Through Strong Parks, Strong Communities, the National Park Foundation (NPF), National Park Service (NPS), and Friends Alliance (the Alliance) enhance local philanthropic organizations (park partners), bringing park philanthropy to an elevated level. Approximately 450 local philanthropic organizations across the country provide critical support to national parks and programs, and NPF, NPS, and the Alliance are working together to augment the collective impact of these groups.

By building the capacity of local philanthropic organizations, offering peer-to-peer learning, and providing opportunities to take collective action, the Strong Parks, Strong Communities (SPSC) initiative increases the ability of park supporters to protect and preserve natural and cultural resources, increase access to public lands for all people, and reimagine the possibilities of interpretive and educational programming. The SPSC initiative is one aspect of NPF's overall work in Community Partnerships that supports the park partner community in a myriad of ways.

Program Highlights

A swampy lake at sunset

Strategic Growth Initiative

The Strategic Growth Initiative (SGI) built capacity for philanthropic park partners, including holistic organizational assessments and strategic planning for the organizations. Organizations receive support from a consultant on a variety of areas, including leadership and board development, strategic planning, branding, organizational culture, and fundraising. Click here to view previous SGI Cohort participants.

Female hiker in hiking clothes with back to the camera facing out onto water

Friends Leadership Institute

A year-long professional development experience for leaders of Friends Groups, the Friends Leadership Institute (FLI) offers participants the opportunity to understand and develop their leadership style, build functional skills, and receive targeted feedback from their peers and the facilitators. Click here to view previous FLI Cohort participants.

Snow dusts the red rocks and delicate arch of Arches National Park

Capacity Building Grants

Through the Strong Parks, Strong Communities initiative, NPF provides grants to park partners specific to building the capacity of their organization so in return they are able to better serve their parks, visitors, and surrounding communities. Grants vary from funding new technology, website or brand redesigns, visitor engagement projects, strategic planning, leadership professional development, and more.

A cannon against a colorful sunset

National Park Affinity Groups

In partnership with NPS and the Alliance, NPF supports the Battlefield Affinity Group, National Park Learning Alliance, and the Development Leaders' Network. Coordinators of each group consist of leaders from the park partner community and work with other partners to provide relevant resources and webinars, as well as create a space for partners to come together to share ideas and learn from each other.