The Fairfax County Park Foundation, in collaboration with the Park Authority, uses the program as another creative way to raise private funds that supplement tax dollars and user fees in order to meet the community’s needs for park land, facilities and services. Monies the Park Authority receives from the county’s general funds, through facility and event or program fees, cover about 60 percent of its operating expenses. The park foundation provides support where expenses cannot be supported by other dollars.
The bench program allows donors to choose a new bench where a park manager has identified a need, or select a park with an existing bench suitable for adoption. Sponsorship levels include $3,500 and up for a new bench, and $1,500 and up for adopted benches. Funds remaining after plaque design, bench and plaque purchase, delivery, and installation go to help county parks. The program has become so popular that several parks and areas have been removed from consideration so as not to over saturate the natural spaces. Last fiscal year (FY-22), the county received 31 bench donations, and 17 so far this fiscal year (FY023).
Plaques with wording, subject to Park Authority approval, provide a glimpse into the memories of the donors. Most occupy a scenic spot; many contain praise, and often they lament a passing. Most are lovingly tended or strewn with flowers when marking a special date. The words may recall a literal passage or song or contain foreign phrases. Regardless of content, they draw the observer into appreciation of the commemoration.
More information about the tax deductible bench donation program, and other ways to donate to the park system, can be found at