OPRA Foundation

Photo Courtesy of Five Rivers MetroParks


The OPRA Foundation (Foundation) is a philanthropic partner of the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) and seeks to have a positive impact on communities by creating recreation opportunities for everyone; inspire students and professionals; and influence member agencies, partnerships, and citizen advocates to seek innovative opportunities to change lives.



The Foundation supports parks and recreation initiatives to provide access to all. Annually the Foundation will seek partner agencies to identify a project that improves or increases accessibility for either capital improvements or recreational program access.

Business Community
Organize, plan, and develop an annual fundraising campaign to provide a way for businesses, large private donors, and philanthropic organizations to contribute to this larger annual goal.

Annual Giving Campaign
The annual giving campaign is focused toward small-dollar donations through grassroots and peer-to-peer fundraising efforts. The contributions received through this campaign further the efforts of the Foundation to secure the financial foundation so long term strategic planning can be effective and action steps are implemented consistently.

Who we serve
  • OPRA Members.  Provide opportunities to make OPRA members more effective professionals and proponents.
  • Citizen Advocates. Support efforts to cultivate, educate, and utilize this important audience.
  • Public Officials. Educate public officials about the important role public parks and recreation play through public policy research.
  • Higher Education.  Develop programs to allow students to interface with professionals and citizen advocates in the public parks and recreation industry.
  • Public Parks and Recreation Users.  Inform stakeholders of opportunities to impact their local community.



The Foundation seeks educational opportunities and tools to foster a greater understanding of the role public parks and recreation play in our economy and culture.

Scholarship Opportunities
Academic Scholarships—The Foundation offers academic scholarship opportunities intended to support individual academic advancement or research in a field directly related to parks management, recreation management, or therapeutic recreation. Funds must be used for an accredited academic institution.

Continuing Education Scholarships—The Foundation believes in the value of education opportunities.  The Foundation provides opportunities to professionals interested in attending an industry-specific professional development training or OPRA annual conference.

Grant Opportunities
Increased Accessibility—Provide financial support to develop or improve accessible programs, capital infrastructure, facilities, or amenities thereby attracting people with all levels of abilities.

Innovative Programming—Provide financial support for new and innovative programming offered by OPRA members benefiting their communities.



The Foundation supports OPRA’s strategic vision of connecting public parks to recreation stakeholders. This can only happen with the development of effective collaborations between the people and organizations involved in public parks and recreation. The Foundation seeks opportunities to build, facilitate, and manage these collaborations.

The Foundation believes in the value of partnerships to provide added value for our members that support community initiatives and strengthen industry knowledge.

Planned Giving

Over 40 Years of Dedication!

51 scholarships totaling $45,000 to students pursuing an education in the field of parks, recreation, natural resources, etc.

Over $42,000 has been provided to over 165 members for continuing education opportunities.

Over the last 7 years, 63 grants have been awarded for over $85,000.

OPRA Foundation has funded 6 research projects across the state for over $9,000.