Skip to Content
Two people walk up stone steps towards a natural stone arch

Bringing together the Park Partner community

National Park Friends Alliance

Arches National Park
NPS Photo / Chris Wonderly

The Friends Alliance is an informal union of philanthropic park partners and park officials that meet several times a year to share best practices and advance park partnerships. The Alliance convened its first meeting in 1994 with 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-to-peer learning, collaborative network for park partners.

How We Help

The Friends Alliance is currently led by a contracted executive director who reports to 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 provides technical, financial, and administrative resources to support the strategic growth of the Friends Alliance.

Upcoming Meetings

Fall 2023

Join the National Park Friends Alliance, National Park Foundation, and the National Park Service, for the Fall 2023 Friends Alliance Meeting on October 23 – 26, 2023, hosted by the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, in Downtown Cleveland, OH. It will take place at:

Windows on the River
2000 Sycamore Street
Cleveland, OH 44113

General Registration has been extended to midnight ET on October 5, 2023, at a cost of $275 per participant. Late registration, after October 5, is $300 per participant. The base registration fee includes welcome reception; plenary, breakout, & small group sessions; and lunch and snacks on Tuesday and Wednesday. Field trips and the Tuesday evening dinner event are optional and carry an additional cost of $50/event.

You can find the final agenda, travel and lodging, and any updates on the Registration page. Please note that the hotel room blocks are filling fast and will close once they are full. Make your lodging reservations as soon as possible.

For questions or comments, please contact [email protected].

NPF Travel Grants

The National Park Foundation will provide travel assistance for philanthropic park partner organizations to attend the Fall 2023 Friends Alliance Meeting. The deadline to submit an application has now passed.

Steering Committee Members

  • Frank Dean, Yosemite Conservancy (Co-Chair)
  • Deb Yandala, Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Co-Chair)
  • Vickie Mates, Team Mates Ventures, LLC (Contracted Executive Director)
  • Bess Mitchell Averett, Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign
  • Elizabeth Fien, Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
  • Ryan McClure, Gateway Arch Park Foundation
  • Doug Mitchell, Glacier National Park Conservancy
  • Estee Rivera Murdock, Rocky Mountain Conservancy
  • Reggie Chapple, National Park Service Liaison
  • Will Shafroth, National Park Foundation Liaison