Who We ARE

We’re the FOUNDATION.
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

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.

The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro is a charitable organization dedicated to strengthening the community for present and future generations. The Community Foundation promotes philanthropy, builds and maintains a permanent collection of endowment funds and serves as a trustworthy partner and leader in shaping effective responses to community issues and opportunities. They are the trustee for the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park Endowment Fund.

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.