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About Us

About Us

Our Mission and History

At Friends of Des Moines Parks, we are dedicated to creating a healthier and more vibrant Des Moines community for all by preserving, enhancing and advocating for parks, trails and recreational programs.

We believe that improving parks and supporting opportunities for recreation elevates the quality of life for our residents and visitors, enriching the Des Moines community.


First established by a group of citizens as The Des Moines Park and Recreation Foundation in 1993, the Friends of Des Moines Parks is a nonprofit 501c3 organization securing philanthropic dollars from grants, private donors, event sponsors and corporate partners to support our 78 parks, 82 miles of trail, community recreation centers and gardens, aquatic facilities and numerous recreational programs. Prioritizing equitable recreational access has been a cornerstone for the Friends of Des Moines Parks since its inception. The Friends continue to extend critical support for swim lesson scholarships, youth sports programs, upgrading or replacing park amenities like playgrounds and shelters, funding trail improvements, and supporting sustainability and conservation. 

Building Healthy Communities

Creating spaces and activities that promote health and wellness for all ages.

Creating Inclusivity and Connections

Developing parks and programs where every member of our diverse community feels welcome and included.

Conserving and Beautifying Nature

Conserving the natural beauty of our parks and city spaces to help secure a bright future.

Cultivating Youth and the Future

Nurturing our next generation with enriching programs and safe spaces for our youth.

Our Focus Areas 

Your Support Matters

The Friends of Des Moines Parks bridges the gap between public funding and the costs to deliver one of the premier park systems in the country to the Des Moines community. As budgets and resources are increasingly stretched to support Des Moines’ park system, public funding often falls short of what's needed to keep our parks and programs thriving. 


We collaborate closely with the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department, the 2022 NRPA Gold Medal Winner for excellence in long-range planning, fiscal and resource management and innovative approaches to delivering superb park and recreation services. As a private 501(c)3 non-profit foundation, we get to support the amazing and innovative work in progress while retaining the flexibility of an independent organization governed by a non-political volunteer Board. This public-private partnership allows us to adapt quickly to support and improve our cherished public spaces and programs in ways that would otherwise not be possible. 

Parks and Recreation Resources

Check out these Parks & Recreation resources to learn more about the parks and recreation vision, projects and innovations that help create a brighter future for Des Moines through parks:


  • The Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan, LiveDSM – This comprehensive vision and plan, developed in 2019, outlines how Des Moines will transform parks and recreation from a series of distinct outdoor spaces scattered throughout the metro to a system that meets residents where they live and aims to elevate their everyday quality of life.

  • Des Moines Parks and Recreation 2023 Annual Report  – This report summarizes all that happened in 2023 and  includes a list of all the parks amenities and programs that are supported for just $169 a year in property taxes.

  • Parks & Recreation Projects – Check out current and future projects and plans for Des Moines park system.

Board Members

Andy McCoy



I am an avid cyclist and enjoy the City of Des Moines trails system, dirt trails in the parks, and riding around the City with my family. 

I am Senior Water Resources Engineer at HDR and have a passion for solving problems that involve floods, flooding, water supply, water recreation, and flood risk with computer models!

Dylan Lampe


Vice President

I enjoy watching and playing sports. On Saturdays in the Fall you can find me in Iowa City cheering on the Hawks or glued to the Chiefs games on Sundays. I also enjoy brewery hopping on our great trails, live music, most any body of water, and going on travel adventures with my partner and our dog. My day job is with F&G where I lead an operations team.

Scott Nevitt



I absolutely love our trails around the DSM area, so you will find me either training or leisure riding during the spring and summer months while preparing for Ragbrai which is a perfect complement to my love for the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Fair! I  love mentoring, coaching, and helping others achieve their performance goals.

Allison Hay



I joined the Friends board after learning about the Every Kid Gets a Ball program and all the wonderful work this group does to support our community. During the week I work on the marketing team at an insurance company in downtown Des Moines and in my spare time I enjoy traveling and spoiling my niece and nephews. 

At Large

Ex Officio and Honorary Members

Jane Hein
Cynde Fanter

Liz Neumann

Dr. Michael Eberle
Janis Ruan
Carl Voss


Executive Director

I spend my time hiking, biking, traveling and catching live music with my husband Eric, and spoiling the family dog, Layla. I also enjoy cooking and attending our daughter's soccer matches and track meets.

Jenna Bates


Accounting Director

I enjoy traveling, hiking, biking, and exploring with my husband, daughter, and pup.  My favorite Des Moines Park is Grays Lake and I love how connected Des Moines is with all the great trails.

Jess 2019 Condnesed.jpg


Administrative Assistant

I love summer days, taking my sons to playgrounds & splash pads. Together with my husband, we enjoy traveling,  biking the trails and drinking craft beer! 

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