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 450 local philanthropic organizations across the country provide critical support to national parks and programs. The National Park Foundation works to help grow and support the continued success of these park partners.
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?
Philanthropic partners are a big reason why many national parks are vibrant places to learn, work and play. The National Park Foundation follows Title VII of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998 that declares specific obligations of the National Park Foundation to the field of park philanthropy. For more information on National Park Service Partnerships, visit their Partnerships site.
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 to technical assistance, webinars, a monthly newsletter, and a Park Partner Resource Portal. The Foundation also serves as convener of the national parks community through the facilitation of biannual meetings for the National Park Friends Alliance.
What Impact Does the Park Partner Community Have on National Parks?
In 2016, the National Park Foundation commissioned, with the guidance of park partner and NPS leaders, a Status and Trends Report to survey the park partner community. During this time, there was an estimated 214 partners that work directly with NPS across the country. These partners generated yearly revenue of more than $349 million, up from $253 million when surveyed in 2013.
In 2020, the park partner community has grown to over 450 partners and over $600 million in yearly revenue to the national parks. The 2020 Park Partner Report provides an in-depth look at these 450+ partners and helps us to understand their areas of focus, support they provide, and what their needs are. The Park Partner Report Infographic gives a glance into this breakdown of partners as well.
For more information about local park support or to sign up for the monthly Park Partners Newsletter and updates, or the Park Partner Resource Portal, please email [email protected].