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NPF Invests in Park Partner Organizations to Further Capacity-Building Goals

45 Grants Bolster Partner Organizations to Increase Impact in Parks
By Rebecca Watson

Continuing its investment in the park partner community, the National Park Foundation (NPF) has announced its next cohort of capacity-building grantees. NPF will be funding 45 projects across the country, with a commitment of over $2.5 million to grow the capacity of nonprofit park partner organizations and further our collective impact in parks. In total, NPF has contributed over $4.5 million towards these types of grants over the past 3 years.

Capacity-building grants from NPF have helped over 100 philanthropic partner organizations grow their ability to have impact in our parks. These capacity-building grants enable the organizations to develop and strengthen different aspects of their operations, ultimately supporting their ability to raise and deploy funds to parks.

The project's impact will extend to our valuable partnerships, further solidifying their foundation. As operational efficiency improves, our collaborations will thrive through enhanced communication, joint initiatives, and shared success. In summary, this project will position DYNW to leverage an enriched blend of new and existing resources, driving forward our commitment to excellence and innovation in supporting National Park Service units and enriching visitor experiences.
Martin Stamat, Executive Director, Discover Your Northwest

In 2021, park partner organizations collectively contributed more than $400 million to the National Park Service, providing basic operational support to parks and serving as partners in park-based educational programs. This level of support is 60% higher today than it was a decade ago and undoubtedly critical for the sustainability of our national parks. Together with NPF, these partner organizations have the power to increase our collective impact in parks.

2024 Capacity-Building Grantees

Organizational Growth

A yellow and pink meadow leading to green mountains in the distance
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (NPS Photo)
A plain of sparsely dotted joshua trees. In the distance, sunlit mountains
Joshua Tree National Park (NPS Photo / Brad Sutton)

From strategic planning and expert technical support to additional resourcing and conducting internal assessments, capacity-building grants can help park partner organizations strategically grow in ways that support their unique needs and visions.

Cabrillo National Monument Foundation will build off recent momentum to implement a robust outreach campaign, including a website overhaul, aimed at extending the organization’s connection with its diverse surrounding communities.

Chaco Culture Conservancy will focus on catalyzing organizational growth by hiring the organization’s first Executive Director.

Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy will implement the next phase of their strategic plan to identify and acquire more support from larger donors and foundation partners.

Interior of Tallahatchie County Courthouse at Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument
Interior of Tallahatchie County Courthouse at Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument (NPF Photo)

Emmett Till Interpretive Center will hire a consultant to develop a tactical plan and facilitate cross-partner knowledge sharing.

Friends of Arches & Canyonlands Parks will expand their membership programming and marketing support to create and expand a member and donor base.

Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will sustain an Institute Director role to help increase the organization’s earned revenue model.

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, Inc. will further the all-volunteer-led organization’s transition into a more robust professional Friends Group by hiring their first Executive Director and developing an internal assessment to prepare a foundation of growth.

Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will develop innovative strategies to help retain current donors, encourage sustained giving, and facilitate the cultivation of major gifts.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (iStock / Tashka)
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (iStock / Tashka)

Glen Canyon Conservancy will fund a new position in their organization to allow the organization to help build revenue to supplement retail sales.

Great Basin Heritage Area Partnership will hire a communications consultant to help raise public awareness of the organization and its work with residents, tribes, community organizations, government officials, visitors, and potential donors.

Haleakalā Conservancy will invest in community outreach, staff capacity, website updates, and staff and board training.

Ice Age Trail Alliance will engage a consultant to help outline a 3-year strategic plan to achieve their vision and sustain their recent exponential growth.

Joshua Tree National Park Association will strengthen its philanthropy team with the hire of a marketing coordinator.

NatureBridge will enhance the organization’s donor database to streamline and modernize its donor, participant, partner, and stakeholder audience data.

North Country Trail Association will develop a new strategic plan, undertake a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion process assessment, sustain their staff capacity, and build towards a capital campaign.

Voyageurs Conservancy will leverage this funding alongside state, federal, and private dollars to develop infrastructure for meaningful engagement of new and more diverse audiences.

Fundraising Growth

High overhead shot of paddlers in a canal on a sunny summer day
Paddlers along the Erie Canal (NPS Photo / Stefanie Obkirchner)
At sunset: a two-story red brick building with a dome atop sits within a brick square
Independence Hall at Independence National Historical Park (NPS Photo)

Thanks to past NPF capacity-building grants, several partner organizations saw record-breaking growth. With new resources, updated branding, and expert strategic support, these projects will help partner organizations meet and surpass their philanthropic goals.

Blue Ridge National Heritage Partnership will establish a sustainable fundraising strategy with the goal of raising $200,000 per year by 2028.

Discover Your Northwest will implement a new customer relationship management platform and cloud-based point of sale system in 10 NPS units to level-up visitor engagement and sustainable revenue opportunities.

Erie Canalway Heritage Fund will hire a new development manager as part of a development strategy to focus on grants, campaigns, and major donor initiatives.

Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture will develop a comprehensive fundraising strategy to leverage their new lease agreement with NPS.

Friends of Charleston National Parks will develop and implement a fundraising plan to grow a more diverse and engaged membership community.

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (Shutterstock / Zack Frank)

Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters will focus on the next chapter of their growth by engaging a consultant to develop a strategic plan as they emerge from a capital campaign.

Friends of Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park will engage a capital campaign professional to help develop the organization’s $500,000 campaign to reopen the LBJ Ranch.

Friends of Mammoth Cave will lead an organizational strategic assessment and build plan for a sustainable long-term philanthropic vision.

Friends of Minidoka Inc. will expand on recent successes with corporate partnerships and legacy giving by hiring a part-time program manager to support their continued growth.

Friends of Minute Man National Park will create a sponsorship program and marketing materials in advance of the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Park visitors along the Carver trail at George Washington Carver National Monument
Park visitors along the Carver trail at George Washington Carver National Monument (NPS Photo / Mark Neuenschwander)

George Washington Carver Birthplace District Association will implement a marketing plan to leverage federal funding and corporate partnerships to increase capital in support of an ongoing capital campaign.

Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy will hire an external fundraising consultant to enhance the organization’s capacity for long-term philanthropic support and financial stability.

Independence Historical Trust will leverage the findings of a completed revenue plan to broaden their marketing reach for four high-profile capital project events.

Rock Creek Conservancy will hire a development consultant to lay the foundation for a necessary fundraising campaign to support the organization’s forest resilience plan.

USS Constitution Museum, Inc. will develop compelling outreach materials to grow their donor base and help garner support for their ongoing capital campaign and the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Programmatic Growth

Art installation and teepees at Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone Revealed: All Nations Teepee Village by Mountain Time Arts (NPS / Ashton Hooker)
Close up image of three hands holding wana (sea urchin) and a wooden bowl filled with water and wana
Visitors hold freshly caught wana (sea urchin) in their hands at an annual Cultural Festival at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Park (NPS Photo)

Often active partners in in-park educational and community engagement efforts, it’s essential that park partner organizations continue to grow and adapt to the changing needs of parks, visitors, and the communities surrounding national park sites. These capacity-building grants will enable partner organizations to help people foster deeper connections both in and outside their parks.

Friends of Peirce Mill will support miller training and mill operations during the 2024 milling season at this historic landmark within Rock Creek Park and create a development plan to fund a full-time miler position.

Friends of Pu‘uhona o Hōnaunau National Historical Park will expand their existing cultural programs led by Indigenous partners.

Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont will expand its cutting edge “Regenerative Community Network,” which builds community designed economies that fight rising inequality and social and economic instability while also addressing climate change and biodiversity loss.

Exhibits inside the visitor center at Pullman National Monument
Exhibits inside the visitor center at Pullman National Monument (NPF Photo / Dimitre Photography)

Historic Pullman Foundation will implement a comprehensive community outreach and communications strategy to raise awareness among Chicago residents and the larger Midwest region, including a new website, new tours, and a targeted marketing campaign.

Lincoln Presidential Foundation will finalize a 3-year interpretive plan for activities around the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

National Parks of Lake Superior will continue to build on their ongoing work, made possible by previous NPF capacity- building grants, to help increase the climate resilience of five parks.

National Park Partners will increase advocacy efforts, create public awareness and engagement initiatives, and develop a land preservation program.

Pacific Historic Parks will conduct needs assessments with a cross-section of communities in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands to determine areas of concern or challenges surrounding the teaching, interpretation, research, and preservation of historical and cultural sites and heritage.

Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation will expand on previous work, made possible by an NPF capacity-building grant, in managing a multi-city creative leadership program.

Volunteers at Indiana Dunes National Park
Volunteers at Indiana Dunes National Park (NPS Photo)

Save the Dunes Conservation Fund will build out an innovative volunteer program with conservation partners in the Midwest region and the development of informational materials.

Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park will expand an innovative dashboard and citizen science reporting tool to help make these data sets more accessible to park managers, outside scientists, educators, and communities.

Shenandoah National Park Trust will create a GIS map for park-adjacent lands, a regional land conservation working group, and a communication subgroup for local stakeholders.

Yellowstone Forever will build a long-term and multifaceted strategic plan to enhance Yellowstone National Park’s welcome, representation, and highlighting of Indigenous peoples.

Zion National Park Forever Project will fund a year-long internship that will focus on deepening the ongoing relationship development between the organization, NPS, and local tribal partners.

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