“I just need a mom who has kids who can tell us about what we need on a playground.” was the call my wife, Kim, received in early 2017 from Wesley Barnett asking her to serve on an Advisory Committee for what he called Lakeland’s Central Park. The timing could not have been better. Kim just completed seven months of chemotherapy, and it had been almost a year since her stage 3 colon cancer diagnosis. She needed her new “thing.”
Fast forward to the present; she is healthy, and Bonnet Springs Park (Central Florida’s Central Park) has been open for more than a year and has welcomed more than 1.5 million guests. Our family continues our commitment through our ongoing financial gift to the BSP Carol Jenkins Barnett Endowment and through Kim’s service on the Bonnet Springs Park Executive Committee. Allen & Company displayed our commitment with our lead gift of 1 million dollars to establish the Allen & Company Family Lawn.
Our communities’ support is still needed as we work diligently to fund the CJB Endowment to ensure that BSP will be a lasting legacy for our children, grandchildren, and beyond.
The possibilities for financial support range from becoming a Friends of BSP to larger legacy gifts and ANYTHING in between. Bonnet Springs Park volunteers are also vital to the park’s day-to-day operations, and there are many opportunities for all ages, interests, and abilities. American author Elizabeth Andrew once said, “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” I have seen members of our community live this out time and time again.
The vision of the Barnett, Bunch, and Tinsely families’ has come alive in so many ways.
The park teems with visitors of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and physical abilities, coming from near and far to visit.
Bonnet Springs Park is the gold standard in Philanthropy. It is an example of the entire community coming together using both their treasures and talents to give Central Florida and beyond a gift that will keep on giving. With us all coming together, I know future generations will continue to be able to “escape, engage, and explore” Bonnet Springs Park.