Thank you for your editorial on former President George Herbert Walker Bush’s call for volunteerism and the impact of collective action to improve and strengthen our communities. In that spirit, Parkway Partners was founded in 1982 in New Orleans by the Department of Parks and Parkways with the encouragement of then-Mayor Dutch Morial and volunteer and financial support from the Junior League and the Council of Jewish Women. Starting small, Parkway Partners has grown through the ensuing years to enlist the participation of literally thousands of volunteers who have done everything from cutting grass on neutral grounds and in parks and playgrounds to picking up trash on public grounds and helping to preserve and strengthen trees and shrubs on public land.
Many beautification projects throughout the city have been created by garden clubs, volunteer organizations and individuals through Parkway Partners. Funds to support the organization are raised from a variety of sources: fundraisers; grants, both local and national; and donations of varying amounts from individuals, as well. To its credit, Parkway Partners has never requested funds from the city budget.
In addition, Parkway Partners has received national recognition from various sources. The most exciting recognition was from Bush, who invited me to the White House to receive a national volunteerism award for Parkway Partners. The presentation in the garden was followed by an elegant luncheon in the Lincoln Dining Room hosted by the president and Barbara Bush, who were exceptionally warm and gracious hosts.
President Bush’s focus on volunteerism was sincere and heartfelt. He was the point of light that helped to illuminate the thousands that have shone subsequently on cities like New Orleans and enriched the quality of life for those of us who heed his call to community service.
founder, Parkway Partners