Mission Statement

The mission of the Rio Salado Foundation is to preserve the history and natural beauty of Papago Park and the Rio Salado and to ensure the area’s success as a major cultural and recreational, urban destination through the creation of public-private partnerships.

Vision of Rio Salado Foundation

The Board of Directors of the Rio Salado Foundation is comprised of dedicated community and business leaders whose primary focus is to create a fabric of economic and cultural growth in and around Tempe Town Lake and Papago Park.

Our role is as entrepreneurial advocates for capital projects that support our mission. We are project initiators and partners with public and private entities in the community — not only Tempe but also surrounding cities that have an interest in our mission and focus.

From the unique beauty of its red rock buttes to the refreshing waters of the urban lake, the Rio Salado and Papago Park region boasts a rich array of cultural, historic, natural and recreational resources. With parks and museums, educational activities for children, and venues for performing arts and sporting events, the region is one of the most popular draws in the Valley of the Sun.

The cities surrounding the Papago Park area – Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe have a sweeping vision to transform the region into a major destination that rivals the likes of Balboa Park in San Diego and Central Park in New York. The most visible investment toward this vision was the creation of Town Lake. The numerous benefits of bringing water back to the Rio Salado include: the restoration of natural habitats, new residential and economic development opportunities, and a wealth of recreational and cultural amenities for all valley residents and visitors alike.

To ensure the success of the region, the Rio Salado Foundation was formed in 2001 and since has contributed more than $18 million to projects around the Lake and Papago Park. The Foundation raises funds through public-private partnerships to support the construction of projects. Our projects include Veterans Memorial at Beach Park, the Eisendrath Center for Water Conservation, restoration of grounds at historic Hayden Flour Mill, the relocation and restoration of O’Connor House, support for the opening of Tempe Center for the Arts, Children’s Splash Playground at Tempe Beach Park, and the SRP Marina.

Once completed, the city of Tempe will manage the maintenance and operations of the boathouse facility. Bordering the cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale and set adjacent to Tempe’s Mill Avenue District and Arizona State University, the Rio Salado Project (Tempe Town Lake) embodies a unique vision for the future of this Valley. The Urban Master Plan includes educational and recreational programs, with a first-class boathouse and marina, natural habitat preserves, walking and bike paths, picnic areas, aquatic activities, numerous restaurants, retail shops, office space, and a variety of residential living spaces.

Through the Rio Salado Foundation, community-minded corporations and individuals have numerous opportunities to participate in the area’s enhancement, ensuring educational, recreational and cultural programs thrive to support our Valley’s youth, families and many visitors. The Foundation maintains a board of directors made up of corporate leaders and community volunteers from across the Valley.