Growing Partnerships: Local Agency-Foundation Relationships

Although taxpayer support and generated revenue are the primary sources of support for most local park and recreation agencies, the typical agency does not receive sufficient funding to fully deliver on its mission. With the current global pandemic and economic downturn adding to the financial pressure, partnerships with nonprofit park foundations or “friends groups” may be more critical than ever. 

This webinar will review the agency-foundation relationship in terms of what leads to effective and sustainable partnerships between agencies and foundations. The webinar will feature key findings from the recent research effort, led by Dr. Nick Pitas at the State University of New York-Brockport, that provides evidence-based best practices that maximize the benefits of these valuable and strategic relationships. This conversation will offer insights from park and recreation agency and foundation leaders.

Learning Objectives 

Following this session, learners will be able to:

1. Understand the agency-foundation relationship in terms of what leads to effective and sustainable partnerships.
2. Apply evidence-based best practices to maximize the benefits of agency-foundation relationships.

NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of your registration. The learning content is available for registration for one year from the date of origination.

Kathryn Ott Lovell


Philadelphia Parks and Recreation

Kathryn Ott Lovell was appointed commissioner of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation by Mayor Jim Kenney in January 2016. In this position, Kathryn oversees 700 full-time employees, more than 2,700 part-time and seasonal employees, over 10,200 acres of land, 500 buildings, 166 miles of trail, 250 playgrounds, and thousands of programs and events throughout Philadelphia's parks and recreation system.
In 2017, Kathryn commissioned the first strategic plan for Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. The plan, Our Path to 2020, established a renewed vision for the department and set in motion a powerful trajectory toward an equitable and exceptional parks and recreation system that connects people to each other, to enriching experiences, and to the natural world. The plan emphasizes citizen-centric service; high quality, relevant, and accessible programs; and a commitment to well-maintained assets.

Kathryn has presented widely on topics ranging from urban forestry, to climate change, to why parks are crucial to our future. Notable speaking and panel appearances include the South by Southwest Conference (SXSW), National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Conference, the City Parks Alliance’s Greater & Greener Conference, and the One Water Summit. In 2018, Kathryn served as the 2018 NRPA Robert W. Crawford Lecturer.

Currently, Kathryn serves on the Board of Directors for the Please Touch Museum, Schuylkill River Development Corporation, Parkway Council, Free Library of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Sports Congress. 

Patrick Morgan

First Deputy Commissioner, Strategy & Engagement | Philadelphia Parks & Recreation

Patrick Morgan serves as the first deputy commissioner, strategy & engagement providing leadership for various units within the department, including Communications, Business Development & Concessions, Special Events, Leadership Development & Training, and Performance Management. Morgan helps provide strategic direction and capacity to ensure that PPR is a high-performing, efficient, and responsive leader and partner both internally and externally to help advance its goals as well as those of the Kenney Administration.

Previously, Morgan was the Philadelphia-based program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. He led Knight’s investment strategy in Philadelphia, working with local leaders to support a more informed, connected, and vibrant city. He managed a portfolio of community-focused grants totaling over $26 million. Through this work Knight invested in revitalizing and connecting public spaces to help foster more informed and engaged communities.

Dr. Andrew Mowen

Professor of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management | The Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Mowen is a Professor in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management at Penn State.  Formerly the Manager of Research and Evaluation at Cleveland Metroparks, his research focuses on park agency financing and assessing the value of parks and recreation to local officials and the communities they serve.  Dr. Mowen is currently working with a team of researchers and community organizations to assess the outcomes of urban park renovations and citizen engagement in Philadelphia.  He was the 2018 recipient of the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Award for Excellence in Recreation and Park Research and is a member of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration as well as a Fellow of the Academy of Leisure Sciences.

Dr. Nick Pitas

Assistant Professor of Recreation Management | State University of New York-Brockport

Nick Pitas is an assistant professor of Parks and Recreation Management at the State University of New York-Brockport. Prior to joining the faculty at Brockport, he was a post-doctoral fellow and doctoral student in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management at Penn State University. With a focus on local and regional parks and recreation, Nick’s work is concerned with the benefits of these services at the individual and community level, as well as methods for their financing and delivery. His research has been published in outlets such as Parks and Recreation Magazine, Journal of Park and Recreation Management, Journal of Leisure Research, Preventing Chronic Disease, and American Journal of Health Promotion. A former NCAA Division I wrestler, Nick now spends his days engaging in lower impact recreational activities such as falling out of hunting blinds, hiking, bird watching, and throwing the Frisbee for his Australian Shepherd. 

Kevin Roth, PhD

Vice President of Research and Technology | National Recreation and Park Association

Kevin A. Roth is NRPA's Vice President of Research and Technology. Kevin leads the research team in its mission to create valuable data and metrics that enhance park and recreation agency performance and make the case for increased and more stable agency funding. Kevin also oversees the team delivering IT and web services to the association.

Kevin has served in research and leadership functions in the nonprofit association space for more than two decades, including overseeing both research and IT at the Association for Financial Professionals for 13 years and conducting survey research at the National Association of Realtors for four years. Kevin has a Ph.D. in Economics from George Washington University and a BA in Economics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Components visible upon registration.