A Happy Fourth!

Good morning Friends of the James River Park!

We have reached the end of June, meaning we are about to close out one fiscal year and start another. It also means that I am just a week or two short of one year on the job! I am writing this post today to talk about what we have done over the last year, what we will do in the future, and to wish you all a great 4th of July weekend in the Park.

Since starting as Executive Director for the Friends, I have been working hard to ensure that we have the infrastructure that we need to get big things done for the Park. This work has involved reorganizing our board committee structure, recruiting a diverse class of new board members, growing our fundraising relationships, and working to clarify and define our relationship with the City of Richmond/JRPS Staff. We have also raised a significant amount of money to support the future projects we are planning right now.

Like the FY that is just ending, this next year will be a big growth year for FOJRP. I feel like we have the pieces in place to get some big things done and I am looking forward to improving the Park with your help. In FY 23, which starts on July 1st, we will be raising and spending more than $430,000 on work to protect, expand, and enhance the James River Park System. We are increasing spending in nearly every category and providing a significant amount of direct operational support for JRPS Staff.

As part of our work to strengthen the Park, this year we will be adding a part-time staff member dedicated to supporting volunteer management in the Park, spending at least $100,000 on capital improvement projects, and committing additional resources to environmental conservation projects. We are also launching a new website for the park in a few weeks and looking at new ways to learn more about how people are using the Park. I am excited to be able to do this work on behalf of our supporters and everyone that enjoys the Park.

I ask you to think about the JRPS Staff and the nonprofits that support their work while you are out enjoying the Park this holiday weekend. It takes all of us working together to make the Park the great place that it is, and it would not be possible without the additional support provided by organizations like Friends of the James River Park. We take an active role in helping manage the park, and we need your help to keep making a difference. As a nonprofit, we rely on your financial support to make that happen.

I am starting off my holiday weekend by painting over graffiti on Belle Isle. I want to remind you to check the water levels before you go out this weekend, wear a life jacket, and make sure you know what to expect out on the river. We want everyone that visits the Park to make it in and out safely this holiday weekend.

I was excited to start my job with Friends of the James River Park in July of last year. I wake up every day still proud to serve you all and make an impact on a park that is enjoyed by so many. This is the 50th year of the Park’s existence and I am grateful for the opportunity to play even a small role in building the legacy of the James River Park System. Thank you all for your support!

Look for our annual report in a month or two to learn how we spent your donated dollars this year!

See you in the Park!

Josh Stutz
Executive Director
Friends of the James River Park System

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