FRIENDS OF WESTPORT PARKS & RECREATION INC. was conceived by Janis Collins, then Chairman of the Parks & Recreation Commission, and then formed on November 19, 2010 as a non-stock corporation under the laws of the State of Connecticut. At Ms. Collins request, Jeffrey Mayer, the Friends' first chairman, submited an application to the Internal Revenue Service for tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3). The IRS granted the request on May 4, 2011, under Employer ID Number 27-4127337.
The Friends were established as a form of public-private partnership for the purpose of assisting private citizens in raising funds for projects and services for which taxpayer support might not be readily available. Toward this end the Friends Board of Directors defined the organization's mission as seeking to enhance, preserve, protect and promote the Town of Westport's Parks and Recreation facilities and programs in partnership with the Town for the enjoyment of present and future generations of Westport residents.
The Friends' first major project was raising close to $300,000 in cash and in-kind contributions for the construction of Cliff's Place, a Halfway House near the 9th Green of the Town's historic Longshore Golf Course. The refreshment bar and storm shelter was designed and built with the guidance and support of the 9th 1/2 Hole Committee. Later the Friends helped raise funds for Wakeman Town Farms and for designs for a renovation of the Longshore clubhouse, driving range and parking facilities.
The Friends hope to lend assistance to other groups that wish to enhance our parks and recreational facilities. These projects might include planting trees in our parks, improvements to athletic fields, support for the efforts of the Westport Beautification Committee to plant trees or gardens, financing of public benches and shelters, enhancing programs for outdoor concerts sponsored at the Leavitt Pavilion, or otherwise providing support for projects and programs of the Westport Parks & Recreation Department that are facing budgetary pressures.
The Friends understand that there are many ways in which our citizens can contribute to these projects. We welcome contributions in cash or through in-kind contributions of goods and services.