National Park Service Adopts Critical Enhancements to Philanthropic Partnership Policy

By Public Lands Alliance Staff posted 12-28-2016 12:56

Pictured here: Visitors hear from NPS through the Bayview Shuttle and Trailhead program; a program led through partnership with nonprofit partners, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (GGNPC) and The Presidio Trust. Photo Credit: GGNPC.


Dan Puskar, executive director of the Public Lands Alliance, issued this statement following the update and release of National Park Service Director's Order #21: Donations and Philanthropic Partnerships:

“America’s national parks have been created and supported through philanthropy and partnerships since their inception. Today’s release of an updated Director’s Order #21: Donations and Philanthropic Partnerships will enhance that legacy by enabling the National Park Service (NPS) and its partners to actively participate in 21st century philanthropic practices. The NPS must be commended for its commitment to enriching the national park experience and further enabling private supporters to make meaningful contributions that will protect and preserve these treasured places for current and future generations.

“The Public Lands Alliance commends the new policy’s emphasis on increasing donor stewardship through collaborative planning and mutual trust between the NPS and its philanthropic partners. New opportunities to thank and recognize donors within park boundaries are tasteful and provide partners with contemporary practices used by prestigious universities and museums. Importantly, the new policy should streamline some of the bureaucratic red tape that hinders current nonprofit park partners and encourage longer lasting, mutually beneficial and effective partnerships.

“We strongly support the continued prohibition on NPS employees soliciting donors. The Alliance looks forward to working with the NPS on the forthcoming reference manual to avoid the appearance of such actions.

“The Public Lands Alliance thanks the NPS for the transparent, public process it employed to develop a new Director’s Order #21, the first substantive revision in more than a decade. Beginning with the creation of a Partnerships and Philanthropic Stewardship Committee of the National Park System Advisory Board in 2014, the NPS has engaged current philanthropic partners, major universities, foundation executives and corporate leaders to discover the best practices in contemporary philanthropy and then apply them appropriately to the unique character of the national park system. Through the public comment period this spring that ensured all interested voices would be heard, this process should serve as a model to land management agencies developing policy and guidance with their partners and stakeholders.”

For more information, see the National Park Service press release on the policy update.