Shelby Farms Park lies in the heart of Shelby County in Memphis, Tennessee – 4,500 acres of green space, a community treasure, unrivaled in size and potential anywhere else in the United States.
After years of threats from commercial development and disputes over land use, the Park is now protected by a conservation easement and perfectly positioned to achieve its potential as the next great 21st-century park.
The Park’s bold and visionary Master Plan is a road map to greatness – not just for Shelby Farms Park, but for our community. With several exciting demonstration projects funded, open and garnering national attention, the Master Plan is putting Memphis on the map in a whole new way.
Shelby Farms Park and Shelby Farms Greenline are managed and operated by the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization Shelby Farms Park Conservancy. Our vision is to give rise to a celebrated 21st century park that defines and shapes a great city. Each year, we raise more than $2 million (more than 75 percent of our operating budget) to manage and operate Shelby Farms Park and the Shelby Farms Greenline.
If you believe in this mission, please click here to donate to the Conservancy.
Shelby Farms Park Conservancy (SFPC)
What is Shelby Farms Park Conservancy?
Shelby Farms Park Conservancy (SFPC or the Conservancy) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that manages and operates Shelby Farms Park + Shelby Farms Greenline through a public-private partnership with Shelby County Government. That means the land that comprises Shelby Farms Park + Shelby Farms Greenline remains publicly owned, and that the Conservancy is responsible for daily management, fundraising to meet operations budget needs, setting the vision for the Park's future and stewarding its natural resources.
Each year we raise more than $2 million (more than 75 percent of our operating budget) to manage and operate Shelby Farms Park + Shelby Farms Greenline.
Why does the Conservancy manage Shelby Farms Park + Shelby Farms Greenline?
On March 25, 2007, the Shelby County Board of Commissioners -- acting on recommendations from its special ad hoc committee on Shelby Farms Park -- voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution authorizing Shelby County mayor A C Wharton to negotiate an agreement with a nonprofit organization for the operation, management and leadership of the Park. After four months of negotiations, an agreement was finalized, and a signing ceremony took place July 20, 2007. As part of this process, Mayor Wharton identified the Conservancy as the nonprofit organization to manage and lead the 3,200 acres of the Park, excluding Agricenter International and the area used by county government. In 2010, the management agreement was amended to include Shelby Farms Greenline as an extension of the Park.
What is the purpose of the Conservancy?
We've been granted a historic opportunity to manage, operate and lead the next great park of our time on behalf of the people of Shelby County. Our mission is to give rise to a celebrated 21st-century park that defines and shapes a great city. It began by employing top-notch staff to manage the Park and lead a master planning process that attracted national experts to plan the Park's future. In addition to daily management and fundraising to meet our operations needs, the Conservancy is responsible for implementing the Master Plan/Heart of the Park enhancement and raising the money for it. The $70 million total includes projects already delivered and benefitting the community like Shelby Farms Greenline, Woodland Discovery Playground, Wolf River Pedestrian Bridge, gateway signage and major tree plantings. In addition, the $52 million Heart of the Park project is underway, with a plan to open all new facilities and amenities by fall of 2016.
We are proud to announce that we have completed the Heart of the Park capital campaign! We have our fans to thank of helping us reach this ambitious goal. More than 380 gifts came through, including private donations and $140,000 raise through the public portion of the campaign. Together, we have raised $70 million for incredible enhancements at Shelby Farms Park!
What does Shelby Farms Park Conservancy do?
A lot! Our job is as big as the Park itself. We're responsible for the daily maintenance and operations of Shelby Farms Park + Shelby Farms Greenline. We care for approximately 2,900 acres of parkland and 6.5 miles of urban trail with an annual operating budget of $2.5 million. Staff includes a roughly 25 member team of administrative and operational ranger staff. We log more than 30,000 volunteer hours in a year! Caring for the Park + Greenline is a community effort.
Conservancy staff cares for hundreds of acres of lawns and grasslands, tens of thousands of trees, more than 20 lakes and ponds, hundreds of acres of woodlands; plants thousands of trees each year; maintains major amenities like the Woodland Discovery Playground, Wolf River Pedestrian Bridge and dozens of miles trails, including Shelby Farms Greenline. The Conservancy offers a variety of volunteer programs that serve adults, children, teenagers, seniors, community groups and schools; and hosts major community events. We work closely with our friends at Shelby County Government. Our 10-year management agreement ensures that the county maintains its funding investment of about $500,000 per year. Through the generosity of corporate sponsors, foundations and individual donors and members, we work hard to raise $2 million (more than 75 percent of our operating budget) privately to meet the operations needs of the Park + Greenline.