These charms hanging from the blue bridge in Riverfront Park fund improvements. Here’s how to “be part of it”.
Small silver charms hang from the fence of the Blue Bridge at Riverfront Park as part of a fundraiser for building projects and programs in the park.
The nonprofit fundraiser for the Spokane Parks Foundation has been successful since its launch a year ago, said the foundation’s executive director, Terri Fortner. “I love the charm program,” she said. “It’s a really nice way for people to donate to the park.”
Not everyone can afford to make large donations, Fortner said, but the $125 charms are a more affordable way for the community to show support. “It’s an opportunity for the whole community to contribute,” she said.
The Parks Foundation raises funds for projects in all local parks, and each year a grants committee reviews applications before distributing between $30,000 and $75,000. Charm fundraising, however, is specific to Riverfront Park.
When improvements to Riverfront Park were announced, the foundation stepped up efforts to add amenities the city could not afford, Fortner said, such as the 1974 Butterflies, a basketball court near from Ice Age Park and a dog park.
The foundation was able to find sponsors for the two biggest projects, the playground and the basketball court.
MultiCare sponsored the large basketball court.
Providence Healthcare sponsored the accessible playground on Havermale Island. “It’s 100% accessible,” Fortner said. “It’s for all ages and abilities.”
Fortner said she’s thrilled the playground is inclusive and everyone can play. “It has to be one of the most beautiful projects I’ve ever worked on,” she said.
Charms can be purchased in the shape of a dog bone, a butterfly or a circle. The funds collected thanks to the dog bone charms are used to create a dog park. The Spokane Humane Society announced earlier this year that it would contribute $250,000 to the park, estimated to be one-third of the cost. The Parks Foundation collects the rest of the money.
These dog bone charms will hang on the dog playpen, once it is designed and completed.
The only hiccup with the charm program has been vandalism caused by people trying to remove charms from the bridge.
“Some people are super creative with what they say about their charm, and I think that speaks to people,” Fortner said.
Missing or damaged charms are replaced, but Fortner said that wasn’t a big deal.
“The power of good seems to be in full force,” she said. “People love it.”
Money raised beyond the amount needed will be used to pay for future upgrades and programs, which could range from a teen adventure camp to story time at the Looff Carousel.
At the start of the fundraiser, the charms were $100 each. Now, however, the cost has risen to $125. “The cost of materials and production has gone up,” Fortner said. “Inflation affects everyone, including small nonprofits.”
Charms can be ordered at givebutter.com/charms.
People can put three lines of text on the back, with between 12 and 14 characters and/or spaces per line, depending on the charm selected.
Fortner said charms can be great gifts for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and birthdays. “It’s a great way to honor important people,” she said.
The charms also serve as a lasting reminder of those who have contributed to Riverfront Park’s amenities, she said.
“Put your name on it,” she said. “Build it. Be part of it.”