WASHINGTON – Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation, the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service (NPS), issued the following statement upon the United States Senate’s passage of the National Park Service Centennial Act:
“The National Park Foundation (NPF) applauds the United States Senate for moving to secure final passage of the National Park Service Centennial Act (H.R. 4680) by unanimous consent. We are thrilled that this important legislation has now passed both chambers of Congress with broad bipartisan support, and look forward to President Obama signing the measure into law.
NPF thanks Senate leadership for their commitment to pass this legislation. We deeply appreciate the tireless efforts of Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski, Ranking Member Maria Cantwell, and Senator Rob Portman. Their collective leadership and dedication to our national parks made enactment of this critical legislation possible.
NPF strongly supports the National Park Service Centennial Act as it is an important step in building a more holistic funding model for our national parks as they enter their second century. While federal appropriations must always be the primary source of funding for our national parks, as these incredible places belong to all Americans, this legislation enhances NPF’s ability to further leverage philanthropic support for our nation’s cherished landscapes, iconic battlefields, and significant historic and cultural sites.
NPF welcomes the legislation’s creation and seeding of a Second Century Endowment. Under NPF’s management, the Second Century Endowment will provide stable, long-term funding in accordance with the National Park Service’s mission of perpetuity, while allowing NPF to attract significantly more philanthropic support.
The legislation also establishes the National Park Centennial Challenge Fund, which will build on the Centennial Challenge program’s proven success at leveraging philanthropic support for projects and programs throughout the National Park System. In the past two years, Congress invested $25 million in this program, while NPS and partners such as NPF and local Friends Groups raised over $45 million in matching funds. With increased certainty as a result of dedicated funding, NPF and other organizations look forward to leveraging Centennial Challenge funds even further.
NPF welcomes the legislation’s authorization of $5 million in annual appropriations for our organization through Fiscal Year 2023, as well as the requirement that appropriations are used to match philanthropic support. We also support the legislation’s structural adjustments to our Board of Directors.
Each of these components represents a strong investment in the future of our national parks. Equipped with new tools provided by this important legislation, NPF looks forward to working with Congress, the incoming Administration, and our partners to preserve our country’s natural and cultural heritage for the next 100 years. As we cap off our celebration of the 2016 National Park Service Centennial and prepare to embark on the next century of service, this legislation carries forth the promise of our national parks for generations to come.”
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, a $350 million comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.