Westchester Parks Foundation Receives Grant for Quality of Life Program

Westchester Parks Foundation (WPF) recently received a $25K grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation that will help kick off the first adaptive trail program in Westchester County. The program entitled “WPF Trails Without Limits” will launch this spring allowing individuals living with paralysis, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy and other disabilities the opportunity to enjoy trails through the use of specially designed All-Terrain Trackchairs that can be used on dirt trails, mud, sand and grass.


 “The health-related benefits of spending time outdoors makes a huge impact on your mental and physical state,” stated Seth Mandelbaum, Chairperson, Westchester Parks Foundation.  “For individuals living with paralysis, the range of immersive outdoor experiences are too often curtailed to the point of being non-existent, regardless of their desire or determination. WPF is trying to change that making Westchester County Parks accessible to all.”  


The Reeve Foundation’s National Paralysis Resource Center made several grants under the Quality-of-Life program awarding grants in different category areas, varying in different amounts. The Direct Effect Quality of Life grants program funds organizations up to $25,000 to support a wide range of projects and activities that will impact individuals living with paralysis and their families. 


“These awarded projects, like the Trails Without Limits program, are addressing some of the most dire needs of our community. Organizations are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic and are now bracing for a possible recession while facing inflation and ever-rising costs,” said Mark Bogosian, Director, Quality of Life Grants Program, Reeve Foundation.  “The Reeve Foundation is proud to partner with Westchester Parks Foundation and support their initiative that enhances the quality of life for the community we serve.”


 Erin Cordiner, Director of Philanthropy & Community Engagement, Westchester Parks Foundation added: “In speaking with our community partners, we know that this program will mean so much to individuals living with paralysis, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, and many other disabilities, and will stretch even further to benefit family members and caregivers. For some, it may be the first hike they’ve ever had the chance to be included in. For others, it may be the first time immersed in trails since their diagnosis. But everyone deserves to experience the benefits of nature and enjoy the beauty our park system offers. We’re here to ensure that happens today and continues for generations to come.” 


Westchester County Parks Commissioner Kathy O’Connor added: “Westchester County’s parks feature ADA-approved ramps, rest facilities, and other features, and we’re thrilled that Westchester Parks Foundation is raising the necessary funds to extend access to our bucolic hiking trails.” 


Westchester Parks Foundation kickstarted the fundraising efforts for this program this past Fall with its #GivingTuesday campaign after a successful pilot program at Saxon Woods Park.  Although enough money has been raised to purchase two trail capable All-Terrain Trackchairs, funds are still needed to support the sustainability of the program regarding staff, training, and supplies annually.  To contribute to this specific initiative, contact Erin@TheWPF.org or visit TheWPF.org