Kirkland parks department expands its reach with scholarship program

The decision to expand the program was made in an effort to provide more opportunities for residents.

The Kirkland Parks and Community Services Department has expanded its recreation scholarship program to provide more opportunities for Kirkland residents of lesser means to participate in recreational programs.

“There’s a strong demand for all our programs,” Kirkland Deputy Director John Lloyd said. “We wanted to ensure all members of the community were able to access our programs regardless of their income.”

The amount covered by the recreation scholarship program has drastically increased. Whereas in previous years it funded between 25 and 50 percent of a program’s overall cost, it now funds 50 percent, 75 percent or 95 percent of any recreation program backed by the parks department.

“Income shouldn’t be a barrier to people being active,” Kirkland City Council member Toby Nixon said in a press release. “We hope that these scholarships will help ensure that every Kirkland resident has the opportunity to access programs where they can be active and social in a positive environment.”

In the past, the majority of the scholarship program was funded by corporate employee-giving services, which would donate small amounts that were accrued over time. The new scholarship program now enables any Kirkland resident to contribute to the fund.

Lloyd said that there is no encouraged donation number or limit to the amount that can be offered.

“It can be zero, it could be a dollar, it could $100 or more,” Lloyd said, adding that if community members were to propose expanding the program even further that the department is “always able and willing to have those conversations.”

A setback in the previous incarnation of the scholarship program, according to Lloyd, was how few people knew about it. To combat this issue for the new version, the city recently put in a half-page ad in an informational brochure that discussed the new limitations of the program as well as how people can donate.

Lloyd said that the department has also made adjustments to its website, with one new feature being the addition of a donation button on the registration page.

“We don’t expect everyone to do it, but we wanted to give people the chance to give,” he said.

Lloyd wants the program to continue expanding in the long-term. He sees it allowing a wider audience to participate in the department’s programs, with the goal remaining to keep opportunities affordable and easily accessible.

“We know there are folks who aren’t participating in our programs and we want people to be able to do that,” he said.

He also hopes that the scholarship can widen its reach. At the moment, one scholarship per person per family is the restriction, but he said that can change depending on availability. Who can contribute to the fund might broaden, too, though at the moment the department is still refining its budget.

For now, Lloyd is looking forward to seeing the tangible ways the revamped scholarship program will have an effect on the community.

“We’re really excited to see how the program gets going this fall,” he said. “We look forward to serving a broader population.”

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Life

Lake Washington Institute of Technology. File photo
LWTech students place fourth in national Codebreaker Challenge

CSNT program recently placed fourth at the NSA Codebreaker Challenge online competition.

Eastside Community Musical debuts ‘Mamma Mia!’

Studio East and KPC are presenting “Mamma Mia” Feb. 7-8 and 14-16.

Photo courtesy Studio East
                                Shot from a 2012 performance of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
Studio East, StoryBook theater announce winter shows

Programming includes “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” “The Tempest” and “Little Red.”

Centro Cultural Mexicano exhibit opens doors to discussions on immigration, border issues

“Border Doors” features art by students who have visited the United States-Mexico border.

Photo courtesy of Kirkland Downtown Association
                                From the February 2017 Kirkland wine walk, which had a similar “I Heart Kirkland” theme.
First wine walk of the year set for Feb. 7

The theme is “All You Need is Love.”

Father and son Chad and Will MacDonald dig up invasive roots with members of Cub Scout Pack 550 on Jan. 20 at Edith Moulton Park in Kirkland as volunteers for the day of service observance in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Green Kirkland Partnership program coordinator Jeremy Jones said more than 100 people had registered to help with four service events at parks throughout Kirkland. Corey Morris/staff photo
Diggin’ service day in Kirkland

Father and son Chad and Will MacDonald dig up invasive roots with… Continue reading

Kirkland Performance Center set to rock with audiences at annual benefit concert

KPC’s Long Live Rock will play rock encores at “We Will Rock You” benefit concert on Jan. 25.

Award-winning play ‘The Good Adoptee’ coming to Mercer Island

The autobiographical drama was penned by acclaimed playwright Suzanne Bachner.

Kirkland resident now holds the stake president position. Photo courtesy the Church of Latter-day Saints
Kirkland LDS church congregations get new leader

Jacob Sowby was sustained in November.

Animal Control officer Jennifer Matison with some community pets at a recent event. Photo courtesy city of Kirkland
New Kirkland class teaches how to prepare for an emergency with pets

On Jan. 29, Kirkland Emergency Management is offering Emergency Preparedness for Pets.