Friends of Grand Rapids Parks Announces Search for New Executive Director


For Immediate Release

June 26, 2015



Kristen Guinn, 616-458-9481, kguinn@shrr.com

Bill Kirk, (616) 719-4610, bkirk@downtowngr.org


Friends of Grand Rapids Parks Announces Search for New Executive Director

Organization poised for next generation of leadership; reflects fondly on Faber’s leadership


(GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.) –Friends of Grand Rapids Parks (FGRP) has announced that Steve Faber, the organization’s Executive Director since 2009, has accepted a new position outside the organization with Byrum & Fisk Communications as their West Michigan Team Leader.  Faber’s last day with Friends of Grand Rapids Parks as Executive Director will be June 28.  He will continue to be available in a support role through the next two months, working with a soon to be announced Interim Director while the organization conducts their search for a new full-time Executive Director position to be filled by the fall of 2015.

“Steve’s dedication and work has cemented Friends of Grand Rapids Parks’ role as a leadership organization in the community, and has put our park system on a sustainable path for future generations to enjoy. The incredible staff at Friends continues to serve the community in amazing ways and will be the leaders in the next generation of the organization. We congratulate Steve for his unparalleled leadership and effort, and we are thrilled for the new opportunities that lie ahead for him and for Friends as we grow into a new era for the organization,” stated Kristen Guinn, FGRP Board of Directors President.

A group of dedicated community members had a vision in 2007 to build Friends of Grand Rapids Parks from the ground up, which led to the hiring of Faber in 2009.  Since then, the organization has achieved incredible success in creating a game-changing non-profit in the community that in a very short time has made a huge impact, is financially healthy and sustainable, and is poised for a great future.

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks has led efforts to acquire, build, or redevelop 18 acres of park space in Grand Rapids, and has stepped in to coordinate over 30,000 volunteer hours in our parks during a time when economic and budgetary forces beyond anyone’s control could have resulted in basic abandonment of our parks. Some significant achievements include:

  • Expanding Joe Taylor Park in a Grand Rapids neighborhood underserved for green space, and leading the effort to create the beautiful Pleasant Park on a former surface parking lot in the South Hill neighborhood
  • Acquisition of the 4th Street Woods to expand park space and recreational opportunities
  • Multiple successful fundraising campaigns to keep our City pools open under threat of closure
  • FGRP has been a stellar partner to the City of Grand Rapids, engaging the community and neighborhoods in the planning of 16 parks, as well as playing a critical role in securing dedicated funding sources for our parks, from capital campaigns and sponsorships to an overwhelming, historic victory at the ballot box in 2013
  • FGRP launched the Urban Forest Project in 2011 which has been nationally recognized in areas like data driven planning, community engagement, and urban forest expansion and management
  • FGRP established a Parks Maintenance and Improvement Fund at the Community Foundation to help with ongoing maintenance at new parks


About Friends of Grand Rapids Parks


The Friends of Grand Rapids Parks is an independent, citizen led, nonprofit enterprise founded in 2008, working closely with but separate from the City, with the mission to identify specific park projects, mobilize people, and generate resources to protect, enhance, and expand the City’s parks and public spaces. In a nutshell, we make park improvement projects happen by bringing together neighbors, park users, the City, funders, volunteers and contractors.  We believe that vibrant parks and public spaces are essential to support the community’s economic competitiveness, environmental health and cultural well-being. We understand that a healthy park system is a long-term commitment.



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