Tad Jeffrey Grants’ Hall of Fame

Development Assistant, Friends of Metro Parks

This ADA-accessible facsimile of the eagle nest at Highbanks was built outside the park’s nature center and benefitted from a Tad Jeffrey Memorial Grant.

Friends of Metro Parks is the non-profit organization that helps support the Metro Parks through advocacy, outreach and fundraising. But what are we fundraising for? Each year, Friends of Metro Parks sets aside funds for a mini-grant program called the “Tad Jeffrey Memorial Fund.”

Friends of Metro Parks sends out an application to Metro Parks’ park managers in hopes that one of the staff will have the next “big idea.” We award grants up to $2,000 for items that would otherwise not be covered in the park budget to make each year bigger and better than the year before.

The key to winning a Tad Jeffrey Grant is park staff to be innovative and unique in what they apply for. Our favorite applications generally have some sort of interactive component for our visitors, or help to expand accessible programming. We want public funds to go towards the most important things in the parks, like buying new land, paying staff to keep things clean and safe, or buying new equipment when ours breaks. We just like to help with the fun stuff that enhances the user experience!

Here’s a list of fun projects we’ve funded in the past! We hope this year we have a whole bunch of new great ideas to add to our hall of fame!

2022: Highbanks Water Refill Station
To help at big events during the summer!

2022: Golf Course Urban Container Garden
For additional programming opportunities at the Golf Course!

2022: Outdoor Adventure Blacklight Programming
Using the Metro Parks during non-traditional hours was something asked for in the levy. This provides night-time programming!

2021: Glacier Ridge Dog Park Toy Bin
Is this necessary? No. Does it add value to the park, its four legged visitors, and their owners? Absolutely!

2021: Highbanks ADA accessible Eagle Nest
An awesome ADA accessible display/play area, and easy enough to park a wheelchair in so every child (and adult) can get the full experience!

2020: Customer Service: Explorer Challenge
Like the winter hikes, but during the summer! Especially important for DIY programming during the height of the COVID pandemic.

2018: Blacklick Woods: Augmented Reality Sandbox
Creative Ideas like this always have a better chance at winning!

2018: Resource Management: Aquatic Ecosystem Engagement
Bathyscopes are cool and allow people to easily see what’s underwater. Not only is this great for the Resource Management team, but also for programs!

A biologist uses a bathyscope, of the type acquired by resource management, during a mussel reintroduction project in Big Darby Creek. Photo Mac Albin

2017: Sharon Woods Multipurpose Fitness Station
Trails are great for running or biking, but there’s so much more to fitness! These fitness stations help make a more well-rounded workout.

2017: Scioto Audubon Popcorn Machine
Have we had a Tad Jeffrey Grant get more use than the popcorn machine?

If you could put anything in the park, what would it be? Send a message to friends@metroparks.net, or follow Friends of Metro Parks on Instagram and Facebook to let us know!