NEW + NOW > Get to Know | Village Voices > January 9, 2023

Get to Know…Ann Whitley Wood with Friends of the Katy Trail



Please explain Friends of the Katy Trail’s mission and how you got involved.

Our mission is to maintain, enhance, and advocate for the Katy Trail. I joined the Trail in 2020, first as a consultant to lead the public phase and finish of the Complete the Trail capital campaign and then became the organization’s first staff director of major gifts.


Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I grew up in Dallas, practiced law and later ran my own business once I had children. Over those years, I enjoyed volunteer fundraising. As the empty nest approached, I moved into nonprofit development work, first with Klyde Warren Park and now with the Katy Trail.


What makes Friends of the Katy Trail so special and impactful to the Dallas community?

Friends of the Katy Trail has operated the Trail for the benefit of Dallas for over 25 years. Our productive public-private partnership with the City of Dallas, which owns the land, and individual and corporate donors, has resulted in a continuously enhanced Katy Trail that is now a must-see part of Dallas.


What do you enjoy the most about being a part of Friends of the Katy Trail?

I love raising money for the Katy Trail because it is a treasured asset of our city that so many use and love. We are in a golden age of Dallas parks, with a broad understanding that we should nourish our current parks and trails and add more greenspaces. I also love working with our small crackerjack staff, which gets so much done for the Trail, and our dynamic donors and board members.


How does support from community partners help Friends of the Katy Trail have a greater impact?

Katy Trail Community Partnerships provide annual support that helps to keep the Trail clean, safe, and beautiful. The Trail needs to raise over $1 million in operations funds each year, and our corporate partners are a key piece of this equation. The KT Community Partner Program has grown from 5 to 17 partners in the last two years, and we look forward to working with other companies.


How can people in North Texas get involved with Friends of the Katy Trail?

The simplest way to support the Trail is with an annual membership donation. Memberships start at just $75 for an individual or $125 for two. There are many other ways to help, including joining us for the Katy 5K as a participant or volunteer, naming a Trail feature, or becoming a corporate partner.


Lastly, where would we most likely find you in Highland Park Village?

It’s a four-way tie—enjoying lunch at Café Pacific or Bistro 31, checking out new arrivals at Lela Rose, or having a drink in the bar at Fachini. I’m crazy about all those places!


Highland Park Village is proud to spotlight our very own dynamic personalities and community partners in the Village Voices series. Get to know our past features.