New Funding for Domus and City of Stamford Parks Partnership

This is a reposting of an article by  that appeared in the Stamford Advocate.

STAMFORD — In a city with more than 9,000 acres of green space, there are bound to be pockets that could use sprucing up. 

A new nonprofit aims to raise private funding to “beautify” and preserve those spaces.

On Wednesday, Mayor Caroline Simmons and city Director of Operations Matthew Quinones announced the formation of the Stamford Parks Community Partnership.

“It’s about leveraging more private-sector resources and dollars to invest in parks across the city,” Simmons said during an event at Scalzi Park, one of the biggest recreational areas in Stamford. “I think Scalzi is a perfect place to be announcing this because of all the vibrancy this park offers… It represents the inclusiveness and diversity of our city that we want to make sure we’re replicating in all of our parks.”

The goal to establish a nonprofit organization came from a parks strategic plan completed last year, Quinones said.

He said the focus of the new organization is on areas that “aren’t typically priorities” in the city’s capital budget and aren’t already supported by a nonprofit.

Those include “pocket parks,” medians and other small pieces of city land, which may be targets for illegal dumping, he said. Projects could include adding benches and playscapes to an area or planting flowers.

It creates an opportunity to expand Stamford’s Youth Service Corps, Quinones said. The program, which is the result of a partnership between the city and the nonprofit Domus, gives teenagers and young adults paid employment opportunities through beautification projects.

Amanda Olberg from Dalio Education said the Greenwich philanthropy will match donations the Stamford Parks Community Partnership receives dollar for dollar up to $100,000. She said Dalio Education wanted to support the Youth Service Corps as part of its “commitment to young people who are at risk or disconnected from school and work.”

Stephanie Odenath, the vice chair of the partnership’s board of directors, said the group is also expanding an adopt-a-spot program to include smaller parks and renaming it “adopt-a-green.”

Through the program, individuals, families, community organizations and businesses can sign up to care for green spaces around the city, according to the partnership’s website, which includes a map of the available sites.

Odenath is the director of development at Wellbuilt Company, a Greenwich-based real estate development firm and one of the group’s corporate partners. Other partners include Henkel, Philip Morris International and The Ashforth Company, which all have offices in Stamford.

The chair of the nonprofit’s board is Natalie Coard, the executive director of Stamford housing authority Charter Oak Communities.

Board members also include Leah Kagan, Stamford’s economic development director; David Kooris, the president of the Stamford Downtown Special Services District; and Nette Compton, the president and CEO of the Mill River Park Collaborative.

Quinones said the collaborative will lend its expertise in fundraising to the Parks Community Partnership, which he said will also ensure that the two organizations don’t compete with each other for funding.