Coming Together for the Common Good

David MarchickDonor Stories
Brick path leads into a formal garden in bloom
Formal gardens of Melrose Estate, Natchez National Historical Park - NPS Photo

Growing up, my family would load up in my mom’s station wagon and drive to Yosemite National Park from our home in Berkley. Camping there was nothing fancy, but we loved it. I’ve done some iconic hikes around the world, but Yosemite’s Half Dome will always be one of my favorites.

The parks are a crown jewel of our nation. And what I love about the National Park Foundation is how it uses private philanthropic dollars to catalyze public funding for our parks.

Reflections of the mountains onto Jenny Lake

Jenny Lake at Grand Teton National Park

NPS Photo

I’ve witnessed the impact of the Foundation’s work – and the importance of partnerships – many times. Visiting Grand Teton National Park’s Jenny Lake after private funds helped rehabilitate the trails and welcome area was eye opening. This was once one of the most worn-down places in the park, and now the visitor areas have been transformed to be both beautiful and accessible.

In addition to the exceptional nature found in parks, national parks also represent a nexus of American history – including the uglier parts of that history.

I’ve focused my philanthropy on civil rights and the treatment of African Americans for many years. And when I learned about the work beginning at Forks of the Road at Natchez National Historical Park in Mississippi, I knew I needed to get involved. Forks of the Road was once the second largest domestic human trafficking site in the Deep South. Tens of thousands of enslaved people were bought and sold at Forks of the Road, but there’s currently little to mark the site’s terrible past. The federal government, the City of Natchez, National Park Foundation and other park partners are coming together to interpret this site’s heartbreaking history.

David Marchick

David Marchick

Our country is going through a racial reckoning. More Americans are reexamining the treatment of people of color here in the U.S. The Forks of the Road project captured my attention because this story deserves to be told in an honest fashion.

I’m glad NPF could utilize my family’s contribution to leverage federal funding and get the project off the ground. When we come together to support the common good, we can ensure our country’s full history is told.

David Marchick is a former member of the National Park Foundation's National Council. David is supporting efforts underway at Natchez National Historical Park to tell a more complete American story.

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Parks tell the ever-evolving story of who we are – our heritage and our history, in its struggles and triumphs. NPF is committed to making sure all of our national parks thrive, because national parks don’t just stand for where America has been – they inspire where we go next.

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