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

Washington State Fair cancelled

COVID-19 outbreak claims another event

Decorated statue at Marina Park in support of Black Lives Matter efforts. Reader submitted photo.
Ribbons for Black Lives Matter

The display at Marina Park coincides with statewide efforts of the local King County Black Lives Matter chapter.

Kirkland Wednesday Farmers Market will run every Wednesday from June 5 through September 25.
Kirkland farmers markets are ready for shoppers

Both Kirkland Wednesday Market and Juanita Friday Market are practicing social distancing during their reopenings.

TLG Motion Pictures CEO Erik Bernard and TLG founder Courtney LeMarco on a set. Photo courtesy TLG Motion Pictures.
Local production company seeking film, TV pitches from young minority creatives

The Big Pitch competition, put on by TLG Motion Pictures (“Hoarders”), started about six months ago.

Local musicians hold virtual benefit concert for mental health

The stream-a-thon supports NAMI Eastside and nonprofit Hold Your Crown

Hannah Scholes. COURTESY PHOTO
Waste reduction from home

A monthly column from Waste Management.

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

UW students create Spira app to gather COVID-19 data

The app was created to screen for respiratory diseases but the teen creators shifted their focus once the COVID-19 outbreak began.

Showing their appreciation for EvergreenHealth workers

First responders from Kirkland, Bothell and Woodinville stopped by the Kirkland medical center to show their support for their colleagues.

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

From left, Evan Shouse, Lauren Shouse and Ellienn Tatar stand outside their Kirkland residence. Courtesy photo
Making ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic

LWTech Foundation COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund lends a helping hand.

Savannah Lynn and Will Chadek in the Second Story Repertory of Redmond’s production of “The Fantasticks.” “The Fantasticks” had been performed three times by the organization until coronavirus concerns resulted in the cancellation of the remaining dates. Photo by Michael Brunk
How is the coronavirus affecting the arts?

Representatives from Eastside arts institutions discuss their experiences.