Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification

FRIENDS OF GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK INC

  • Kodak, TN
  • www.friendsofthesmokies.org

Mission Statement

While the National Park Service is charged with taking care of the core needs of the park's natural, cultural, and visitor resources, Friends of the Smokies helps the park do even more, catalyzing efforts to study, protect, and restore our natural heritage; expanding programs that benefit schoolchildren in surrounding communities; restoring and sharing the park's rich cultural history; improving opportunities for safe recreation in the backcountry; and acting on other timely opportunities to preserve and protect the Great Smoky Mountains. Working together, we make the Smokies even greater.

Main Programs

  1. 2014 Parks As Classrooms Support
  2. 2014 Suppress Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Infestation
  3. 2014 Black Bear Conservation Programs
  4. 2014 Support Appalachian Trail Ridgerunner Program
  5. 2014 Trails Forever Rehabilitation of Chimney Tops Trail (Phases 2 & 3)

service areas

National

Self-reported by organization

ruling year

1996

chief executive

Mr. James Hart

Self-reported by organization

Keywords

friends, smokies, smoky, park, conservation, education, recreation, historic preservation, wildlife, environment, trails, outdoors

Self-reported by organization

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EIN

62-1564782

Physical Address

3099 Winfield Dunn Pky Ste 2

Kodak, TN 37764

Also Known As

Friends of the Smokies

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (C12)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C. (C99)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Impact statement

Each year, Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides more than $1 million to support education, historic preservation, trail maintenance, and wildlife, natural and cultural resource protection, and volunteerism in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

In addition to meeting annual Park needs to assist in protecting visitors, black bears and fragile ecosystems, safeguarding historic sites, helping teachers, and giving thousands of young people from all over the world the oppotunity to experience all of the wonders of the Smokies through unforgettable educational experiences, this year we are celebrating our 20th anniversary and watching the continued success of the $4 million Trails Forever endowment as Phase II work progresses on the Chimney Tops Trail.

Interest from the Trails Forever endowment is funding a third, permanent trail maintenance work crew in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Already through the work of the Trails Forever crew and volunteers, the high elevation Forney Ridge Trail to Andrews Bald has been completely transformed. Work is currently underway on a major trail transformation at Chimney Tops, one of the most popular visitor destinations in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Self-reported by organization

Program 1

2014 Parks As Classrooms Support

Approximately 18,000 students every year in Tennessee and North Carolina receive curriculum-based environmental education opportunities through the Parks as Classrooms program.  These hands-on, ranger-led lessons utilizing Great Smoky Mountains National Park as an enormous outdoor classroom help foster a love for nature and inform the next generation of park supporters.

Category

Educational Delivery

Budget

$114,900.00

Population Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Adults

Program 2

2014 Suppress Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Infestation

Since 2003, Friends of the Smokies has taken a leadership role in supporting the most ambitious program in the Southeast aimed at protecting hemlocks from the invasive and deadly hemlock woolly adelgid.  The eastern hemlock is the only shade-tolerant conifer in the Smokies, and it helps to regulate forest and stream temperatures to support the habitat of a myriad of other spoecies including brook trout and migratory birds.  Protection includes a combination of soap spraying in the front country, systemic pesticides in more remote areas, and biological control using predator beetles raised in the Lindsay Young Beneficial Insect Lab at UT.

Category

Natural Resources Conservation & Protection

Budget

$20,000.00

Population Served

General Public/Unspecified

None

None

Program 3

2014 Black Bear Conservation Programs

$86,324 for seasonal staff to manage wildlife and safety issues, especially working traffic jams that result from bear sightings along park roadways for the protection of both black bears and park visitors; $9,000 to support the Appalachian Bear Rescue center in Townsend, TN which rehabilitates orphaned and injured black bears for reintroduction into their native habitat; $4,000 to maintain black bear-resistant food storage hoisting systems at all backcountry campsites & shelters for the safety of hikers and bears

Category

Wild Animals Preservation & Protection

Budget

$99,324.00

Population Served

General Public/Unspecified

None

None

Program 4

2014 Support Appalachian Trail Ridgerunner Program

Each year the park recruits a series of individuals who provide a presence on the Appalchian Trail from March through October.  They provide visitor information, natural resource protection, perform trail maintenance, pack out litter, keep up composting privies, report on trail and backcountry shelter conditions, report emergencies, advise hkers on food storage and other regulations, and relay real-time information regarding possible problem bears.  The presence on the A.T. for over 15 years has made a huge difference in the park's ability to manage the A.T. in the Smokies.

Category

Environment, General/Other

Budget

$37,600.00

Population Served

General Public/Unspecified

None

None

Program 5

2014 Trails Forever Rehabilitation of Chimney Tops Trail (Phases 2 & 3)

These funds will support the continuation of trail rehabilitation along one of the most heavily-traveled trails in the Smokies. This project will resolve safety issues and make the trail more enjoyable to hike.

Category

Natural Resources Conservation & Protection

Budget

$200,000.00

Population Served

General Public/Unspecified

None

None

Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

Self-reported by organization

1. Total disbursements to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
n/a
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
The annual Park Support List, in addition to special and urgent requests from the Park gives the total disbursement. Discrepancies between requests and disbursements are generally unfinished projects.

2. Total Park support requested from Friends of the Smokies

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
n/a
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
Each year, Great Smoky Mountains National Park submits a "Park Support List" to Friends of the Smokies. This is a request to fund critical projects and programs in the park.

3. Total number of grants awarded

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
n/a
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
Grants play an important role in fulfilling the annual Park Support List.

4. Total dollar amount of grants awarded

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
n/a
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
Grants play an important role in fulfilling the annual Park Support List.

5. Number of volunteers

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
n/a
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
Volunteers assist with special events including the Evergreen Ball, Greenbrier Barn Party, Friends Across the Mountains Telethon and Gran Fondo Asheville, in addition to in-office admin support.

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Self-reported by organization

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Each year (as in each of the last 21 years) the management team at Great Smoky Mountains National Park complies a list of identified program priorities which is then submitted to our Board of Directors for approval. These projects are in accordance with Friends' mission to preserve and protect Great Smoky Mountains Natioanl Park by raising funds and providing volunteers for needed projects.

    On an annual basis the Park's list contains approximately $1 million of projects for which funding is requested, and Friends of the Smokies' official members, event patrons, corporate sponsors, foundation grantors, and specialty license plate owners (in Tennessee and North Carolina) make it possible to fulfill the Park's request.

    Each year, these projects and programs fall into several broad categories- Resource Management, Resource Education, Facilities Management, Resource & Visitor Protection, and Parkwide Volunteer-in-Park Program.

    Meeting the Park's needs consistently and reliably every year ensure that one of America's greatest natural treasures is preserved unimpaired for future generations.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    The funds that we provide to Great Smoky Mountains National Park each year come from a variety of sources, including the following:

    - Annual memberships;
    - Special events such as January's Evergreen Ball, the summertime Picnic in Pittman for the Park, and the August Friends Across the Mountains Telethon;
    - Corporate sponsorships and gifts, including major donations for programs like Trails Forever, Parks as Classrooms, and more;
    - Foundation grants for specific projects on the annual Park Needs List;
    - Donations collected from our in-park donation boxes in places like Cades Cove and Cataloochee;
    - Residents purchase our state-issued specialty license plates for their vehicles in Tennessee and North Carolina.

    To raise awareness of the need for support for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where there is no entrance fee charged to park visitors, we communicate with our members via a print newsletter as well as email communications. We issue press releases, host special events, and are active on social media.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    We have a small staff of seven people who work together to raise the funds necessary to fulfill our annual commitment to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as well as a board of directors comprised of fifteen community leaders from Tennessee and North Carolina. Additionally, we benefit from the gifts of time from an active volunteer corps who assist us with daily office administrative tasks and help our special events run smoothly.

    Our more than 4500 members, our 30,000 specialty license plate owners each year, our faithful corporate and foundation funders, and our special participants have made it possible for us to consistently contribute about $1 million to Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the last ten years, and we anticipate being able to continue and grow that level of support into the future.

    Generous and committed board members, as well as other Park lovers, have given generously of their time and resources to make efforts such as Parks As Classrooms, Trails Forever, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center, Twin Creeks Science Center, the new Oconaluftee Visitor Center, and hundreds of other Park needs a reality. Thankfully for Friends, many of these good people are still involved today. They started a program that has given literally millions of Park visitors from around the world a more rewarding experience.

    In our outreach efforts through digital and print communications as well as social media and traditional media channels we emphasize the Park's needs, our ability to meet those needs with help from the Park's more than 9 million visitors annually, and the impact financial support to Friends makes for one of America's greatest natural treasures.

    Our board of directors provides the staff with the tools and resources it needs to accomplish the organization's mission each year. A strong relationship with the Park leadership ensures that our staff has the information required to communicate with the public about Friends of the Smokies' effectiveness.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    At present, the key objective of Friends of the Smokies each year is to meet its annual funding commitment to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In 2014, our goal is $1,599,088
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    A point of pride for Friends of the Smokies in 2014 is providing more than $700,000 toward the construction of the Joint Curatorial Collections Preservation Center, which is a new facility that will house cultural history artifacts from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as well as four other National Park Service Areas including Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Big South Fork River and Recreation Area, and Obed Wild and Scenic River.

    The variety of programs and projects made possible by Friends funds is long and diverse. In the last 10 years, the Park has asked for more than $2 million to support the Parks as Classrooms program, making it our top parkwide funded project. The return on this investment has been outstanding. Nearly 250,000 schoolchildren have participated in this rich learning experience over the years.

    Other top funded programs include-
    - Cades Cove restoration projects have received more than $1 million
    - Hemlock woolly adelgid fight has received over $1 million
    - Trail shelter restorations along the Appalachian Trail in the Smokies, along with funding for work on the A.T. and Ridgerunner program has exceeded $871,000
    - Funding for interactive, interpretive exhibits at the Park's new Oconaluftee Visitor Center topped $500,000

    A few years ago Friends was asked by the park leadership to purchase 20 acres of land that was in private hands, but surrounded on three sides by Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Nearly $800,000 was needed to secure that property which held the Soak Ash Creek wetlands, the largest wetland reserve in the park's 500,000+ acres. That money was available in restricted reserves thanks to strong organizational leadership.

service areas

National

Self-reported by organization

Social Media

@SmokiesFriends

@SmokiesFriends

@friendsofsmokies

@SmokiesFriends

@SmokiesFriends

Funding Needs

In order to reach our fundraising goal of providing more than $1 million in direct support to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Friends of the Smokies relies on the generosity of individuals, foundations, and corporations who provide membership gifts, grants, and sponsorships throughout the year.

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

FRIENDS OF GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

FRIENDS OF GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK INC

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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CHIEF EXECUTIVE FOR FISCAL YEAR

Mr. James Hart

BIO

Spent 35 years in television station management.   Managed NBC stations in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as WBIR-TV Channel 10 in Knoxville, 1981-1994. President of Multimedia Broadcasting.

Senior Vice President for Television- Scripps Howard Broadcasting 1995 until retirement in 2002.
Appointed Executive Director of Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in May 2002. President of Friends of the Smokies since February 2005.

STATEMENT FROM THE CEO

"Our challenge is to keep moving forward and continue to emphasize Great Smoky Mountains National Park as a national, natural treasure that is worth preserving and protecting.  We are thankful for every faithful and generous gift of volunteer time and financial resources.- Jim Hart, President"

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Dr. Daniel P Matthews

Trustee & Co-chair of the Development Committee- The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine

Term: Jan 2013 - Dec 2013

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

No

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?