Foundation Relaunched To Support a Bright Future for Metroparks


A non-profit foundation lead by a board of community leaders hopes to reignite the spirit of public-private partnerships to support the ambitious goals of Metroparks Toledo.

The spirit of philanthropy fueled a citizens campaign to acquire what is now Wildwood Preserve Metropark in the 1970s, and a grassroots effort 40 years earlier to preserve what is now Pearson Metropark. That spirit is alive today, said Ally Effler, Metroparks director of philanthropy and the park district’s liaison to the Metroparks Toledo Foundation.

"Philanthropy is a deeply important part of the Metroparks history and our future, said Effler. ”People want to be a part of something big, and we want to make it easy for people to make a difference. Whether through a membership, special project or an estate gift, the Foundation will provide another way for people to support our community's world-class park system."

The Foundation is a separate 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that exists to support the mission of the park system. Formerly called Citizens For Metroparks, it began as an outgrowth of the Wildwood campaign more than 4 decades ago, and is now being relaunched with a new name. The Metroparks Membership program is also operated by the Foundation under an agreement with Metroparks Toledo. 

“Metroparks has an ambitious vision for the future – one that will lead to the development of new world-class parks, expand conservation efforts and introduce new activities to engage more people in the outdoors,” said Dave Zenk, executive director of Metroparks Toledo. “Achieving this vision will require new community partnerships and additional sources of funding. That’s why the Foundation exists.”

The foundation’s board of directors works closely with Metroparks to determine the Foundation's fundraising priorities. The first major fundraising campaign will be announced this fall.

Joe Napoli, president of the Toledo Mud Hens, Toledo Walleye and Hensville, serves as chairman the Foundation board.

“I've lived in Toledo for over 20 years now and have loved the Metroparks since day one," Napoli said. "I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where even the playgrounds are covered in concrete, hence the ‘concrete jungle.’

“My favorite pastimes are riding my bike in Farnsworth, Oak Openings and Wildwood, walking with my wife on the trails at Secor, the University/Parks Trail and Wildwood, as well as the memories of playing with my kids at the playgrounds at Side Cut and Secor, and crossing the Maumee River at low tide with family and friends.

“I will be forever thankful for these experiences and memories. The chance to be a steward of the Metroparks Foundation is a gift...I just hope I can make a difference in some small way.”

Metroparks Toledo Foundation Board

Joe Napoli, President & Secretary
President & CEO, Toledo Mud Hens Baseball Club, Toledo Walleye Hockey Club and Hensville

Richard Hylant, Vice President
President, Field Operations & Innovation, Hylant

Tom Titus, CPA, Treasurer 
Titus & Urbanski 

Carrie Alexander
Managing Director, Findley Davies

Patty Jankowski
Community Volunteer

Adele Jasion, CPA 
Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD

Don Rettig 
Director, Community Affairs and President, Owens-Corning Foundation

John Szuch
Executive Officer, Signature Bank N.A.

Additional information
Visit the Metroparks Toledo Foundation website