About Us

Akron Parks Collaborative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has a mission of working to engage the community around the creation and sustainability of vibrant public spaces within the City of Akron. We foster and support neighborhood parks advocates by enabling them to meet their goals, partner with the city and instill a sense of stewardship among parks users.

Our intended impact is that every neighborhood has created a plan for its parks, developed with and for community members, with resources for implementation and maintenance.

What We Believe

Through focused relationship cultivation and management, Akron Parks Collaborative is the strategic partner for the City of Akron’s initiatives around neighborhood parks. Akron Parks Collaborative is dedicated to protecting Akron’s parks and making them relevant, enjoyable and accessible for all residents by instilling a sense of stewardship for their care and maintenance. We believe that parks are a key component of local revitalization and community investment. Our core values reflect our belief that neighborhood residents can be a powerful force for making the city’s parks stronger and accessible to all in our community.

Equity, inclusion and diversity around public spaces is the foundation of what we do.

Hubs For Communities

Our public parks are the hubs for community engagement and a thriving civic and cultural life. Our goal is to support parks stakeholders as they work to activate and maintain their parks improving accessibility, inclusion and connectivity throughout the city.

Improving Health & Wellness

As spaces for play and physical activity, our parks can help to improve health and wellness in our communities. We support more recreation and cultural programming that focus on mental and physical health, well-being and clean and safe natural environments.

Equitable & Inclusive Development

We believe in equitable economic development opportunities and are committed to inclusive community development. In our efforts to improve neighborhood parks, we strive for a workforce that employs local residents and policies that ensure the value created by our parks financially benefits the whole community.

Quality Parks

All of our neighborhoods need quality parks. Many of the parks, especially in our low income communities – parks serving primarily people of color – have been neglected and poorly maintained. We focus on these neighborhoods first to assure that all of our residents have quality spaces for health, wellness and neighborhood vibrancy and focus on the neighborhoods that need it most.

Meet the Team

  • Bridget Ambrisco - Akron Parks Collaborative

    Bridget Ambrisco

    Executive Director
    Bridget is one of APC’s co-founders. She served as the Executive Director of Friends of Metro Parks from 2011 to 2022, the Director of Volunteer Programs with the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park from 2008 to 2011 and Executive Director of Cascade Locks Park Association from 2001 to 2008. She has served on the boards of Torchbearers and Rotary Camp and on the Interpretation Subcommittee for the Ohio & Erie Canalway Association. She is the current President of the Board of Trustees for Spring Garden Waldorf School where her children attend. Bridget has a BA from John Carroll University and an MA in Environmental Studies from the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. She lives in Akron’s Wallhaven neighborhood, regularly frequenting Hardesty and Forest Lodge Parks with her husband, two children and dog, Gromit.
  • Ariana Wilin - Akron Parks Collaborative

    Ariana Wilin

    Program Manager
    Ariana joined APC in 2022, shortly after earning her MS in Social Administration from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. During her time at CWRU, she was an Organizing Fellow at the ACLU of Ohio and an Organizing & Policy Intern at Organize! Ohio. Prior to graduate school, she received her BA from the University of Akron and worked as a Behavioral Health Specialist (QMHP) at The Centers for Families and Children. Ariana is a proud Akronite and feels passionate about forging connections between community members and building power around our shared city park spaces. She loves her neighborhood in Highland Square, where she resides with her cat, Lucy.
  • Ben McMillan - Akron Parks Collaborative

    Ben McMillan

    Project Manager
    Ben is one of APC’s newest employees. He is the founder of Rubber City Reuse and served as Board Chair for Akron Cooperative Farms from 2018 to 2022. He currently volunteers in the locomotive shop for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and works on Summa Health System's DRIVE Team. Ben is active in multiple historic preservation efforts around North East Ohio. Ben has a BA from The University Of Akron and graduated from Wadsworth High. He lives in Akron’s Canal Place downtown and, regularly frequents anything CVNP related. You can find him hiking the Towpath from downtown any given day with his Beagle named Frank.
  • Zion Yi-Howard - Akron Parks Collaborative

    Zion Yi-Howard

    Project Manager
    Zion joined APC as the project manager in landscape management. Zion currently works as an Extended Care Lead Teacher at Spring Garden Waldorf School. She has worked as a medical interpreter, ESL instructor, and tutor. She was involved in mission work and travelled extensively. Zion carries three Bachelor’s degrees in Linguistics, British & American Language and Literature, and Life Science. Her passion is foodscaping with native plants and ecological gardening. She recently moved into a newly built home in the Cascade Valley neighborhood of Akron. You will find her and her dog, Journey, hard at work gardening and playing fetch in their yard or taking a stroll at BARC, Akron Dog Park.

Our Board of Trustees

The many people behind the scenes that help guide us with our mission.

Derek Stone


Terri Johnson

Vice President

Sheri Shields


Allan P. Sweet

Past President

Ross Davis El

Treasurer (At-Large)

Katie Carver Reed


Ruby J. Callen


Terri Johnson


Eric Fletcher


Shamari Fields


Kate DeAngelis


Sherri Shields


Neil Keating


Sean Blake


Derek Stone


Gary Riggs


Mary O'Connor


Jose Delgado


Shawn Bonner


Our Partners & Sponsors

Our primary partner is the City of Akron

We are also grateful to work regularly with the following organizations:
We are able to do more for Akron neighborhoods thanks to the generous support from:
2023 © Akron Parks Collaborative. All Rights Reserved.
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