a group of people smiling and standing in front of a trolley

Building Community Through Connection and the On Common Ground Grant

In the Spring of 2023, Raleigh Parks received a unique $25,000 grant from the Trust for Public Land- one of only nine municipalities nationwide to be selected! The On Common Ground grant aimed to enhance the role of parks in fostering community by promoting interactions between diverse social groups. Utilizing this grant funding, in the Summer and Fall of 2023, Raleigh Parks launched a new pilot program called “Welcome to Raleigh Parks” (WRP), designed to introduce community members to the variety of programs and resources the Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department has to offer in an inclusive, welcoming, and community-building format.

This first WRP program involved a cohort of 24 participants. The program included seven sessions, showcasing the variety of activities Raleigh Parks offers. Participants engaged in activities such as fishing, ceramics, a large special event at Moore Square, futsal, gardening, a trolley tour, and a final community meal.

Early feedback on the program shows promising results! After participating in the program, attendees reported a greater sense of community and increased involvement in park activities. They reported having a better understanding of the variety of programs Raleigh Parks offers. Several have gone on to be involved with larger City and planning initiatives. Most importantly, they made new friends and had fun in the process!

We plan to offer the program again in the fall, continuing to build on these successes and welcoming more people to Raleigh Parks! This initiative is a testament to the power of public spaces in bringing people together and creating a more inclusive community. It serves as a model for other cities looking to strengthen their social fabric through parks and recreation.

If you’d like more information about the fall program, please email COEProgram@raleighnc.gov. To learn more about the On Common Ground Framework, view the Trust for Public Land report.