Monday, August 31, 2009

National Park Foundation Announces Half A Million Dollars in Grants to Connect Underserved Audiences to National Parks

/PRNewswire/ -- Inspired by the forthcoming Ken Burns documentary The National Parks: America's Best Idea, the National Park Foundation (NPF) has established a new grant program to connect underserved audiences, primarily people of color, to the national parks. NPF, in partnership with the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, has awarded "America's Best Idea Grants" totaling $500,000, to 35 national parks across the country to develop outreach strategies and engagement programs for people who are traditionally underrepresented in their local national parks.

"The point of America's Best Idea - both the documentary and the grants program - is that the country is strengthened by the deep and lasting bond between people and their parks," said Neil Mulholland, president of the National Park Foundation. "Ken Burns has captured the amazing personal stories of men and women from all walks of life who helped form the parks because of their love for the natural and historical treasures they hold. We want to be sure to continue capturing those stories and building that legacy among audiences as diverse as the parks themselves."

"Universal access to the parks and engagement of diverse and underserved populations are important goals in the evolution of our national parks," said Ira Hirschfield, President of the Haas, Jr. Fund. "It is our great hope that America's Best Idea will provide people in cities and towns across the country the chance to find meaning and inspiration in the story of the parks, and a chance to make these cherished places their own."

The parks receiving grants range in location and size from Salem Maritime National Historic Park in Massachusetts, to Denali National Park in Alaska, to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, and beyond.

Several of the programs, like the one in Bandelier National Monument, include targeted outreach to indigenous people - bringing native people back into the parks they inhabited initially. The projects are wide-ranging in scope and appeal, including sailing camps, wildlife education, contests and hikes with park historians. For information about the initial projects funded through this program, visit

Additional funding for the program was provided by the National Park Foundation and Popplestone Foundation.

The National Park Foundation is proud to be a core partner and funder of the new Ken Burns documentary series, The National Parks: America's Best Idea. The film chronicles a century of giving that created national parks from southern Florida to the frozen tundra of Alaska, from the rocky coast of Maine to the volcanic Hawaiian islands.

Premiering September 27th on PBS, the 12-hour, six-part documentary series traces the birth of the national park idea in the mid-1800s and follows its evolution for nearly 150 years. Told through the stories of the people who helped create them and save them from destruction, it is both a biography of compelling characters and of the American landscape.

About the National Park Foundation The National Park Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization chartered by Congress in 1967 to continue a century-long tradition of private philanthropy ensuring funding to preserve and enhance the legacy of our National Parks. As the official non-profit partner of America's National Parks, the National Park Foundation does not receive federal appropriations for their support. The National Park Foundation serves to strengthen the connection between the American people and their national parks by raising private funds, making strategic grants, creating innovative partnerships and increasing public awareness. Support of the National Park Foundation ensures that the evolving history and rich heritage of our Nation remains vital and relevant. Learn more at NPF's website,

Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front Page

No comments: