Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation

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Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation
Motto Share the Journey.
Formation 1997
Headquarters Winston-Salem, NC, USA
Chief Executive Officer Dr. Carolyn Ward

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina is a non-profit organization classified as a 501(c)(3) by the Internal Revenue Service. The Foundation was created in 1997 by Dr. Houck Medford, to raise private funding for the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Foundation is governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees. Each Trustee is elected by their peers and serves a three-year term. The CEO runs the day-to-day operations of the Foundation, and is a paid staff member. The current CEO is Dr. Carolyn Ward. None of the other Trustees receives any compensation.

The Foundation is not a membership organization. Its supporters are individuals, organizations, businesses and private and family foundations as well as participants in the North Carolina State Employees Campaign and the Combined Federal Campaign. A large part of the funding for the Foundation comes from the NC Blue Ridge Parkway Specialty plate.

All supporters receive the Scenic, a biannual journal describing the Foundation's activities and highlighting Blue Ridge Parkway projects. The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation also has an electronic newsletter that is free to all subscribers and is available online,


The Foundation exists to support Blue Ridge Parkway programs primarily for visitor services and education, cultural and historic preservation, planning and scientific research. The Foundation's support of Parkway programs must meet two criteria: to have a lasting value and to enhance the quality of the visitor experience.


The Foundation works with land conservation organizations including Blue Ridge Land Conservancy, Eastern National and the Conservation Trust of North Carolina to preserve the Parkway's scenic qualities.

The Foundation funds Parks As Classrooms, the National Park's education outreach in elementary schools which allows seasonal park rangers to travel to the schools in twenty-nine counties. The program teaches elementary age children about the National Parks, the Parkway's natural resources, and the importance of conservation.

The Foundation also sponsors the Kids in Parks Initiative along with, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. Working together with partners throughout the community, its mission is to increase physical activity of children and their families, to improve nutritional choices, and to get kids outdoors and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Details about the Kids in Parks program can be found online at

The Foundation also rewards visitors who have traveled all 469 miles of the Parkway, whether in one visit or many through its End-to-Ender program. Travelers can apply for their certificate at

The Blue Ridge Parkway celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2010. The Parkway is the most visited unit in the National Park System, hosting over 16 million visitors each year.


In addition to directly funding projects, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation maintains endowment funds for the benefit of Blue Ridge Parkway resources. Endowment funds exist for the preservation of Moses H. Cone Memorial Park and its carriage trails, the Museum of North Carolina Minerals which is in the Spruce Pine Mining District, as well as for the Blue Ridge Parkway's Parks As Classrooms.

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