Opportunities to Be Active

The Issue:

When you picture a healthy community, there’s a good chance that vision includes people being active in a park – jogging by a lake, shooting hoops, playing on a playground.  Parks support physical activity, community connectivity, and the health and happiness benefits of spending time outdoors.

Yet modern life is sedentary for far too many of us. Sitting at desks, screen time, and leading busy lives means that Central Texans are not moving enough and it’s negatively impacting our health.

The Austin area ranks in the middle of the 100 largest cities in the US in terms of how parks meet community needs.  While Central Texas is blessed with many acres of greenspace, more needs to be done to enhance opportunities at these parks to support physical activity.  Moreover, we need to ensure that our local parks are safe, vibrant physical activity assets.

Our Plan:

Our goal is to increase opportunities for and remove barriers to physical activity through our Active Parks Initiative.

Who We Serve:

St. David’s Foundation will work with low-income populations, communities of color, and rural communities  with the highest needs and opportunities to increase park access and equity. Geographically, such park investments are most needed in Travis County’s eastern crescent and in Bastrop and Caldwell counties. These communities also tend to harbor higher rates of obesity and chronic disease.

How We Will Do It:

Our approach to physical activity includes:

  • Bringing together all sources of data along with deep community engagement to prioritize the most strategic possible investments. Learn more about the Healthy Parks Plan for Travis, Bastrop, Caldwell Counties. 
  • Increasing equity in community park assets for physical activity with a focus on the built environment, such as playgrounds, sports fields, trails, and outdoor fitness equipment.
  • Activating and maximizing the use of existing community park assets for physical activity through programming, marketing, community engagement, and supportive infrastructure (e.g., shade for Texas summers).
  • Leveraging complementary public and private efforts underway through partnership and collaboration.
  • Making investments in programs and projects that are sustainable and reach a critical mass of people who need and want them.

For More Information

Elizabeth Krause
Elizabeth Krause, Senior Program Officer

“Some of my most content times are when I’m at a beautiful park with my children watching their bodies and spirits come fully alive. I envision a Central Texas in which everyone has easy and safe access to a vibrant park that supports the range of ways people enjoy being active together.”

Inside Philanthropy Article: The Surprising Appeal of Funding Community Parks

Click here to read the article featuring St. David’s Foundation’s Active Parks Project.

St. David’s Foundation Announces Our Active Parks Project

Marlon Connley of the Trust for Public Land, Earl Maxwell of St. David’s Foundation, Collin Wallis of Austin Parks Foundation, Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, and St. David’s Foundation Board Chair Peter Pincoffs.

Read the Story

Our Parks Initiative: Creating Opportunities to be Active in Central Texas