The Trust for Public Land works to protect the places people care about and to create close-to-home parks—particularly in and near cities, where 80 percent of Americans live. Our goal is to ensure that every child has easy access to a safe place to play in nature.
We also conserve working farms, ranches, and forests; lands of historical and cultural importance; rivers, streams, coasts, and watersheds; and other special places where people can experience nature close at hand.
The Trust for Public Land is a U.S. nonprofit organization with a mission to "create parks and protect land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come." Since its founding in 1972, The Trust for Public Land has completed 5,000 park-creation and land conservation projects across the United States, protected over 3 million acres, and helped pass more than 500 ballot measures—creating $70 billion in voter-approved public funding for parks and open spaces. The Trust for Public Land also researches and publishes authoritative data about parks, open space, conservation finance, and urban climate change adaptation. Headquartered in San Francisco, the organization is among the largest U.S. conservation nonprofits, with approximately 30 field offices across the U.S., including a federal affairs function in Washington, D.C.
Consistent with its "Land for People" mission, The Trust for Public Land is widely known for urban conservation work, including New York City playgrounds and community gardens, Chicago's 606 linear park, Los Angeles green alleys, Climate-Smart Cities programs in 20 American cities, and "The 10-Minute Walk" initiative, which aims to put a high-quality park or open space within a 10-minute walk of every resident of every U.S. urban census tract.
Although The Trust for Public Land is an accredited land trust, the organization differs from conventional land trusts in that it does not generally hold or steward conservation property interests. Instead, The Trust for Public Land works with community members, public agencies, and other conservation NGOs to identify park-creation and land protection projects, and then helps plan, fund, protect, and/or create those spaces, with ownership of any resulting property interests typically transferring to local, state, or federal public agencies, or to other conservation NGOs.
In addition to creating parks and protecting open spaces, The Trust for Public Land is a leading advocate for public conservation funding at the local, state, and federal levels. Through campaigns, ballot measures, and legislative advocacy, the organization works—often in concert with its affiliated 501(c)4 nonprofit, The Trust for Public Land Action Fund—to ensure adequate funding for many of the federal and state public funding programs relied on by public park and conservation agencies, and by conservation NGOs.
The Trust for Public Land also researches, publishes, and contributes to many authoritative national databases and platforms providing information about U.S. parks, protected open spaces, conservation finance, and urban climate risks, including ,ParkServe, , , the ,LandVote, and "Climate-Smart Cities" Decision Support Tools.
Our Land, a strategy for protecting wild, working, and other open spaces, with an emphasis on enabling public access to natural areas for outdoor recreation.
Climate-Smart Cities™ program, which helps municipalities assess climate risks, develop resilience strategies, and identify sites for parks, greenways, and other multi-benefit green infrastructure, using GIS-based, city-specific decision support tools
Center for City Park Excellence, which provides "research on parks and works to create, improve, and promote urban parks," and maintains The Trust for Public Land's ParkServe, , and platforms, which provide, respectively, maps and data about 14,000 U.S. municipal park systems, park system rankings for America's 100 largest cities, and information about how communities can create and steward high-quality parks.
Plan – The Trust for Public Land provides GIS-based spatial analysis services, including greenprinting, greenway and trail planning, and large landscape analysis.
Fund – The organization advocates for public conservation funding by providing technical assistance, campaign services, research data, and conservation economics analyses.
Protect – The Trust for Public Land works with willing sellers, public agencies, and conservation nonprofits to negotiate, structure, fund, and complete the conservation real estate transactions that result in the acquisition and protection of land for parks and open spaces.
The Trust for Public Land was founded in San Francisco in 1972 by Huey Johnson, the former western regional director of The Nature Conservancy, and other San Francisco Bay Area and national lawyers and conservationists. Johnson’s goal was to create an organization that would use emerging real estate, legal, and financial techniques to conserve land for human use and public benefit. An additional founding goal was to extend the conservation and environmental movements to cities, where an increasingly large segment of the population lived. Early Trust for Public Land programs of the 1970s and ‘80s included:
The Land Trust Program, which helped found or train about one-third of the nation’s then-existing local land trusts. In the 1980s, the Trust for Public Land joined other groups to found the Land Trust Alliance, in order to train and support local land trusts.
The Trust for Public Land Action Fund
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, The Trust for Public Land is legally limited in the amount it can spend on campaigning for legislative and ballot measures. In 2000, the organization launched a 501(c)(4) affiliate, The Conservation Campaign, which is not limited in such spending. This affiliate entity is now called The Trust for Public Land Action Fund and frequently works with The Trust for Public Land to help pass local and state conservation finance measures.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94104-4148 | Tax-exempt since Feb. 1978
Classification (NTEE) Environmental Beautification and Aesthetics (Environmental Quality, Protection and Beautification )
Nonprofit Tax Code Designation: 501(c)(3) Defined as: Organizations for any of the following purposes: religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition (as long as it doesn’t provide athletic facilities or equipment), or the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.
Donations to this organization are tax deductible.
Founded in 1993, EWG focuses on toxics, agriculture and western lands issues. Our effective advocacy is bolstered by extensive web databases and a 500,000-person email list, which have become major forces in online information distribution.