National Recreation Foundation

National Recreation Foundation

The National Recreation Foundation (NRF) began as the War Camp Community Services (WCCS), Inc., which was formed during World War I to provide recreation and services on the “homefront.” After the war ended, the NRF was organized in 1919 with the remaining $1.5 million from the WCCS funds.

As a nonprofit foundation, the National Recreation Foundation is dedicated to enhancing mental, physical, social, and spiritual health.1 A deliberately diverse citizens' Board of Trustees was formed with a common love of and respect for recreation as well as the belief that high-quality recreation fosters social stability in communities.

In 1995, the National Recreation Foundation's mission was further refined to focus on “at-risk youth” and “healthy lifestyles.” They now give priority to “programs that encourage the development of citizenship and social skills, stem anti-social behavior, and emphasize proactive community lifestyles and values.”2

They are also concerned with increasing the fitness of all Americans, especially through preventative programs that coordinate efforts between recreation and park organizations and local, state, and national agencies.  

Every year the National Recreation Foundation awards grants to innovative and creative projects in line with their mission. These grants to nonprofit organizations or government agencies are intended as “seed” money to initiate programs. They have two kinds of grants: Trustee grants of $30,000 or less and Featured Grants to pre-selected organizations with no such monetary limit.

Another primary goal of the National Recreation Foundation is to communicate the success stories of their grants and thus further promote the new ventures. This Annual Review provides a summary of each project and contact information to facilitate networking that could lead to any possible future support for the organizations.3

Since 2002, the National Recreation Foundation has awarded the Robert W. Crawford Achievement Prize to a professional or volunteer “who has made an extraordinary contribution in advancing recreation programs for at-risk youth.”4 Robert Crawford was an Executive Director of the NRF who exemplified the leadership, commitment, and innovation the NRF seeks to foster in the field of recreational services.

  • 1. “Our History.” National Recreation Foundation. < > 13 April 2011.
  • 2. “Welcome to the National Recreation Foundation.” National Recreation Foundation. < > 28 Feb. 2011.
  • 3. “Introduction.” National Recreation Foundation. < > 13 April 2011.
  • 4. “Robert W. Crawford Achievement Prize.” National Recreation Foundation – Enriching Lives. < > 29 May 2011.