In her role as vice president, community partnerships Sarah Unz guides strategies around NPFs work in building strategic partnerships and strengthening the partnership community. Working in lock step with the National Park Service and the National Park Friends Alliance, the community partnerships team strives to catalyze and strategize with a national perspective a network of effective partners in support of national parks.
Sarah brings over 15 years of experience in conservation and parks. She believes in the power of partnership and the power of parks to connect people to each other and to themselves. Before joining the National Park Foundation, Sarah worked at the Chicago Park District, a gold medal winning park and recreation agency. She led the outdoor and environmental education department, serving all 77 of Chicago’s neighborhoods through programs and events designed to increase access, relevancy, inclusiveness, and engagement with nature. This includes advancing a nature play space initiative, through the creation of a community grant program and strategic model for how nature play may be implemented across large urban parks. Sarah facilitated and managed numerous partnerships across Chicago from local park advisory councils, community nonprofits, cultural institutions, and other government agencies.
Sarah holds a Master of Science degree and a Master of Education degree from the University of Pennsylvania at Slippery Rock and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin. She has been a certified Park and Recreation Professional since 2013. Additionally, Sarah calls both Chicago and the the Northwoods of Wisconsin home. While in Wisconsin, she volunteers with LoonWatch, a citizen science program designed to monitor the loon population in the Midwest.