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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 Agreement (MOA). The input and responsiveness of the Friends Groups during this project is tremendously helpful and influential on the development of the Handbook, policy, and MOA, 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!


Drafts For Review

Second Draft Friends Group Policy

Second Draft Friends Group and Park Authority MOA

Draft PVT Concept

Please review and provide comments, questions, and/or marked up copies to Elizabeth.Ehrreich@fairfaxcounty.gov

Project Status


Aug - Distribute survey to Friends Groups
Sept/Oct - Develop and distribute Handbook Table of Contents (TOC) 1st draft for Friends
- First Friends Group Staff Team Meeting
Nov/Dec - Staff Team reviews TOC 1st draft
- Refine TOC 1st draft
Jan/Feb - Winter Federation of Friends meeting
- Friends review TOC 2nd draft
- Handbook draft begins
- Staff Team reviews Handbook Release 1
Mar/Apr *Reprioritize: determined we need Policy approval and MOA confirmation to move forward with the Handbook
- Policy and MOA work begins
- Begin to receive input on Policy and MOA
May/June - Friends review Policy and MOA
- June 8, 2017 Spring Meeting with Friends
July/Aug - Individual meetings between PA and Friends Groups or potential PVTs
- Friends provide feedback on the Policy, MOA, and PVT 1st drafts
- PA makes revisions and sends out 2nd drafts
- Summer Federation Meeting August 8, 2017
- Form Friends Group Task Force
Sep/Oct - Continue individual meetings between PA and Friends Groups and PVTs
- Friends Group Taskforce refines MOU template, Policy, and identifies next steps
November - Friends Group Policy goes to the Park Authority Board for final approval
Friends Feedback

Summary of August 2016 Survey Responses

Expand1. What information should be included in a Park Authority Friends Group Handbook?

The most common suggestions for what to include in the handbook were background and organizational information on the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA), the Park Authority Board, and the Fairfax County Government; advice and examples of how Friends Groups can manage, structure, and maintain their organization and their membership; information and guidance on fundraising, advocacy, and partnership opportunities; how to establish a nonprofit and get incorporated; and an explanation of the relationship between Friends Groups and the FCPA.


Expand2. What would be helpful to including in the handbook about fundraising and tapping into resources to leverage dollars to meet the Friends Groups’ financial goals?

Explain the role of the Fairfax County Park Foundation (FCPF) and the relationship between the Friends Groups and FCPF. Provide examples and guidance on grant opportunities, developing partnerships, and fundraising, including regulations and requirements to fundraise.


Expand3. As a part of this project we want to address the requests to update or establish MOU’s/MOA’s between Friends Groups and the FCPA. Please let us know your ideas on the elements that should be included in such an agreement.

In the MOU/MOA define the agreement purpose, timeframe, scope of relationship (roles and responsibilities) between the Friends Groups and FCPA, use agreements, transference of funds, and what would happen if a Friends Group dissolves.


Expand4. How can we best keep the communication channels open on this project to make sure you are informed of developments as they occur?

Send out emails to Friends Groups with updates, schedule Federation meetings, include Friends Groups representatives in the process, and distribute materials to Friends Groups with enough time for review and modifications.


Expand5. Any additional thoughts or suggestions?

Some of the suggestions were for Friends Groups to partner together to do joint activities; the Federation meetings could include presentations from FCPA Division Directors; and for the FCPA to look into and share other Friends Groups models.

  • Friends Groups at the Parks
  • Friends Groups at the Parks
  • Friends Groups at the Parks
  • Friends Groups at the Parks
  • Friends Groups at the Parks
  • Friends Groups at the Parks
  • Friends Groups at the Parks
  • Friends Groups at the Parks
  • Friends Groups at the Parks
Meetings and Resources
  • Summer 2017 Federation of Friends Meeting August 8, 2017
    • 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.
  • Spring 2017 Federation of Friends Meeting June 8, 2017
    • 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.


Contact Information

Ms. Henri Stein McCartney, Branch Chief
Regulation and Licensing Branch
Department of Cable and Consumer Services
henri.steinmccartney@fairfaxcounty.gov, 703-324-5845

Mr. Leonard Clark, CRM, CIC, ARM
Insurance Manager Fairfax County Risk Management
Leonard.Clark@fairfaxcounty.gov, 703-324-3051

Title 57, Chapter 5 Virginia State Code

Definitions Virginia Solicitation of Contribution Act 57-48

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Fairfax County Code, Chapter 34 Charitable Solicitation

Fairfax County Volunteer Management System – Sign In

Contact us

We would love to hear any of your comments or questions! If you would like to be added to our Friends Group mailing list, please remember to identify your Friends Group and your role.

BOLD fields are required.

Your e-mail will only be used for updates regarding the Friends Group Project.

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

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