National Park Foundation

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National Park Foundation
Nat park foundat logo.png
FoundedDecember 18, 1967
FounderLady Bird Johnson and Laurance Rockefeller
  • Washington, D.C.
Area served
U.S. national parks

The National Park Foundation (NPF) is the official charity of the United States' National Park Service and its 417 national park sites.[1] The NPF was chartered by Congress in 1967 to "further the conservation of natural, scenic, historic, scientific, educational, inspirational, or recreational resources for future generations of Americans."[2] The NPF raises private funds for the benefit of, or in connection with, the activities and services of the National Park Service.[3]

Grants and programs[edit]

Working on its own and with partners, the National Park Foundation funds grants and programs that demonstrate need across the National Park System in the areas of youth, community outreach, conservation and professional engagement. The Foundation is active in supporting the National Park Service in its goal to prepare National Parks for another century of conservation, preservation, and enjoyment by its 100th anniversary in 2016.[4]

Outreach programs[edit]

The National Park Foundation has outreach programs focused on attracting youth and minority groups to visiting national parks. The America's Best Idea program connects under-engaged populations with national parks, and has awarded 2,000,000 dollars engaging 250,000 people and 51,000 youth.[citation needed] The African American Experience Fund operates in 25 parks with the goal of preserving African American history in national parks.[5] The American Latino Heritage Fund aims to utilize a 2.5 million dollar grant to celebrate the contributions of Latino Americans and recognize their culture. The Ticket Ride program aims to fund trips and provide transportation for 100,000 students annually to travel to national parks. The Park Steward Program is sponsored by the University of Phoenix and aims to empower high school students through service learning activities [6]

Related legislation[edit]

On February 13, 2013, Rep. Erik Paulsen introduced into the United States House of Representatives the National Park Service 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 627; 113th Congress), a bill that would direct the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue gold, silver, and half-dollar clad coins in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service (NPS).[7][8] The coins would all have a surcharge attached, the money from which would be given to the National Park Foundation.[8] Paulsen argued that "even during tough economic times, it's important to find new, cost-effective ways to preserve these treasures for future generations to learn from and enjoy."[9] President and CEO of the National Park Foundation Neil Mulholland said that "the commemorative coins would be a special ways for individuals to mark this significant milestone while simultaneously providing incredible support to these cherished places."[9] The bill passed in the House in April 2014 and was referred to the United States Senate.[10] Similar legislation (S. 1158) was also introduced into the United States Senate.[8]

Government shutdown damage recovery funding[edit]

With the lack of ranger presence during the partial government shutdown that started in late December 2018, some national parks suffered considerable damage from various rogue activities. For example, at Joshua Tree National Park, vandals cut down trees for illegal off-roading.[11][12] In mid-January 2019, National Park Foundation president Will Shafroth announced fundraising for a new Parks Restoration Fund to help pay for damage clean-up and recovery.[13][14]


  1. ^ "How Many National Parks are There?" National Park Foundation. October 17, 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2017. "The National Park System encompasses 417 national parks in the United States.... Within the system, there are 59 sites that include 'National Park' as part of their proper name".
  2. ^ "81 STAT. 656 - AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION". U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  3. ^ "81 STAT. 656 - An Act to Establish the National Park Foundation". U.S. Government Printing Office. December 18, 1967. Retrieved 24 February 2017. Sec. 3: "The Foundation is authorized to accept, receive, solicit, hold, administer, and use any gifts, devises, or bequests ... for the benefit of or in connection with, the National Park Service, its activities, or its services".
  4. ^ "National Park Foundation Grants and Programs". National Park Service. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  5. ^ "About the AAEF Program". National Park Foundation. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  6. ^ "National Park Foundation Grants and Programs". National Park Service. Archived from the original on 20 August 2002. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  7. ^ "H.R. 627 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  8. ^ a b c Pekow, Charles (30 April 2014). "House approves commemorative coins for National Park Service centennial". The Examiner.
  9. ^ a b "Paulsen Introduces Legislation to Celebrate 100th Anniversary of National Park Service". House Office of Erik Paulsen. 13 February 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  10. ^ "H.R. 627 - All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  11. ^ Martichoux, Alix; SFGATE (2019-01-10). "Joshua trees cut down, desert vandalized at Joshua Tree National Park during government shutdown". SFGate. Retrieved 2019-01-13.
  12. ^ McGough, Annelise (2019-01-11). "Off-roading, chopped Joshua trees, overflowing toilets: Our national parks during a shutdown". Grist. Retrieved 2019-01-13.
  13. ^ Heiesel, Phil. "Foundation raising funds to repair national parks once shutdown ends". NBC News. Retrieved 2019-01-13.
  14. ^ "National Park Foundation's Parks Restoration Fund Will Provide Support to National Parks Community When Rangers Return to Work". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2019-01-13.

External links[edit]