Who We ARE

We’re the FOUNDATION.
And so are you.

As the primary private fundraising partner of the Blue Ridge Parkway, expectations of us run higher than the treetops. The National Park Service relies upon our commitment to fund programs and projects that enhance the visitor experience and have lasting value. With shrinking Federal funding, it’s more challenging than ever for them to maintain their high level of service. 

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is a non-profit 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 Blue Ridge Mountains and the Parkway.

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is your passage to one of the most visited units in the National Park system. Join our community of stewards who want to create a solid future for the Blue Ridge Parkway and preserve it for future generations.

Share the journey with us.  Since 1997, we have provided over $6 million dollars for projects and programs that benefit the Parkway. Learn more about what we do.

Our Partners

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.

Jonathan Burton Photography is an award winning, full service photography studio, specializing in Portraits, Weddings and Fine Art scenics. Each spring, Jonathan holds Portraits on the Parkway on the grounds of the Moses H Cone Memorial park, taking portraits of children ages 5-18 and donating a portion of the proceeds to the Foundation.

Teresa Pennington is a self-taught colored pencil artist with a talent she says is God-given. Often spending as much as four months on one drawing, she meticulously renders the scenery, landmarks, flora and fauna of Western North Carolina with an emphasis on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Teresa contributes the proceeds from the sale of her Blue Ridge Parkway Overlook Series and Viaduct prints to the Foundation.

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.