A broad coalition of Fresno Area residents mobilized to support a local ⅜-cent sales tax to fund improvements and maintenance of existing public parks, build and maintain new parks and trails, and support local arts and cultural amenities. The Foundation leveraged $530,000 from its Louis M Gundelfinger fund for parks and music to support Measure P, which will generate $1.5B of improvements for parks and cultural arts amenities over the next 30 years.
After ranking dead last among large cities in the U.S. for park quality and availability for several years in a row, community residents took action. Supported by the Boys and Men of Color initiative and Fresno Building Healthy Communities, youth canvassed disinvested neighborhoods asking residents for their input on how to improve their communities. The resounding answer was by improving and adding park space. At the same time, the City of Fresno completed its Parks Master Plan Update, and the Central Valley Community Foundation was looking for the most impactful way to honor the legacy of one of its donors — Louis M. Gundelfinger, whose descendants left an endowed gift in his honor with instructions to use the funds to support the City’s public parks and musical organizations. These forces — youth leadership and advocacy, the City’s strategic plan for park improvements, and philanthropic resources – collided in 2017, resulting in the Fresno for Parks coalition. The coalition worked together to draft the measure, raise funds for the campaign, and collect signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot. In November 2018, the measure received 52% of the vote. After two years of litigation led by Fresno Building Healthy Communities, the courts affirmed that citizen-driven measures require a simple majority for passage and that, in fact, Measure P had been approved by the voters. The City of Fresno now collects and administers the tax, which is on track to raise and invest over $1.5 Billion in the public park system and cultural arts amenities over thirty years.
The Foundation served as the co-convener of the 2018 Fresno for Parks campaign steering committee, along with Fresno Building Healthy Communities, and was the major contributor and fundraiser for the campaign. CVCF continues its support of parks and music organizations with annual grantmaking, community convening, and monitoring the implementation of Measure P.
City of Fresno
Partners: 2018 Campaign Steering Committee Members