The Friends of Lake Forest Parks & Recreation Foundation (the "Friends") was established to promote excellence in our parks and recreation system by helping build and improve beautiful parks, organize and host community activities and manage and execute philanthropic gifts relating to the parks and public spaces in Lake Forest. The Friends is a not for profit volunteer foundation that is not part of the city government but works closely with the Lake Forest Park and Recreation department, a city department. The city's special charter gives it ownership of all public parks and recreation facilities within the city. The Friends' independent status give it flexibility and latitude to execute its mission and the mission of its donors.


  • To facilitate the growth, development and improvement of the Lake Forest Parks and Recreation facilities and offerings to the community.


  • Provide an organization that helps to manage and execute the vision of philanthropic donors to the community.
  • To identify and promote philanthropic opportunities for community members to support via donations that are focused on parks and recreation facilities and activities. (The creation of the 10-year Strategic Master Plan for the City of Lake Forest Parks and Recreation Department is an example.)
  • To raise money via donations and community events such as the July 4th Celebration, the Tree Lighting celebration, Christmas events and the Fall festival event, among others to fund various programs for the Parks and Recreation department.
  • To support this Parks and Rec department by providing program scholarships to families with financial limitations.
  • To assist the city and donors to the city execute their philanthropic goals if needed. (The construction of the comfort station at the Deerpath golf course is a recent example.)
  • To promote the Lake Forest Parks and Recreation Department and our city's beautiful natural environment through activities that boost awareness and connect the community.

Each year, thousands of Lake Forest residents enjoy our community parks, recreation facilities, and over 500 programs and activities offered by the Recreation Department. In response to a growing desire for more beautiful parks and additional recreation programs, the charitable, non-profit Friends of Lake Forest Parks & Recreation Foundation was established in 2000 as a 501 (c) (3) organization. Support from corporate partners also plays an important role in helping the Friend's reach their goal of enhancing the lives of our Lake Forest residents.

The Friends have been an integral part of the Deerpath Golf Course Renovation Project. The City of Lake Forest began renovation of the Deerpath Golf Course in 2016 with improvements to the club house and patio, installation of a continuous paved cart path, and drainage / tree work. Through donations received from the Friends foundation in 2018, a new comfort station was built and a new golf cart fleet purchased. Next on the list is a new indoor cart barn, a golf training center, expanded short game/putting green, and driving range expansion. Both City work and privately funded work will continue in 2020.


Below are some examples of the impact the Friends have made:

  • Funneled the memorial donations received on behalf of Steven Malin, Jr. to create Malin Field
  • Built the Townline Park Pavilion
  • Purchased sailboats for our #1 rated Lake Forest Sailing Program
  • Provided a grant for Kinderhaven teacher professional development
  • Provided funding for need-based program scholarships
  • Built the Matthew Parsky Memorial Garden in (Deerpath Park)
  • Sponsored the Junior Olympic Sailing Regatta
  • Built the Kreisher Memorial Batting Cage (Deerpath Park)
  • Funneled donations for the Deerpath Golf Course Renovation Project and the North Beach Bluff Restoration Project
  • Created several Friends signature fundraising events including the Annual Fred Jackson Golf Classic, Friends Festival & Fireworks, Friends Fall Festival, and Dinner with Santa

sponsorship opportunities

  • Support from corporate partners plays a critical role in helping the Friends reach our goal of enhancing the lives of Lake Forest residents.

view the sponsorship guide


Interactive Parks Map


Board Positions
Jackie Greca - President Joe Oriti - Treasurer
Nicole Fabiano-Oertel - Vice President
Ali Becker - Secretary

Board Members
Rick Amos Steve Malin Rick Zigler
Kendall Westrich Davis Mike MacDougal
Parks & Recreation Staff:
Pat Hoch
John Oertel
Sally Swarthout
Fred Jackson P.J. O'Neil
Joe Mobile
Agatha Weisser