DIG is a not-for-profit, charitable organization dedicated to promoting community through the care and enhancement of Penn Valley Off-Leash Dog Park in Kansas City, Missouri.
We accomplish this primarily by:
Raising funds and volunteering time to develop the physical structure and overall conditions of the park.
Advocating with appropriate governmental officials and other organizations to promote the park’s needs and its patrons’ concerns.
Promoting responsible dog ownership and social engagement through educational, dog-friendly events and volunteer opportunities.
Supporting other charitable pet organizations when appropriate. DIG seeks to help everyone find a welcoming place at the dog park - be they human or canine. DIG strives to continually celebrate the diverse community and promote the inclusion of all its members.
History & Landmark Achievements
The Dogpark Improvement Group (DIG) is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization created in 2007. DIG’s founders saw great, untapped potential in the Penn Valley Off-Leash Dog Park and came together to create an organization dedicated to its improvement.
Since its inception, DIG has made a number of accomplishments over the years:
- Raised funds to put in parking lot and expand off-leash area
- Privately funded construction of the small dog area
- Hosted several park clean-up days
- Planted trees
- Helped support several dog welfare and dog park organizations
- Hosted dog-friendly community events
DIG was on hiatus from 2011 to 2019. In May of 2020, Jesi Dang partnered with Jon Lowe, a founding DIG board member, and applied for reinstatement to continue the good work of its founders. Together as president and vice president, Jesi and Jon put together a new board of directors to lead the organization.
In its reincarnation, the board of directors has been working tirelessly to revamp the organization and connect with local government agencies, parks committees, and the community to ensure its effectiveness in representing the Penn Valley Off-Leash Dog Park and its patrons, human and canine alike.
Board of Directors
The new board is composed of Penn Valley Dog Park patrons who have a variety of valuable skills and backgrounds.
Jesi has a B.S. in Organic Chemistry and a background in people management and large-scale marketing. She has cultivated a social media presence that is valued highly for promotion of the organization. Jesi is chairperson of the Executive Committee and the Marketing & Public Relations Committee. She and her dogs, Charlotte and Kingsley, have been patrons of PV Dog Park since 2017.
Jon works as an attorney at his own law office and is a founding member of DIG. He drafted the organization’s formation documents and has served on the Board of Directors since DIG’s inception in 2007. Jon has held the office of Vice-President for DIG since 2011. He has been taking his dogs Noodles and Chelsea to PV Dog Park since it opened its gates in January of 2004.
Abby has a masters degree in Art therapy and Counseling. When she's not with her dogs, Ember and Oscar, she's busy working as a therapist in several locations around Kansas City, MO. Abby has experience serving as treasurer for the Kansas Art Therapy Association. In her role as the treasurer of DIG, she serves as chairperson of the Finance & Operations Committee.
Rhiannon has a B.S. in biology-education and works as a high school science teacher. Her background in design has been invaluable in the development of marketing materials for DIG. She serves as chairperson on the Marketing & Public Relations Committee and the Fundraising Committee. Through her volunteer work as a dog foster, Rhiannon also has connections with Kansas City Pet Project. She has been a regular at PVDP since she adopted her dog Ollie three years ago.
Joanna holds degrees in human biology and mathematics and minored in business. She works as a freelance medical interpreter and helps run her company with her brother buying, renting and managing commercial buildings. Joanna joined DIG to help improve a park that her dog Frye loves so much. She wanted to be in the group that changes others' opinions about the park. When she first adopted her dog Frye she was hesitant to go to PV Dog Park, but she learned quickly that it’s a place that welcomes all dogs and people.
After finishing college with a degree in history, Ken pursued a career in carpentry and the building trades. Most recently he was a residential remodeling contractor from which he retired in 2019. He has been a regular visitor, on an almost daily basis, to the Penn Valley Dog Park since it opened in 2004; and has seen and participated in its growth and many changes.
Bill has a B.A. in biology and has been in the concrete and aggregates industry for over 20 years. His knowledge of geology and construction brings a unique perspective to the group. He is also chairperson of the Advisory Committee and a voting member of the Penn Valley Park Conservancy (PVPC).
Chad is an attorney at Edelman & Thompson focusing on personal injury claims. He spent 10 years as an assistant city attorney for Kansas City and has a solid understanding of the city’s policies and procedures. Chad was secretary of the Union Hill Neighborhood Association for 11 years and is currently a board member of the Union Cemetery Historical Society. His dogs Balto, Sophie and Rocky love PVDP.
Darla has been a gifted teacher for Kansas City Public Schools since 2012, teaching Elementary Education. She is originally from Arkansas where she taught gifted students in High school, Jr. High, and Elementary. Darla enjoys gardening and genealogy. She has truly enjoyed Kansas City and her pups Mazie and Max love the dog park and try to go every day.
Tara Karaim has a BFA in Art History from the University of Kansas and an MA in Art History from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She currently works at a nonprofit called ArtsKC as the program manager of grants. Tara joined DIG because of her two dogs Hudson and Humphrey, who love Penn Valley so much.
Kayla holds a degree in marketing with a sales certificate from Kansas State University. She works in sales as an account manager. Kayla and her dog Paccino have been patrons at PVDP since 2021 when they moved to KCMO. She joined DIG to help with social media. Facebook - DIG Penn Valley Off-Leash Dog Park Instagram - digpennvalley