Welcome to the Allegheny County Parks Foundation

girls plant trees

Allegheny County Parks Foundation Mission Statement

The Allegheny County Parks Foundation strengthens the health and vibrancy of our community by improving, conserving and restoring the nine Allegheny County parks. Working in partnership with Allegheny County, the Parks Foundation brings together ideas, leadership and resources to make the parks more sustainable and enjoyable for all.

The Allegheny County Parks Foundations raises public and private funds from foundations, corporations, state and federal grant programs and individuals to design and implement projects in our parks. We commission and conduct surveys, plans and ecological assessments of our individual parks and park system which guide the strategic development of improvements in all nine county parks. All projects are undertaken in partnership with Allegheny County, and the county matches most private and non-county public funds raised by the Parks Foundation.

Our Core Values
  1. Excellence. We promote best practices by enhancing the park experience with improvements that incorporate both high-quality design and respectful conservation of historic park assets.
  2. Sustainability. We act as stewards of nature and advance sound environmental practices and ecological awareness.
  3. Healthy Lifestyles. We help provide facilities and spaces that promote health and well-being through exercise and contact with nature.
  4. Accessibility. We are committed to strategies that enable access to parks and park facilities by all county residents and visitors.
  5. Collaboration. We build partnerships with citizens and organizations who recognize our network of parks as valued assets for a growing and vibrant community.
Impact of our work
Allegheny County Parks Foundation infographic

Thank you to the following corporations, foundations, government entities and organizations that have generously supported our work.

Alcoa Foundation

Allegheny County

Allegheny County Conservation District

Allegheny Foundation

American Eagle Outfitters Foundation


Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania

Babcock Charitable Trust

Buhl Foundation

Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania

Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation

Colcom Foundation

Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation

Eden Hall Foundation


FedEx Ground

Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds

Fox Chapel Garden Club

Friends of South Park

Garden Club of Allegheny County

Grable Foundation

Hillman Family Foundations

Jendoco Construction and Real Estate

Jewish Healthcare Foundation

Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation

La Roche College

Lennon Smith Souleret Engineering, Inc.

Mascaro Family Foundation

OTB Bikeworks Inc.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources

Pashek + MTR



Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation

PNC Charitable Trusts

PNC Foundation

Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy, Inc.

Regional Asset District

REI – Pittsburgh

Richard King Mellon Foundation

Snee-Reinhardt Charitable Foundation

The Charity Randall Foundation

The Fine Foundation

The Heinz Endowments

The Pittsburgh Foundation – Peaceable Kingdom Fund

Trout Unlimited

Victor and Anna Mae Beghini Charitable Foundation

Western PA Unit of the Herb Society of America

Contributors of $1,000 or more in a single year since 2015.
Event sponsorships are not included on this list. See events for those donors.

News you can use

In the News

  •     Dee Briggs is a Wilkinsburg-based sculptor with a national reputation. Yet she has never been commissioned to create an artwork for a lo...

  • PITTSBURGH – Allegheny County and the Allegheny County Parks Foundation celebrated the start of the next phase of the Sculpture Garden at Hartwood Acr...

  • Welcome to the Allegheny County Parks Foundation’s Trail Discovery Guide Here’s your quick, easy-to-follow snapshot of featured trails in the 9 Allegh...

Newsletters 2021

Newsletters 2020

Newsletters 2019

Newsletters 2018

Board of directors
Chester R. Babst III, Chair
Chairman, Babst Calland, Founding Shareholder and Chairman of the Firm
Christopher B. Carson, Vice Chair
President & CEO, Dentons, Cohen & Grigsby
Alan Caponi, Ex Officio
Acting Facilities Management Director
Joseph P. Milcoff, Treasurer
Vice President, Litigation and Risk, FedEx Ground Package System Inc.
Maris Bondi Dauer, Secretary
Sr. Director, Marketing Administration and Community Outreach, UPMC Health Plan
Thomas W. Armstrong
Senior Vice President, Harvest Financial Corporation
Andy Baechle, Ex Officio
Director, Allegheny County Parks
Ellen Still Brooks
Community Representative
Carol R. Brown
Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Founding President/CEO, former Allegheny County Parks Director
G. Reynolds Clark
Retired Vice Chancellor for External Relations & Chief of Staff, University of Pittsburgh
Karen Wolk Feinstein
President & CEO, Jewish Healthcare Foundation
The Honorable Rich Fitzgerald, Ex Officio
County Executive, Allegheny County
Pat Getty
Retired President, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
Caren Glotfelty, Ex Officio
Executive Director, Allegheny County Parks Foundation
Sean Gray
Principal, Sean Gray International
Duane D. Holloway
Senior VP, General Counsel, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer and Corporate Secretary, United States Steel Corporation
Laura Shapira Karet
CEO, Giant Eagle Inc.
Jonathan Kersting
Vice President of Communications and Media, Pittsburgh Technology Council
Nancy Knauss
State Master Gardener Coordinator, Penn State Extension
John Mascaro, Jr.
President & CEO, Mascaro Construction Company
Sally McCrady
Executive Vice President, Community Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility, PNC Bank
Chair and President, The PNC Foundation
William McKain, Ex Officio
Manager, Allegheny County
James Mitnick
President & CEO, Ironwood Learning
Morgan K. O’Brien
Retired President & CEO, Peoples Natural Gas
Daniel A. Onorato
Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Highmark Health
Margaret M. Petruska
Retired, Senior Program Director, The Heinz Endowments
The Honorable Anita Prizio, Ex Officio
Allegheny County Council
Stephen G. Shanley P.E., Ex Officio
Director, Allegheny County Department of Public Works
David W. Short

Retired Chairman and Co-CEO, American Funds Group


John Surma, Emeritus
Retired Chairman and CEO, United States Steel Corporation
Michael J. Tomera
Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Charles R. Toran, Jr.

President, Sci-Tek Consultants, Inc.

Caren Glotfelty of Allegheny County Parks Foundation

Caren Glotfelty


Since taking the helm of Allegheny County Parks Foundation in 2014, Caren Glotfelty has led the organization through transformative work in Allegheny County’s nine parks thanks to her background as a strong advocate for the natural environment.

Caren came to the Parks Foundation after serving as Senior Program Director of the Heinz Endowments Environment Program for 13 years, where she was responsible for managing a grant portfolio totaling $8-13 million per year, addressing issues such as community revitalization, environmental health, parks, trails and land conservation.

Prior to that, Caren was the Maurice K. Goddard Chair in Forestry & Environmental Resources Conservation at Penn State University, where her work included teaching, research, outreach and leadership on topics and issues related to state and local environmental and natural resources policy.

As Deputy Secretary for water management in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, Caren developed and managed state policy and regulatory programs related to water quality, sewage treatment, stormwater management, and stream protection.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of the Pacific, as well as a master’s degree in regional planning form the University of Pennsylvania.



Ron Schipani of Allegheny County Parks Foundation

Ronald C. Schipani, RLA

Project Director

Ron Schipani is a registered landscape architect with more than 25 years of experience in project design and management, business management, and volunteer organization.  The native Pittsburgher and Pennsylvania State University graduate has worked on park and recreation projects throughout his career including trails in North Park, South Park and Settlers Cabin Park, as well as Hampton Township Community Park, and Youghiogheny River Trail while in private practice as an owner with GWSM, inc. Landscape Architects and employed by Pennoni Associates Inc.

Ron brings vision and an appreciation for good functional design to the Parks Foundation, along with a commitment to investing in our parks “for future generations to enjoy the legacy.”



BARBARA BREWTON of Allegheny County Parks Foundation

Barbara Brewton

Institutional Giving and Project Manager

Barbara Brewton believes in the value of nature, open space and recreation and is enthused that in Allegheny County, there is a park for everyone. She has devoted her career to the non-profit sector in community development, higher education administration and most recently as environment program officer with the Heinz Awards. She earned her undergraduate degree in environmental science from the University of Virginia and holds a master’s degree in public management from Carnegie Mellon University. Barb volunteers with the community garden, is a certified Tree Tender and helped to plant more than 20 street trees in her Oakland neighborhood.



Caitlin Harpster of Allegheny County Parks Foundation

Caitlin Harpster

Development Manager of Individual Giving

Caitlin Harpster is enthusiastic about sustaining the environmental assets that are our shared green spaces and feels strongly that parks are a place to explore, to learn, to recharge and to reconnect with the world around us. Caitlin can oftentimes be found hiking, biking or camping the region’s parks and forests, or visiting a museum on rainy days. Additionally, she is an active member of Brookline Together, a registered community organization. Caitlin joined the Parks Foundation after leading the Mattress Factory’s development team.



NICOLE OELER of Allegheny County Parks Foundation

Nicole Oeler

Project Manager, RLA, LEED GA

A registered Landscape Architect in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and a LEED Green Associate, Nicole joined the Parks Foundation in 2019.  She brings more than 18 years of diverse experience in the field ranging from master planning, botanical garden design, land development, green infrastructure planning, community design, recreation design and teaching. Her love of nature, preservation of natural resources and the care and concern of the environment drive her to provide environmentally responsible design solutions. Nicole loves being a landscape architect and getting to see how the spaces she creates positively impacts the lives of others. Nicole graduated from the University of Kentucky (UK) where she rode on the UK Equestrian Team.



CAROLE SMITH of Allegheny County Parks Foundation

Carole Smith

Communications and Marketing Manager

Carole Patton Smith loves sharing the stories that unfold every day in the Allegheny County Parks and encouraging more folks to come out and enjoy them. A lifelong Pittsburgher, she worked at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for 10 years as a staff writer, where she learned to appreciate the uniqueness of our region and the people who live here. She earned a Master’s in Fine Arts in nonfiction writing and most recently worked with the Heinz Awards program as a program officer in the Arts and Humanities. She “Loves the Loop” around North Park Lake and takes frequent walks there with her Golden Retriever. He’s eager to discover the trails in the other eight County parks with her.



SUE KERNICK of Allegheny County Parks Foundation

Sue Kernick

Administrative Assistant

Sue’s cheerful voice has answered the phones at the Parks Foundation since 2014, when the organization had just two employees. Over the years, Sue’s responsibilities have grown along with the non-profit. A detail-oriented person with superpowers in organization, Sue is a valuable asset to every facet of our work. Outside of the office, Sue has a long and cherished history with choral troupes, both as a singer and as a volunteer and has traveled internationally to perform several times.




Allegheny County Parks Foundation History

In September 2007, then-County Executive Dan Onorato announced the formation of the Allegheny County Parks Foundation, the non-profit partner to Allegheny County that would improve, conserve and restore park facilities and open spaces by raising funds, designing projects and supporting educational, recreational and cultural activities in the nine parks. This action was recommended in 2002 by the County’s comprehensive master plan for the parks to address deferred park maintenance and develop new funding opportunities from corporations, foundations and individuals.

In February 2009, ACPF and Allegheny County entered into a formal agreement in which the County pledged $10 million to match private funds for capital projects raised by ACPF. To date, ACPF has raised nearly $6 million, matched by Allegheny County and other sources, for a total project investment of over $10 million in the Allegheny County parks.

The Parks Foundation continues to value its partnership with Allegheny County, now under the leadership of County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. All park improvement projects are undertaken in collaboration with County Parks staff and the County has continued its commitment for project funding matches.

2019 990 Form
2019 Form 990
2018 Form 990
2018 Form 990