Decatur Parks Foundation

 Mission: By encouraging the financial support of businesses and individuals, the Decatur Parks Foundation supports the Decatur Park District’s facilities, park & recreation programs, which spur economic development, nurture our citizens’ health and well-being, and enhance our community’s quality of life.

Vision: As an enthusiastic advocate for parks, recreation and green spaces, the Decatur Parks Foundation will create innovative partnerships, encourage volunteerism, and secure financial support to enhance recreational, educational, and cultural opportunities in our community.

Thank you for your ongoing interest and support! ~ Dr. William Van Alstine, President


The following projects were made possible, thanks to generous contributions to the Decatur Parks Foundation:

  • Anna Bethel Fisher Rock Garden
  • Decatur Park District Bike Trail System
  • Dreamland Lake
  • Fairview Park Rose Garden (2012)
  • Fido Fields Dog Park (2007)
  • Project Playground I and II
  • DSC_0951Rotary Park
  • Schaub Floral Display Center, Greenhouse & Norma Schaub Memorial Garden
  • Scovill Zoo Shilling Environmental Education Center
  • Scovill Zoo Endangered Species Carousel
  • Scovill  Zoo Penguin Exhibit (2013)
  • Scovill Zoo Zebra Exhibit (2007)
  • Ursula Beck Tennis Center
  • Wikoff Oriental Garden at Scovill Park


Foundation Board of Directors

Dr. William Van Alstine, President
Jim Schwarz, Vice-President
Mindy Chadwick, Secretary
Rod Schanefelt, Treasurer
Chris Riley, Park Board Liaison
Stacey Young, Park Board Liaison
Erv Arends
Natalie Beck
Brandy Brown
Brian Byers
Cindy Deadrick-Wolfer
Kara Demirjian-Huss
Tom Hostetler
Dr. Stephen Huss
Kara Johnston
Chuck Kuhle
Cindy Laegeler
Judy Locke
James Neff
Michelle Reynolds
Cyndy Smith





Scovill Sculpture Park

The Decatur Parks Foundation, along with the Decatur Park District, DPD_Collage 36x24_Proof (1)Children’s Museum of Illinois, Decatur Area Arts Council, and Neuhoff Media are collaborating to develop a new, accessible sculpture park in Scovill Park! This project is made possible thanks to the generosity of The Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Read more about this exciting new addition here.





Zoo-rific Evening In Key West
Saturday, August 27
Island Adventure begins at 5 p.m.   ~   $75 per person

Don’t miss the 2016 Zoo-rific Evening in Key West, featuring tropical food and beverage stations, jugglers and street entertainment reminiscent of Mallory Square, animal interactions, and an auction of treasures in the “Pirate’s Cove” at the end of the evening! All proceeds benefit renovations in the center of Scovill Zoo. For tickets and sponsorship information, call the Decatur Parks Foundation at 422-5911.




Park Reforestation Project

On September 9, 2015, the Park District partnered with WSOY and Team Soy for a Park Reforestation Radiothon in recognition of the Park District’s 90th anniversary. Gifts from individual and corporate donors far exceeded our goal of 90 donors pledging $90 for 90 trees! Over $22,000 was raised for trees in Fairview and Nelson parks. “On behalf of the Decatur Parks Foundation, I thank all who helped us celebrate the Park District’s 90th Anniversary,” said Jim Schwarz, Foundation Vice-President and tree reforestation project coordinator. “Special thanks to Brian Byers, Neuhoff Media, and Team Soy for their efforts in the great success we achieved. We also appreciate the generosity of Elwin Tree Farm and look forward to working with them on this project. Planting trees in our parks is a contribution to future generations who will enjoy our parks as much as we have over our lifetime.” View the Herald & Review thank you ad here. Thank you again to all who contributed to this important initiative!



Jerry Menz Arts Scholarship

The Jerry Menz Arts Scholarship provides opportunities for talented youth to succeed at the highest possible levels in the arts by offering scholarships for the Park District’s programs in music, theatre, and dance. Awards are based upon staff recommendations, prior participation in Park District programs, and a demonstrated talent and passion for the performing arts. Gifts of any size are most appreciated and will keep the arts alive in the greater Decatur area.

To make a contribution, please call the Foundation office at 422-5911. For details information, visit the Arts Scholarship page.


Youth Scholarships

All children grown, learn and benefit from the arts, recreation and play! The Decatur Park District recognizes that financial assistance may be required for some individuals to participate in Park District programs. To provide equal access regardless of ability to pay, a Youth Scholarship program has been established for qualified residents. Eligibility is based upon family size and income level. Awards are made without regard to race, religion, age, disability or national origin. Please call Barb Kessinger at 422-5911 if you have questions.

Youth Scholarship Form


Memorial Gifts

Living Tribute Program

Honor a loved one or commemorate a special event by having a tree planted through the Park Foundation’s Living Tribute Program. With your $1000 donation, the Park District will plant and care for your tree. In addition, you will be presented a Living Tribute Certificate and a map highlighting the location of your tree. The trees are also linked via an online map here.

The Living Tribute program offers a natural gift that will beautify Decatur’s parks for years to come.

Download a request for Living Tribute trees HERE or call Jill Applebee at 422-5911.



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Adult Co-ed Indoor Volleyball Leagues


Last Day of the Regular Zoo Season


Stage Make-up Class