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Aug. 23, 2016

Crowdfunding sought for community demonstration garden
Project receives helping hand from national parks group

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) thinks Chandler has a great idea and wants to help the City raise funds to bring it to fruition.

The idea? A Demonstration Garden at the City’s Veteran’s Oasis Park that can be used to teach the public a variety of horticultural principles and practices, including activities related to botany, gardening, sustainability, water harvesting, composting and entomology. 

The City’s Recreation Division has set aside the land and developed a design, but is seeking $9,000 in donations to purchase and install a quality, powder-coated galvanized steel fence to surround the garden. 

This is where the NRPA comes in. The association, which represents 50,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, has offered to include the project on its Fund Your Park crowdfunding site for 30 days.

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. Park and recreation agencies are beginning to incorporate crowdfunding efforts alongside traditional fundraising strategies.

Recent projects hosted on NRPA’s crowdfunding platform have ranged from a bike park project in Coconino County, which raised $6,700, to a tennis court renovation project in Kitsap County, Washington, that raised $56,000.

“We are thrilled to be chosen by NRPA to be part of their Fund Your Park campaign,” said Ariane Francis, a recreation coordinator with the City and organizer of the Demonstration Garden and fundraising effort. “They will bring greater visibility to our project and provide an easy online process to accept donations.”

Agencies that list a Fund Your Park project pay fees to the NRPA totaling about 5 percent of funds raised, which covers credit card processing and the service provider’s fee for the crowdfunding platform. The remaining 95 percent of funds raised will go toward the purchase of the fence.

“This garden will provide a variety of demonstration opportunities where City staff will coordinate educational programs associated with environmentally appropriate gardening activities,” Francis explained. “These programs include those offered during field trips, camps, workshops, exhibits, volunteer service projects, live demonstrations and various signature events.”

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