75th Anniversary Grant #11: Penn Park Pride

The Boys & Girls Club's new bouncy house, funded by the Penn Park Pride grant, is now available for community groups holding events at Penn Park.

Madison Community Foundation announces a $70,000 grant to support the revitalization of Penn Park.

The grant will fund recreation equipment and an exciting variety of community engagement activities that complement the city of Madison’s major renovation of the shelter and concession/restroom building, parking lot, and other site improvements. 

Penn Park is a seven-acre park on the city’s south side. It is home to the Southside Raiders Football and Cheerleading Program, and located near the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County and One City Schools.

“Madison Community Foundation is thrilled to enhance the efforts underway to update and increase amenities for the beautiful Penn Park and create a more open and welcoming environment for south side residents,” says Bob Sorge, President. “Penn Park already engenders neighborhood and community pride, and this grant will ensure greater opportunities for everyone to use and enjoy all the park has to offer.”

The annual Juneteenth festival, supported by MCF's Penn Park Pride grant, featured the talented Crushin All Force Dance Team.

Highlights of the grant include:

  • Two Boys & Girls Club internships to facilitate recreation equipment and bicycle advocacy. One will provide employment, skills training, and coordination of the equipment, and another will promote bicycle use and repair, working in conjunction with the Wisconsin Bike Fed’s program to install repair stations with bilingual signage in public places across the city. This intern will receive training from DreamBikes and Wheels for Winners to help residents learn to maintain and repair their bikes.
  • Equipment and permanent signage for the Southside Raiders, a youth sports and development program that provides constructive recreational activity and mentoring to 180 elementary through middle school students primarily from the South Madison neighborhoods. The program is also prevention-based and provides alternatives to alcohol, drug use, gang involvement and other anti-social behaviors. Founded in 1972, the Raiders program is operated by parent and community volunteers and is one of the oldest institutions in south Madison.
  • A major community celebration, as well as support of the annual Juneteenth, with food, music and festivities to welcome residents to the new and improved space.
  • New recreation equipment and games, plus a trailer, generator and sound system to streamline portability and versatility for community events and activities.
  • Interpretive signs and engraved picnic tables that highlight the history of the park. As part of the grant, additional picnic tables will be placed in parks throughout the city.

“Penn Park has been a huge staple for the kids we serve at the Boys & Girls Club. We are grateful for this opportunity to partner in providing a revitalized park that our local kids can be proud of and we are excited to hire interns and provide additional recreational opportunities for kids,” says Michael Johnson, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Club of Dane County. “We see this as an opportunity to provide an alternative space for our kids so they don’t turn to alcohol, drug use, or gang involvement. Instead they can participate in activities that will allow them to be creative and expose them to new opportunities that will stick with them for years to come.”

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