Meet our wonderful foundation board and learn all about what makes the Illinois Park & Recreation Foundation tick!
Our Mission: Be a sustainable philanthropic organization benefitting members of the Illinois Park & Recreation Association (IPRA).
Our Vision: Invest in developing park and recreation professionals to achieve their full potential.
Our Values: Advancement of Illinois parks, recreation, special recreation, and conservation professionals. Committed to supporting students in the parks, recreation, therapeutic recreation, and conservation fields. Dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
IPRF Board of Trustees
Tracey Crawford was appointed as the Executive Director of Northwest Special Recreation Association (NWSRA) and the President of the Special Leisure Services Foundation (SLSF) in late 2011. NWSRA was formed in 1973 to provide a full spectrum of recreation services to individuals with disabilities. NWSRA is a partnership of 17 park districts in the northwest suburbs of Chicago committed to supporting community access to recreation for people with disabilities. SLSF is a 501© (3) non-profit foundation and is the fundraising arm of NWSRA.
Crawford’s 33 years of professional experience in parks and recreation includes 9 years as the Inclusion Coordinator/Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and Assistant Director at Fox Valley Special Recreation Association (FVSRA) in Aurora, IL; two and a half years as the Manager of Inclusion Services, nine years as the Superintendent of Recreation, one and a half years as the Superintendent of Development and Interim Director at Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA) and currently the Executive Director of Northwest Special Recreation Association.
Crawford earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Iowa. A Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP). She is actively involved in professional organizations, having served in leadership roles with the Illinois Therapeutic Recreation Section (ITRS) of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA), and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). She is the Past Chairman of the IPRA Board of Directors and is also a Past President of the branch of NRPA that was dedicated to therapeutic recreation. She currently serves on the IPR Foundation (IPRF) Board and the IPRA Diversity Leadership Task Force and the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) as Past President and on the Illinois Recreation Therapeutic Association (ILRTA) Board as the ITRS Liaison. Tracey was a member of the Rolling Meadows Rotary Club and was awarded the Paul Harris Fellow Award for her support of the Rotary Foundation a humanitarian effort. Currently, Tracey serves on the Rolling Meadows Chamber of Commerce Board. In 2023, Crawford was awarded the Robert Artz Lifetime Achievement Award at the IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference.
She received the Meritorious Service Award from NTRS for her work in the field of Therapeutic Recreation, particularly in inclusion. She is also the recipient of the National Institute on Recreation Inclusion (NIRI) Excellence in Inclusion Award. Crawford was also awarded the IPRA Chairman’s Award three times for her outstanding efforts to make the Ethnic Minority Society a full-fledged section of IPRA and her dedication to the field through her continuous involvement on boards, committees, and task forces, which has raised the visibility of diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in the state professional association. Crawford was awarded the Daily Herald Business Ledger’s Influential Woman in Business Award and was inducted into the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), served as the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee Co-Chair, and currently serves as the President-Elect of the Academy Board of Directors. Tracey was honored as the Community Leader of the Year by the Rolling Meadows, Illinois Chamber of Commerce, and the Professional of the Year for ILRTA. Tracey was asked to serve on the IPRA Diversity Leadership Task Force where she co-created the Safe Zone Conversation Model, which has been used in over 100 park and recreation agencies in Illinois and nationally. In collaboration with NRPA, the Safe Zone Conversation Facilitation Model was introduced nationally to five states.
Crawford is dedicated to promoting recreation for everyone and frequently speaks at state and national conferences about the inclusion of individuals with disabilities into park and recreation programs. She has authored or co-authored inclusion articles published in the Illinois Park and Recreation magazine as well as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion articles in NRPA Magazine and Illinois Park and Recreation Magazine, the Recreation Access publication, and the first chapter for inclusion through Human Kinetics which was published in 2011 and has completed an administrative chapter for inclusion in 2022 through Human Kinetics as well. Tracey is also a Subject Matter Expert on DEI for Berry Dunn, an accounting and managing consulting firm, BCG Learning Solutions, and Co-Owner of Black Girl Moments, LLC.
Tracey believes growth comes to those who seek it and through her career, she has done just that. She is committed to mentoring and coaching the next generation of professionals to lead our profession into the future.