Meet the NPF Team: Scott Eichinger
The National Park Foundation (NPF) makes a big impact in our national parks, and it is all made possible by our collaboration with the National Park Service (NPS), the park partner community, and with the generous support of donors. Scott Eichinger, NPF's Director of Donor Relations & Stewardship works hard to make sure donors understand the difference they're making in the parks through their support of NPF, driven by his passion for our work and the wonder of our parks.
What is Your Favorite National Park Memory or Experience?
I have so many incredible memories of visiting national parks. The most profound for me was the first time I visited Muir Woods National Monument. I was traveling by myself and arrived at the park first thing in the morning and only encountered about a dozen people as I walked among those giant trees. At one point on my hike, I sat down. I could hear the water babbling in the creek, birds calling from treetops, and the breeze whisper. The air was clean and cool. I felt myself relax into the environment in a way I hadn’t in a long time. I found myself contemplating the age of the trees that were surrounding me. When I wrapped up my time in the woods, I felt I was enchanted.
What Projects Do You Usually Work on at NPF?
My day-to-day responsibility at NPF is to ensure that donors are connected to and understand the impact of their philanthropy. The Donor Relations and Stewardship team and I strive to keep donors informed about how they are making a difference in protecting our national parks through meaningful and informative donor communications and inspiring engagement opportunities.
What Drives You to do This Work?
When I share the work I do with people—donors, friends, family—when I get to the part about doing this work for our national parks, almost immediately people start to share their personal stories. Sometimes I learn about their travels around this country seeing these great places and what their favorite experiences were. Sometimes I learn about their family vacations and fond memories. I do this work because people care about our national parks and want to give back to make sure other people, now and in the future, get to have experiences in parks like they did.
How Did You Get Started in This Type of Work?
My professional origin story may seem random. I have degrees in Theatre Management and Arts Management. Both provided me with the theoretical foundation that I’ve built my 20-plus-year fundraising career on. I’ve worked in performing arts, higher education, and environmental nonprofits organizations, always with a hand on donor relations. My first post-graduate school position was at a theatre company preparing acknowledgement letters for donors and answering in-bound phone calls from donors who wanted to make donations, had questions or concerns, or needed help with their theatre tickets. That position set me on the path I continue today.
What is One of Your Favorite Parts of Working for NPF?
The breadth and depth of the work that that National Park Foundation does is enormous. That is daunting and exhilarating for me. As each day goes by, I learn more and more about what NPF and NPS can accomplish with philanthropic support.
If You Could Create a Park Around a Current or Historical Figure or Moment, What Would it Be?
While I don’t think we can have a national park site at the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon, I would love to see a park dedicated to the creation of NASA, the Apollo program, moon landing, and all things space exploration.
Inspired by Scott's dedication to ensuring parks are supported for generations to come? Learn more about the many ways you can support the National Park Foundation and the work we do in parks across the country today.