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 $10 million dollars for projects and programs that benefit the Parkway. Learn more about what we do.

Our Partners

The Carolina Mountain Club, now over 80 years old and the oldest Hiking and Trail Maintaining Club in Western NC fosters the enjoyment of the mountains of Western North Carolina and adjoining regions. The club maintains 400 miles of trail at the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway and have an active program to build new trails.  They work with the U.S. National Forest Service, the National Park Service and the State of North Carolina.

FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway is a non-profit, volunteer organization that is dedicated to preserving and protecting the Blue Ridge Parkway. For more than two decades, FRIENDS has been true to its mission: Preserve, Promote, and Enhance. FRIENDS volunteer programs focus on preservation, protection, and education. FRIENDS are actively involved in viewshed protection programs, volunteers in parks, and adopt-a-trail programs.

For more than 50 years the Blue Ridge Parkway Association, a group of travel businesses and chambers of commerce, has provided information about accommodations and visitor services along the entire Parkway corridor. Its annual Blue Ridge Parkway Directory, distributed free at Parkway visitor centers, contains the most extensive single listing of hotels, attractions, and other travel services in the region. 

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.