OPRA Foundation

Research. Educate. Collaborate.

The OPRA Foundation, the fundraising ally of Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA), undertakes research, educates critical audiences, and collaborates with allied partners to further the cause of public parks and recreation.


The Foundation identifies, develops, and funds empirically-based research supporting OPRA’s institutional values:

  • Recreation plays a critical role in the development and maintenance of the human body and spirit;
  • Conservation and preservation of our natural resources represents a critical societal goal;
  • The public sector should seek these ends relative to existing local demand;
  • Recreation and park agencies should make their services available to all; and,
  • The park and recreation profession must educate audiences to the benefits of parks and recreation.

Funded research projects should pay particular attention to emerging trends influencing public parks and recreation. Trend analysis allows the profession and cause to anticipate and capitalize on emerging needs and demand. The OPRA Foundation envisions serving as a viable and reliable source and funder of cutting-edge basic research.


The understanding of and commitment to public parks and recreation has evolved as for-profit providers assume an ever-larger share of the leisure market and public policy ebbs and flows. The Foundation seeks educational opportunities and tools to foster a greater understanding of the role public parks and recreation plays in our economy and culture. In particular, The Foundation seeks to disseminate the practical application of its research through its educational programs. It focuses educational efforts on:

  • OPRA Members. OPRA members represent public park and recreation’s most effective advocates. The Foundation seeks opportunities to make OPRA members more effective professionals and proponents.
  • Citizen Advocates. Citizen advocates represent a powerful yet untapped resource for public parks and recreation. They represent the important linkage between public parks and recreation agencies and the populations they serve. Citizen advocates also lend their personal credibility to the cause. The Foundation supports efforts to cultivate, educate, and utilize this important audience.
  • Public Officials. Public officials control vast resources that could potentially benefit public parks and recreation. Yet few fully appreciate the important underpinnings public parks and recreation provide our culture and economy. The OPRA Foundation seeks to educate public officials about the important role public parks and recreation play through public policy research and its dissemination.
  • Higher Education. Academics control, to a large degree, the perceptions of public parks and recreation through their teaching and research. The Foundation seeks to develop programs to allow academics to interface with professionals and citizen advocates in the public parks and recreation arena.
  • Public Parks and Recreation Users. The nation’s demographic composition provides an unparalleled opportunity for public parks and recreation. The Foundation seeks to inform its clients of these opportunities and their impact on local communities. This represents a particularly important audience since they represent the “public” in public parks and recreation.


The OPRA Foundation supports OPRA’s strategic vision of connecting public parks and 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 such as the Ohio Greenways Project.

32 Years of Dedication!

38 scholarships totaling over $32,000 to students pursuing an education in the field of parks, recreation, natural resources, etc.

In 8 years, nearly $25,000 has been provided to over 100 members for continuing education opportunities.

Over the last 6 years, 22 grants have been awarded for $36,750.

OPRA Foundation has funded 4 research projects across the state totaling $7,250.

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