Columbia Parks and Recreation Fund

What is the Columbia Parks and Recreation Fund?

Columbia Parks and Recreation Fund Logo and Stephens Lake Park

Columbia’s parks, trails, programs, and events are an integral part of our community. The Columbia Parks and Recreation Fund was established in 2017 as an endowment fund to sustain and augment Parks and Recreation programs and facilities during difficult economic times when operating expenses are increasing and municipal budgets are shrinking.

The Columbia Parks and Recreation Fund is separate from the City of Columbia budget and was established through the Community Foundation of Central Missouri. The Fund was initiated in 2017 with its first donation of $25,000 from an anonymous benefactor.  The Fund provides an avenue for citizens to contribute to help sustain and augment Parks and Recreation programs and facilities. 

Why should I contribute?

Woman thinkingColumbia Parks and Recreation is committed to improving our community’s health, stability, beauty, and quality of life by providing outstanding parks, trails, recreational facilities, and leisure opportunities for all. We promote health and wellness, protect environmental resources, foster human development, strengthen community image and sense of place, and provide enjoyable recreational experiences for all citizens, no matter the age, ability or income level.

City of Columbia departments continue to experience budget cuts as operating expenses increase while sales tax revenues stagnate or even decrease. This situation threatens our ability to maintain a quality of park and trail system and to continue to offer programs and community events. If you love Columbia’s park and trail system and appreciate the benefits Parks and Recreation services provide for our community, you can help support and sustain these services by your donation.

How can I contribute to the Columbia Parks and Recreation Fund?

Donations acceptedMost donations occur during the CoMoGives campaign, which takes place from Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in November) through the end of December. CoMoGives donations must be made online on the CoMoGives website  (active in December) to count toward the campaign. Donations made during the CoMoGives campaign also count toward the Challenge Grants offered by the Community Foundation of Central Missouri, which can help augment donated funds.

Donations can also be made year round online for the Columbia Parksand Recreation Fund on the Community Foundation of Central Missouri’s  website, or by check or cash delivered to the Parks and Recreation Office, 1 S 7th Street, Columbia, MO 65201.  Checks should be made out to: Columbia Parks and Recreation Fund

Important: Checks must include the word “Fund” in the “To” line to distinguish donations earmarked for this specific fund.

What your donation could buy: A $50 donation will buy two 5-gallon trees to plant in a Columbia park; a $100 donation will send one Special Olympics athlete to the state competition.

Where does the money go?

The Columbia Parks and Recreation Fund is under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of Central Missouri. All of the funds under the Foundation’s purview are pooled together for investment purposes and take advantage of an economy of scale principle, generally earning a higher rate of return than individual investments. Creating an endowment fund that is separate from the City of Columbia budget ensures that there is a permanent source of revenue for Parks and Recreation services.

How will the funds be used?

The funds will be invested to grow in value and create an endowment fund for Columbia Parks and Recreation. They will be used to help sustain and augment Parks and Recreation programs and facilities and can be used as matching funds to apply for grants.  The Columbia Parks and Recreation Fund is governed by an Advisory Committee consisting of the Chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission, three Parks and Recreation Commissioners appointed by the City Council, and the Director of Parks & Recreation. (See City Council legislation establishing the Columbia Parks and Recreation Fund). 

The purpose of the fund as set forth in the Agreement between the City of Columbia and the Community Foundation of Central Missouri that established the fund is described as follows:

“Purpose. The Fund is established for the charitable purpose of accepting contributions and using the income and principal from the Fund to make grants augmenting and supporting the services, programs and facilities of the City’s Parks and Recreation Department.”

Are donations to the Columbia Parks and Recreation Fund tax deductible?

Charitable Tax Deduction

Yes, in accord with tax laws. Donors will receive an automatic email receipt for each CoMoGives contribution from the Community Foundation of Central Missouri, a 501(c)(3) organization, at the conclusion of each transaction. Donations sent directly to the Parks and Recreation office at other times of the year will receive a letter acknowledging their donation that can be used for income tax purposes. All gifts are irrevocable and, unless otherwise noted, unrestricted. See your tax advisor regarding tax implications of your gift, particularly if your gift results in receiving a premium during the CoMoGives campaign. The Tax Reform Act of 2017 may affect whether or not you qualify to itemize deductions.

What is the Community Foundation of Central Missouri?

We connect people who care with causes that matter.The Community Foundation of Central Missouri is an independent, nonprofit organization created for the betterment of our communities. Their mission is to  “improve the quality of life within our region by inspiring charitable giving, fostering partnerships, and connecting donors to the causes they care about most.”  They help nonprofits and charitable organizations build endowment assets by connecting donors with local nonprofits and providing accounting and investment services.