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Oct 25, 2017

Congress is not the only place national parks get their money

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You may not have known that the National Parks Service has its own fundraising arm tasked with raising private money to keep the parks open and maintained — the National Park Foundation. Will Shafroth is the CEO.

The National Parks Service has its own fundraising arm, tasked with raising private money to keep the parks open and maintained. The National Park Foundation was established by Congress in 1967 in part through the efforts of Lady Bird Johnson and Laurance Rockefeller. CEO Will Shafroth has held the job since 2015. The National Park Foundation gave $126 million to the parks last year, boosting their annual budget of about $3 billion. 

Shafroth talked with us about why private funding is so important to keeping the national parks operating, their efforts to get more young people and people of color into the parks, and how he thinks about the National Park Service’s $12 billion maintenance backlog. 

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