would like their donation to go to,” Hinrichs said.

A number of perks are available for foundation members, and a complete listing can be found at the foundation’s website at

“We support our members through giving them foundation T-shirts and vehicle stickers so they can proudly display that they are members,” Hinrichs said.

Although no date has been set, the foundation is also planning a first-ever exclusive event for all foundation members during 2020. During this State of the Union-type address, JCPRD Executive Director Jeff Stewart will talk about the past and future of JCPRD and the foundation.

For more information about The Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County, contact Development Director Jay Hinrichs at [email protected] or at (913) 826-3448, or visit