Friends Group Project

Fairfax County, Virginia


TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy.
Fairfax, Virginia

Elizabeth Ehrreich,

Friends Group Project

For over 50 years, the Park Authority’s Friends Groups have supported, enhanced, and advocated for Fairfax County’s parks, facilities, and services. In order to acknowledge and expand upon the added benefit of Friends Groups, the Park Authority’s 2013-2018 Strategic Plan includes a project to develop agency wide consistency in how the Park Authority partners with and supports all of our Friends Groups.

The Friends Group Project deliverables are: a Friends Group Handbook, a new Park Authority Board Policy, and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The input and responsiveness of the Friends Groups during this project is tremendously helpful and influential on the development of the Handbook, policy, and MOU, so we thank you for your help!

We hope the Friends Project Page will help keep our Friends Groups up-to-date on the project status, including what we already accomplished, the current phase, and what is on the horizon.

If want to be added to our Friends Group mailing list or for more information about Friends Groups, please contact Elizabeth Ehrreich at or 703-324-8665.


Help us develop the Friends Group Policy, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and Park Volunteer Team (PVT) Program. Provide comments, questions, and/or marked up copies to

Drafts For Your Review:

Friends Group Policy

Customizable MOU Template revised by Friends Taskforce

Draft Park Volunteer Team (PVT) Concept

Meetings and Resources

  • October 19, 207; November 20, 2017; and December 1, 2017
  • Goals: revise the MOU to be customizable and create a third draft of the MOU, finalize the Friends Policy to go be approved by the Park Board, and review the Capacity Building Funding
  • Agenda
  • Federation of Friends PowerPoint Presentation
  • Major Takeaways:
    • Next Step will be to form a Task Force with Friends representatives and Park Authority staff to finalize the Draft MOU. Friends Groups will then customize the template to best reflect their group. Upon consensus of the Friends Group, the Friends Group and Park Authority will sign the MOU.
    • In general, Friends Groups supported the proposed Capacity Building Fund.
  • Agenda
  • Federation of Friends PowerPoint Presentation
  • Major Takeaways:
    • Policy feedback station: Include in the Policy what the Park Authority will do for Friends Groups and projects to which Friends donate funds should be completed in a timely manner.
    • PVT feedback station: Concerns were expressed about the name and the level of autonomy as a volunteer program. There was very positive feedback that they would be covered under the County’s Volunteer Insurance Policy.

Project Status Timeline




  • Taskforce met in November and completed revisions to the second half of the MOU
  • Proposed the Capacity Building Funding idea to the Park Foundation Board
  • Taskforce will meet in December and provide final comments on the MOU, Policy, and the Capacity Building Funding
  • Distribute the Taskforce's MOU template and Policy to all Friends
  • Develop the PVT Program application and process; continue meeting with PVTs


  • Formed the Friends Taskforce to finalize a MOU template and the Policy
  • Held the first Taskforce meeting and completed revisions to the first half of the MOU
  • Meet with PVTs


  • Staff began individual meetings with Friends Groups or potential Park Volunteer Teams
  • Friends provided feedback on the Policy, MOU, and PVT Program first drafts
  • Staff team revised the Policy, MOU, and PVT Program based on Friends' input
  • Summer Federation Meeting August 8, 2017
  • Developed the Capacity Building Funding idea and received input from Friends
  • Spring Federation of Friends meeting
  • Friends review first drafts of the Policy, MOU, and the PVT Program
  • Reprioritized: determined a Park Board Policy and a Memorandum of Understanding should guide that the Handbook development. Work on the Handbook will continue after the Policy and MOU are completed and approved.
  • Began to draft the Policy and MOU
  • Received initial input from the Staff Team,  County staff on Policy and MOU
  • Winter Federation of Friends meeting
  • Friends reviewed Table of Contents (TOC) second draft
  • Handbook draft begins
  • Staff Team reviews Handbook Release 1


  • Distributed survey to Friends Groups
  • Staff Team for the Friends Group Project, including park staff and the Director's Office, formed and began meeting
  • Park Staff started to work with County Risk Management and the Office of the County Attorney to ensure Friends are protected.
  • Developed Handbook TOC first draft and distributed to Friends for review
  • Staff Team reviewed Friends comments on TOC and drafted a second version of the TOC