Who We ARE

We are the FOUNDATION.
So are you.

As the primary private fund-raising partner of the Blue Ridge Parkway, expectations for our work along the Parkway are great. With such a culturally and ecologically rich landscape at stake, it's no wonder. The National Park Service relies upon our commitment to fund programs and projects that enhance the visitor experience and have lasting value, from environmental studies to historic preservation and interpretation. With shrinking Federal funding, it’s more challenging than ever for the park staff to maintain their high level of service. 

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is a nonprofit 501(3)c organization founded in 1997 through a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service to provide private financial support for the Blue Ridge Parkway. We receive no annual Federal funding, and our budget greatly depends upon people like you who cherish the grandeur and legacy of the Parkway and Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is your link to making an impact on one of the most visited units in the National Park System. Join our Community of Stewards, who are strengthening  the Blue Ridge Parkway now and for future generations.

Share the journey with us.  Since 1997, we have provided more than $7 million dollars for projects and programs that benefit the Parkway. Learn more about what we do.

Our Partners

The Blue Ridge Boxster Summit is an annual event, friends gathering to travel the Blue Ridge Mountains over 4 days in the Porsche Boxsters.  Contributions to the Foundation are made in memory of Chuck “Porsche Pete” Hammersmith.

Designated by Congress in 2003, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area serves to protect, preserve, interpret, and develop the unique natural, historical, and cultural resources of 25 Western North Carolina counties and the Qualla Boundary (Cherokee) for the benefit of present and future generations and, in so doing, to stimulate improved economic opportunity in the region. Heritage Area staff and volunteers also have a significant role in providing visitor services at the new Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center (milepost 384).

Butler & Burke provides business, nonprofit and individual professional accounting Services, and handles the audit for the Foundation each year.

Our People

Carolyn Ward

Chief Executive Officer

Carolyn Ward, Ph.D. serves as the CEO of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, the primary philanthropic partner to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Willa Coffey Mays

Chief Development Officer

Willa has an MBA/ MHA and extensive experience in non-profit management.

Jason Urroz

Director, Kids In Parks

Jason came to the Foundation in 2008 to assist in running the Kids In Parks program for which he now serves as Project Director.