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 Blowing Rock Charity Horseshow Foundation donates to the Foundation for the preservation and maintenance of the riding trails in the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, which adjoins the horse show grounds. Throughout the year, thousands of visitors bring their horses to the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park to enjoy its beautiful trails, putting pressure on the aging facilities.Their donations are ensuring that these trails remain accessible to the public.

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina is a non-profit conservation organization. Their mission is to protect NC’s land and water through state-wide conservation and cooperative work with land trusts to preserve the state’s natural resources as a legacy for future generations. The Conservation Trust works directly with landowners, local land trusts, and government agencies to protect land and water resources most important to local communities throughout the state. Since 1996, one of the Trust’s most important goals is to work closely with the Parkway staff to identify and save key properties that contribute to the scenic views and natural resources of the Parkway.

M Creative is a values-driven strategic communications firm which over the years has worked with the Foundation to create communication pieces, most notably the Blue Ridge Parkway specialty license plate, the most popular North Carolina specialty plate on the road today.

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.