WASHINGTON, DC — Will Shafroth announced he will transition from his role as President and CEO of the National Park Foundation in January 2025. At that time, he will begin to lead a National Park Foundation initiative to help the National Park Service address future challenges to the parks including those related to climate change, housing, technology, and transportation.
Shafroth has led the Foundation for nearly a decade and guided the organization through a period of exponential growth in national park philanthropy. Under his leadership, the Foundation has raised more than $1.1 billion, increasing the scale and impact of private philanthropy across the National Park System, with total revenue reaching a record $184 million in 2023. Shafroth has also emphasized the growth and effectiveness of the community of more than 400 national park partners which now contribute more than $400 million annually to the national parks.
Over the next year, Shafroth will lay the groundwork for a smooth transition to new leadership of the organization that has become a fundraising force for national parks.
“I am deeply grateful to the Board, staff, partners, donors and the dedicated team at the National Park Service for their partnership and the opportunity to accomplish so much for these incredible places,” said Shafroth. "This new role will allow me to focus on helping the park service to better prepare for the future of our national parks. In the meantime, the Board has challenged me over the next year to accomplish some ambitious goals, and I fully intend to leave the Foundation in great shape for my successor."
“Will has led the transformation of the National Park Foundation into an incredibly effective organization that is making meaningful improvements to our national parks and the visitor experience,” said Rhoda Altom, National Park Foundation Board Chair. “We are grateful to Will for all that he has done to build the foundation into what it is today and for all he will do in his new role.”
During Shafroth’s tenure, the National Park Foundation helped to establish new parks, including Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, Pullman National Historical Park, and the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument; protected land and critical wildlife habitat in Grand Teton, Yosemite, and Rocky Mountain National Parks; restored the iconic Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials; and helped build and restore more than 3,000 miles of national park trails. The Foundation’s support has also connected more than two million school children to the awe and wonder of national parks and greatly expanded youth conservation corps, including supporting the establishment of the Indian Youth Service Corps.
“The National Park Service deeply appreciates Will’s transformational leadership of the National Park Foundation. This tremendous partnership has helped realize countless National Park Service priorities,” National Park Service Director Chuck Sams said. “The Foundation's investment of hundreds of millions of dollars under Will’s tenure will leave a visible and lasting legacy, benefitting America’s national parks and all who visit them.”
“Will has been a genuine and committed partner to me and the Biden-Harris administration in our work to tell a more complete story of our nation and to build a strong foundation for the second century of our national parks,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “When Will says it, he means it. I am grateful for his tireless efforts to support the public servants at the National Park Service and to help welcome people of all ages and walks of life to enjoy our natural and cultural resources.”
Shafroth's vision to strengthen and expand the park partner community has helped to build an effective movement for national parks. NPF’s support has helped these groups raise more money and deliver greater impact to parks across the country.
As the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, the Foundation has also worked closely with every administration and a broad diversity of members of Congress to support national parks and strengthen the role of public-private partnerships. Since 2016, NPF helped to lead bipartisan coalitions in support of the National Park Service Centennial Act, the Great American Outdoors Act, and the National Park Foundation Reauthorization Act.
“During Will’s tenure, the National Park Foundation has become a trusted partner on Capitol Hill," said former Ohio Senator Rob Portman. “Under his leadership, NPF has been able to work across the political spectrum to bring people together on behalf of our national parks. Will has positioned the National Park Foundation as a respected voice in the halls of Congress and an effective steward of our national treasures.”
The National Park Foundation Board of Directors has engaged executive search firm Russell Reynolds to guide the process of hiring the next President and CEO of National Park Foundation.
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 www.nationalparks.org.