The City of Morris and the Community Foundation of Grundy County are pleased to announce they have recently partnered with each other to create and launch the City of Morris Parks and Recreation Fund.
The fund was created after a generous gift of $50,000 from a local resident was bestowed upon the City of Morris for park improvements. The city created the fund to create an opportunity for like-minded individuals and businesses to donate towards the improvement, creation, equipment purchases, and recreation programming within the City of Morris.
The Community Foundation of Grundy County began in 1999 through a generous grant from the George H. Baum estate. The foundation has grown to over $15 million in assets and has granted over $1.3 million. From a volunteer organization with no staff, the Community Foundation of Grundy County has grown to employ a full-time executive director, a part-time program director, and an accounting manager. The foundation is the only non-profit in Grundy County which meets the “National Standards” of the Council of Foundations regarding governance and financial stewardship.
The City of Morris recently partnered with TRIA Architecture and JSD Professional Services in creating the first ever City of Morris Parks Master Plan which was adopted by the Morris City Council in 2022. As part of their services, TRIA and JSD conducted tours of all city parks and assessed existing site infrastructure, topography, vegetation, access, parking, playing fields, equipment, and recreation spaces. As part of the assessment process, in June 2022, residents were invited to participate in online surveys. The city had an excellent response rate with 861 residents completing the surveys comprised of multiple-choice and open-ended questions regarding the amenities, facilities, and conditions of city parks.
Mayor Chris Brown is excited about the future of park facilities in Morris.
“With the completion and adoption of our comprehensive parks plan, planned renovations to Goodwill and McKinley Parks, and the recent OSLAD Grant award of $600,000 for West Side Park,” Brown said. “The future of our parks has never been brighter. People often forget that Morris does not have a park district. The upkeep and improvements to our parks are solely the responsibility of the city. We have a placed a high priority on improving the quality of life in Morris through park improvements and we believe this is a giant leap forward.”
Brown said Alderwoman Sarah Mettille’s hard work helped make this possible.
“With the hard work of Alderwoman Sarah Mettille, the generous gift we received from a resident and the help of Julie Buck and her team at the Community Foundation in establishing this fund, we think now is the perfect time to remind residents, businesses, and employers that this fund exists, and people can help with the redevelopment and creation of new park amenities.”
Community Foundation of Grundy County Director Julie Buck is excited for this new fund, as well.
“Like the City of Morris, we are excited to get this fund off the ground and working for the residents of Morris,” Buck said. “This generous initial gift is just the boost we need to show others how government and nonprofits can work together to benefit everyone. I am excited to watch the parks plan come to life!”
Families and companies are invited to contribute to the City of Morris Parks & Recreation Fund at the Community Foundation of Grundy County. All types of assets, including cash, stock, and non-cash assets can be gifted to CFGC for deposit into the City parks fund. Gifts can be made online at http://cfgrundycounty.com or mailed to 520 W. Illinois Avenue, Morris, IL 60450. If anyone has questions about donating stock or other non-cash assets, please call or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The CFGC phone is 815-941-0852.
CFGC is a 501c3 public charity, so all donations to the City parks fund are tax-deductible as allowed by law, so please consult a tax professional.