National Park Friends Alliance


The Friends Alliance is an informal union of philanthropic park partners and park officials that meet twice a year to share best practices and advance park partnerships. The Alliance convened its first meeting in 1994 by a small group of philanthropic park partner (or “Friends Group”) executives to share stories and learn from one another. Since its inception, the Alliance has grown exponentially and evolved into a peer-learning, collaborative network for park partners.

How We Help

The Friends Alliance is currently led by a steering committee elected by the network and convenings are held bi-annually. Over 200+ participants attend these meetings, which provide opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, National Park Service leadership updates, and strategic discussions between philanthropic partners, park officials, and other park allies.

As part of the National Park Foundation’s efforts to elevate park partners and increase philanthropic capacity, the Foundation facilitates biannual meetings by providing technical, financial, and administrative support to the Friends Alliance. Learn how the Foundation supports national park partnerships by visiting the Community Partnerships Resource Center.

Steering Committee Members

  • David MacDonald, Friends of Acadia – Steering Committee, President
  • Frank Dean, Yosemite Conservancy – Steering Committee, co-Vice President
  • Katie Nyberg, Mississippi Park Connection – Steering Committee, co-Vice President
  • Bess Mitchell Averett, Friends of Vickburg National Military Park and Campaign
  • Elizabeth Fien, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
  • Courtney Lyons-Garcia, Big Bend Conservancy
  • Doug Mitchell, Glacier National Park Conservancy
  • Susan Sherman, Shenandoah National Park Trust
  • Deb Yandala, Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  • Reggie Chapple, National Park Service Liaison
  • Will Shafroth, National Park Foundation Liaison
  • Chrystal Morris Murphy, National Park Foundation Liaison

Upcoming Meetings

Fall 2019

The Fall 2019 Friends Alliance Meeting will be hosted in Jackson Hole Wyoming, in conjunction with the Grand Teton National Park Foundation from September 23-27, 2019. More details about the meeting are available here

Spring 2020

The Spring 2020 Friends Alliance Meeting will be held in Washington, DC. More details will be available closer to the meeting date.

Learn More

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