WASHINGTON – The National Park Foundation (NPF) announced more than $1.7 million in new funding to support 41 park partner organizations across the country. The grants will enable partner organizations to invest in strategic planning, community engagement, improving visitor experience in parks, increasing organizational relevancy and resiliency, and launching new fundraising campaigns.
The funding initiative is part of the National Park Foundation’s Strong Parks, Strong Communities program to cultivate and expand national park philanthropy working in partnership with the National Park Service, and Friends Alliance.
“Philanthropy and partnership are essential to the success of America’s national parks,” said Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “New funding will help park partners across the country to build capacity, improve strategic planning and fundraising initiatives, and to more deeply engage the communities and national parks they serve. Ultimately, investing in the growing community of park partners is a commitment to expanding and transforming the role philanthropy plays to ensure national parks reach their full potential.”
“These strategic investments in local groups elevate the creative opportunities, organizational efficacy, and bandwidth of the professional network that Friends Alliance serves,” said Vickie Mates, Executive Director of the National Park Friends Alliance. “We look forward to our continued collaboration and celebrating the outcomes created by these incredible grantee projects.”
The new grants will go directly to National Park Service nonprofit partners across the country, enabling organizations to invest in tailored solutions to increase the impact they can deliver in national parks they support.
“We are developing a long-term strategy for reimagining Floyd Bennett Field, an underused NPS site in South Brooklyn that once served as New York’s first municipal airport,” said Scott Middleton, Partnership Planner with Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy. “With the support of NPF, and in cooperation with our many projects partners, we are planning for a more resilient, equitable, and accessible park that will accommodate the education, recreation, and workforce development needs of New Yorkers for decades to come.”
“The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway has over a million visitors a year, but with the lack of official gates and entrances, compounded by declining visitor center attendance, the challenge of creating meaningful visitor experiences grows,” said Deb Ryun, Executive Director of the Wild Rivers Conservancy. “This grant supports the visioning needed to create a mobile visitor center in the park to engage visitors from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds.”
The Strong Parks, Strong Communities program also helps connect park partners with similar needs, building a network to share lessons learned, support one another, and problem solve together.
“The Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is honored to participate in the National Park Foundation’s Strong Parks, Strong Communities program. Under our Wing is a project that will enable us to support Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park,” said Elizabeth Fien, president & CEO of The Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. “This park has significant historical importance to indigenous people of Hawai‘i. We are creating a new friends group with a focus on preserving the culture, sharing it with residents and visitors alike, and protecting the natural resources.”
“This grant will help the Blue Ridge Music Center increase visitors, income, and tourism spending in a rural, economically distressed region,” said Carolyn Ward, CEO of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. “We believe this work will create a valuable model for expanding visitor experiences and revenue in other rural communities throughout the national park system.”
Approximately 450 local and regional park partner organizations across the country provide critical support to national parks and programs.
View the full list of 2022 Strong Parks, Strong Communities Capacity Building grantees here.
About the National Park Foundation
The National Park Foundation works to protect wildlife and park lands, preserve history and culture, educate, and engage youth, and connect people everywhere to the wonder of parks. We do it in collaboration with the National Park Service, the park partner community, and with the generous support of donors, without whom our work would not be possible. Learn more at nationalparks.org.