Managing Partners

The RiverFirst Inititative was formed in 2012 through Memoranda of Agreement between the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Parks Foundation.



With 182 park properties totaling nearly 6,732 acres of land and water, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board provides places and recreation opportunities for all people to gather, celebrate, contemplate, and engage in activities that promote health, well-being, community, and the environment. Each year, approximately 18 million visits are made to the nationally acclaimed Minneapolis park system. Its urban forests, natural areas and waters endure and captivate. Its Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway®, neighborhood parks, recreation centers and diversified programming have made the Minneapolis park system an important component of what makes Minneapolis a great place to live, play and work.  To learn more about the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, visit



As of the 2010 census, the estimated population of the City of Minneapolis is 382,578. Together with adjoining St. Paul, Minneapolis and surrounding communities is known as the Twin Cities, the 16th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. with 3.3 million residents. Minneapolis lies on both banks of the Mississippi River, just north of the river’s confluence with the Minnesota River at historic Ft. Snelling. The city is abundantly rich in water, with over twenty lakes and wetlands, the Mississippi River, creeks and waterfalls, many connected by parkways in the Chain of Lakes and the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway®. Among cities of similar densities, Minneapolis has the most dedicated parkland. It was once the world’s flour milling capital and a hub for timber, and today is the primary business center between Chicago and Seattle, with Minneapolis proper containing the fifth highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies. It has cultural organizations that draw creative people and audiences to the city for theater, visual art, writing, and music. The community’s diverse population has a long tradition of charitable support through progressive public social programs, as well as private and corporate philanthropy.



The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is focused on the Next Generation of Parks™, with an emphasis on parks programming and design education, innovation and implementation. Beginning in 2010, the Parks Foundation co-sponsored the globally renowned Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition, the largest in the state’s history. This year, the Parks Foundation’s projects include Water Works Park on the downtown riverfront, the RiverFirst Initiative with the Minneapolis Park Board and the City of Minneapolis, the beloved _[ (Minne, the Lake Creature) floating sculpture, and the SiteSeeing urban design curriculum for youth.