Inspire. Educate. Support.

We are fortunate to make our living in the very dynamic and rewarding profession of parks and recreation.

Regardless of the position you hold,  you are making a difference in the lives of your constituency. Though your journey is not over, we are asking you to Pay it Forward, to reach back and help equip the next generation of park and recreation professionals. How? Through a tax deductible donation to the Illinois Park and Recreation Foundation. The endowment is housed within the Illinois Park and Recreation Foundation and only the interest earned can be used to support IPRA member’s educational and professional development needs. The principal will remain intact to ensure that the funds donated by individuals like you, will be used to help build the future of parks and recreation professionals throughout the state of Illinois for years to come.

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  121 Bids and $2,630 raised
at the 2021 IPRF Virtual Silent Auction
Thank you!

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Sponsorships Available for IPRA Education Programs

The Illinois Park & Recreation Foundation supports IPRA education programs through financial sponsorships. Interested IPRA volunteer leaders should email Barry Franks at no less than 90 days prior to the event date and include an explanation of the program details. Details should include, but are not limited to, the educational purpose and program format, potential speakers, fees, members to be served, estimated budget for the event, and expected educational benefits/results. See guidelines for further details .

Support the IPRF Silent Auction! Donations & Gift Baskets Needed!

With the 2022 IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference just around the corner on January 27-29, we are once again preparing for the Illinois Park & Recreation Foundation Silent Auction. Following the success of last year’s virtual conference and Silent Auction, this year’s conference attendees will be able to view the baskets both in person or virtually and bid from their phones. More info to come about the logistics of the auction because this letter is a call to action!

As we transition into the new normal, IPRF’s mission is still clear to assist students and IPRA professional member’s continuing education and professional development opportunities through our scholarship programs. The Silent Auction raises funds for the scholarship programs that can provide professionals and students the opportunity to attend professional development conferences and workshops.

Between 2010 and 2021, the IPRF has provided over $83,500 in individual scholarships; $27,200 for student scholarships and $56,300 for professional scholarships. During the COVID-19 pandemic, late 2020 and early 2021, the IPRF Board authorized up to $40,000 in Special Assistance Grants to assist eligible professional members who were experiencing financial hardships due to furloughed, lay-off, terminated from their agency and needed financial assistance. At the conclusion of this assistance program, $33,000 was given out to our fellow professionals in need.

Your help is needed to make this a success! This is your opportunity to help your fellow professionals and invest in the future of a park and recreation professional by donating items for a gift basket for the Silent Auction. No donation is too small or too big. Of course, certificates for golf foursomes, Water Park passes, and restaurants are always welcomed as well!

If you would like to donate a Silent Auction basket, please fill out this form:

If you'd like to make a monetary donation to IPRF, you can do so at:

Donated items can be brought to the Northwest Special Recreation Association (NWSRA) office no later than Friday, January 14th. The NWSRA office is located at:

Northwest Special Recreation Association
3000 W Central Rd, #205
Rolling Meadows, IL 60008

If you have questions, please contact Anne Kiwala at [email protected]  Silent Auction Chair or Heather Weishaar at [email protected], IPRA Communications & Marketing Director.

More information coming soon!

2021 IPRF/Joint Section Golf Outing

Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy a day of golf, fun, and networking at this year’s golf outing! The proceeds support the Illinois Park and Recreation Foundation’s programs including scholarships which assists students and professionals in the field of parks and recreation, the Special Assistance and Disaster Relief Fund for members in need, and diversity, equity and inclusion training for IPRA professionals.

IPRF / Joint Section 2021 Golf Outing Pictures

We appreciate the generosity and support of this year’s event sponsors:

Presenting Sponsors:
Ancel Glink
Laner Muchin

Golf Course Sponsor:
GolfVisions – Tanna Farms

Platinum Sponsors:
Cunningham Recreation
The Lifeguard Store

Gold Sponsors:

Beverage Sponsor:
Speer Financial

Sign Sponsor:
Divine Signs

Golf Ball Sponsor:
New Lenox Community Park District

Hole Sponsors:
Associated Bank, Chicagoland Turf, Henry Bros, First Midwest Bank, Monroe Municipal Truck Equipment, Forever Lawn, Belissimo Tour, Luge Bros, Tressler LLP, NPPFA Benefits, Cody/Braun & Associates, Larson Equipment and Furniture Co, Engineering Resource Associates, IPRA Board of Directors, and IPRF Board of Trustees.

Contest Sponsors:
Sikich, Wight & Company, PDRMA, IPRF, IPRA, Women in Leisure Services Chi Chapter, and Divine Signs.

Foundation Grants $33,000 in Support for Members in Need

Five years ago, the Trustees of the Illinois Park and Recreation Foundation (IPRF) established the Special Assistance and Disaster Relief Fund to support the members of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA) who have fallen on hard times. Little did they know how important this decision would become for IPRA members in 2020! 

Dedicated stewardship and generous gifts grew the fund and when an acute need presented itself due the pandemic, IPRF was able to offer two pandemic relief grants to IPRA members who were significantly impacted by COVID-19 or the subsequent economic downturn. Sixty-six (66), $500 grants were distributed to IPRA members totaling $33,000 in distributions!

“IPRF is committed to the support of the IPRA membership. It is during these times where it is critical for us to step up, lead the charge and set the tone. We need to make sure the IPRA members we serve understand we are here to lend a hand, a shoulder or financial assistance. Will you help us? Invest in your fellow professionals, especially during one of their most challenging times. This pandemic cuts deeper than just their careers, it has affected their families and livelihood.”   - Mike Kies, IPRF Chair

As we all know, the pandemic, layoffs, sickness, and health care costs continue. Hope for the pandemic's demise remains in our hearts and IPRF remains firmly committed to serve IPRA members throughout its duration. Thank you for your generosity and partnership in this noble effort. Would you consider a one-time donation to support a third round of relief grants in 2021? Thank you! We can't do it without you.