Local Park Support

Since the National Park Service’s inception in 1916, local park partners have played an important role in the parks community by supporting the success of a specific national park(s) with time, expertise, and privately-raised funds. Today, approximately 250 local philanthropic organizations across the country provide critical support to national parks and programs.

The National Park Foundation’s community partnerships team serves as a catalyst, resource, and national voice for philanthropic park partners, also known as “Friends Groups”. The Foundation provides strategic support and a plethora of resources to bolster the parks community, ranging from peer-to-peer learning and capacity building opportunities to mini-grants and technical assistance. The Foundation also serves as convener of the national parks community through the facilitation of biannual meetings for the National Park Friends Alliance.

The National Park Foundation believes that a continuum of philanthropic funding – from local to national – enhances the ability of park supporters to protect national parks and connect all people to these treasured places. This support also raises awareness about the depth and breadth of the National Park system and how the National Park Service enriches diverse communities from coast to coast and inspires the next generation of park champions.


What is a National Park Philanthropic Partner?

Philanthropic partner organizations to the National Park Service are individual nonprofit organizations that support the success of a specific national park(s) with time, expertise, and privately-raised funds. As champions of parks, philanthropic partners frequently engage the surrounding area or gateway communities to garner financial, volunteer or programmatic support. Find a link to a park’s local philanthropic partner (or “Friends Group”) in the Visiting The Park section of an NPF national park page.

How Does The National Park Foundation Work With Philanthropic Partners?

The National Park Foundation works to help grow and support the continued success of philanthropic park partners by offering a range of technical assistance options and helpful online tools. For guidance on national park partnerships, please visit the Community Partnerships Resource Center to find a collection of materials, webinar recordings, and additional information.

The National Park Foundation also supports the National Park Friends Alliance, an informal union of philanthropic park partners and park officials that meet bi-annually to discuss relevant issues and share best practices in park partnerships. The Foundation provides technical, financial, and administrative support for these convenings.


Learn More

For more information about local park support or to sign up for the monthly Park Partners newsletter, please email [email protected].