In 1981, a proposed real estate development in El Dorado Park East caused a group of residents to band together to question the development and its impact on open space in the area. As the group grew, it became more formalized and took on the name "Friends of Long Beach Parks," whose purpose was to preserve open space and act as a watchdog over public parks in Long Beach.
The group officially incorporated in 1985 as "Friends of Long Beach Parks & Recreation" and, in 1986, became a non-profit benefit corporation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. As the organization continued to grow, it was decided to develop a separate identity from the City's Parks & Recreation Department, and so the name was changed to Partners of Parks in 1988.
For the next 19 years, Partners was an all-volunteer organization that worked hard to raise funds to support the parks and various recreational and cultural programs throughout the City. In late 2006, the Board of Directors went through a major restructuring and, subsequently, the new Board has re-evaluated and formalized the mission statement, hired full-time, paid staff, and embarked on an ambitious program to expand the Board and include more citizen and corporate participation.