Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification

National Parks Conservation Association

  • Washington, DC
  • http://www.npca.org

Mission Statement

Since our founding in 1919, the National Parks Conservation Association has been the independent, nonpartisan voice working to strengthen and protect America's favorite places.

With more than a million members and supporters beside us, we are the voice of America's national parks, working to protect and preserve our nation's most iconic and inspirational places for present and future generations. We celebrate the parks — and work tirelessly to defend them — whether on the ground, in the courtroom or on Capitol Hill.

From our national headquarters in Washington, D.C., and 27 locations nationwide, we call on our program and policy experts, committed volunteers, staff lobbyists, community organizers and communications specialists to inform and inspire the public and to influence decision makers to ensure that our national parks are well protected.

Main Programs

  1. NPCA's Work
Service Areas



In addition to our national headquarters in Washington, D.C., NPCA has 27 regional and field offices across the country.

ruling year


President & CEO


Mrs. Theresa Pierno



Parks, National Park, NPS, Conservation, National Parks, Advocacy, Protection, Historic Preservation

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Also Known As






Physical Address

777 6th Street NW Suite 700

Washington, DC 20001


Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

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?


Self-reported by organization

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) is an independent, nonpartisan organization giving voice to national park lovers and supporters all over the country to protect some of our most significant landscapes and historic sites. We mobilize advocates and join with communities, businesses, and decision makers to promote legislation that strengthens protections for our national parks. Our priorities are to improve the fiscal and ecological health in our National Park System, and engage new and diverse members in our work.

Over the past year NPCA has advocated to add four new national monuments to the National Park System. In addition, we demonstrated the value of national parks to the White House and Administration through an ongoing campaign to halt further budget cuts; and helped to stop the development of the nation's largest garbage dump next to Joshua Tree National Park.

NPCA was established in 1919, just three years after the National Park Service, by two men who believed that the national parks needed an independent voice. Robert Sterling Yard, an outspoken journalist, and Stephen Mather, a business tycoon and the first director of the National Park Service, joined forces with a committee of community leaders to establish NPCA.

Today—nearly 100 years later—NPCA, one million members and supporters, through our Washington D.C. headquarters and 24 offices around the country we address the threats and challenges facing our national parks and monuments.


Self-reported by organization

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

Program 1

NPCA's Work

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) works on the ground, in and around our national parks, conducting research, and working hand-in-hand with park staff, community leaders, park advocates, and state and federal legislators to ensure that our national parks and monuments are welcoming and well funded, well managed and well protected for generations today and tomorrow. NPCA can be found mobilizing citizens and joining with communities, businesses, landowners, and activists; promoting legislation that strengthens protections for the national parks, advocating for the funding our national parks and monuments need, establishing or enforcing legal safeguards through the courts; and doing everything we can to protect our national parks for years to come.  NPCA was established in 1919 to be an independent voice for our National Park System. One of our founders, Stephen Mather, was also the first director of the National Park Service, which was established in 1916. Mather and others saw a clear need for an independent voice outside of the federal government to protect the nation’s parklands.  For more than 90 years, the nonpartisan, independent, membership organization has been the leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhancing the park system’s superlative examples of America’s natural, cultural, and historic heritage. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters are committed to preserving the most diverse park system in the world for us now and for those who will come after.



Population(s) Served


Aging/Elderly/Senior Citizens

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)


Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

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

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    NPCA has adopted an ambitious three-year Strategic Plan to:

    1. Protect national parks and their surroundings, including the resources within them, the larger landscapes around them, and the air and water on which they depend.

    2. Fund parks sustainably, by securing adequate funding for the National Park Service, which cannot lobby on its own behalf, and identifying new funding strategies and revenue streams to augment the continuing decline in federal appropriations.

    3. Mobilize advocates and political leaders to help expand, conserve, and support the national parks.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    1. To protect national parks and their surroundings, NPCA will work to advance projects in at least three national park landscapes that increase the health of iconic wildlife species, such as the pronghorn antelope; marshal opposition to halt policies or legislation that would fragment or otherwise damage wildlife habitat; work with allies to advance the cleanup, transition or retirement of coal-fired power plants that harm air quality; and push for legislation that authorizes critical restoration projects that preserve, protect, and restore Great Waters landscapes around national parks, such as the Great Lakes and Everglades.
    In addition, we will advocate for new or expanded sites that tell the American story and preserve valuable historic moments and natural areas. NPCA will actively support new national park campaigns that enhance the range of ecological and cultural diversity and recreational opportunities in the park system; and collaborate with the Park Service as it develops a new National Park System Plan to reflect a broad range of natural and cultural diversity.

    2. To fund parks sustainably, NPCA will identify champions on Capitol Hill and in the Administration to propose/promote promising strategies, such as a change in the Park Service's fee structure, with significant revenue potential and oppose those that diminish NPS funding sources. Toward this end, NPCA will help launch a national Centennial Campaign to seek private philanthropic support for the parks. This effort, to be conducted with Presidential leadership, will constitute our major action in support of the 2016 centennial of the National Park System.

    3. To cultivate and mobilize advocates and political leaders, NPCA will recruit and engage one million members and supporters – a 25 percent increase – and increase the number of political champions who are positioned to influence national park policies and legislation within Congress and the Administration, as well as state and local governments. In seeking diverse new members and advocates, NPCA will create specific outreach efforts that focus, in particular, on urban national parks. With 85 percent of Americans living in urban areas by 2030, urban parks will soon provide most of the population with its first or only national park experience.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    NPCA has a $32-million annual budget that supports the programmatic work designed to achieve our 3-year Strategic Plan. Our 148-staff, including 50 employees who are based in our 27 regional and field offices around the country, possess an unsurpassed depth of knowledge about the art of advocating on behalf of the national parks. The organization also has a solid financial foundation supported by a $26 million endowment and $5 million reserve.

    Other assets include:

    • Dedicated, engaged volunteer leaders who serve on our Board of Trustees, National and Regional Councils.

    • Key staff with important and influential relationships within Congress and the Administration, as well as Gateway Communities and partner organizations.

    • A formidable and well-connected legislative staff considered one of the most successful in Washington, D.C.

    • An experienced and effective communications staff that regularly gains coverage in national and regional media outlets (traditional and online) around the country drawing attention to national park issues

    • More than one million supporters and members, and a dedicated group of e-advocates who regularly contact Congress and other decision makers in support of park issues when asked to do so

    • An effective litigation program that has had key successes in recent years including halting the nation's largest landfill outside of Joshua Tree National Park, and working to stop a 6,500-acre pig farm on the banks of a major tributary of the Buffalo National River in Arkansas.

    • Hundreds of allies around the country who partner with us on issues ranging from oil and gas drilling outside of parks to tightening regulations affecting air in Class 1 (national park) areas.

    • Solid relationships with the National Park Service personnel as well as community leaders around the country who work in partnership with NPCA on key national park issues.

    • One of the few conservation issues that enjoys bipartisan support. National parks have broad appeal among both Democrats and Republicans and among Americans in every region of the country.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    At the beginning of each fiscal year (July 1 to June 30), NPCA establishes benchmarks for each Strategic Priority to track progress against goals. These benchmarks are approved by our Board of Trustees and progress is shared with the board on a quarterly basis. In addition, each staff person is required to develop an annual Individual Goal Plan that demonstrates how his/her work fits within and supports the strategic plan. Each Strategic Priority has a cross-departmental team responsible for drafting work plans that include clear goals and outcomes. The team chairs meet periodically with NPCA's Leadership Team to track progress against goals and make course corrections as necessary.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    For nearly 100 years we have been advocating on behalf of our national parks, and our mission of protecting and enhancing America's national parks for present and future generations provides the foundation for all of our work. Some of these efforts are focused on specific parks; others are directed at policies or legislation that emerge in Washington, D.C., that could harm the National Park System.

    NPCA succeeded, with the help of a strong coalition of supporters and allies, in halting a fracking operation outside Glacier National Park; played a role in halting a hydroelectric dam on Canada's Namakan River that would have affected Voyageurs National Park; defeated a proposal, after more than a decade of fighting, to create the nation's largest landfill on lands next to Joshua Tree National Park; advocated for legislation to authorize the acquisition and protection of nationally significant battlefields of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812; and helped to ensure that the Park Service would receive $240 million for bridges, roads, and transit services throughout the park system.

    These are but a small selection of victories. All of these results help advance our long-term goals of protecting the national parks, and ensuring that they are well-funded and well-managed into their second century.

    We are at our most effective when we engage our allies in key campaigns and have clear goals, and consistent messages. We ensure that our messages are amplified in key congressional districts and that the actions we ask of our advocates are clear. The nearly gridlocked political climate continues to be a challenge for our legislative work and will place even greater importance on our work on the ground in local communities and in the courts.
Service Areas



In addition to our national headquarters in Washington, D.C., NPCA has 27 regional and field offices across the country.

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Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

National Parks Conservation Association



Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2014
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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President & CEO

Mrs. Theresa Pierno


Theresa Pierno is President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association. She joined NPCA in 2004 after a distinguished career in public service and natural resource protection, and has helped to solidify the organization's role as the voice of America's national parks.

President and CEO Theresa Pierno first joined NPCA in 2004 as Vice President of Regional Operations. In that role, she successfully doubled the field program to include more than 60 staff working in 24 offices across the country. The move further enhanced NPCA's connection to national parks and their gateway communities and helped to solidify the organization's role as the voice of America's national parks.

In her most recent role as NPCA's Chief Operating Officer, Pierno played a critical role in the recruitment of talented, diverse, and experienced staff, led the development of strategic priorities with a focus on water and land use policy, and helped to ensure the financial health of NPCA through revised management practices and successful fundraising efforts. Further, in an effort to engage and inspire new park stewards and advocates, she formed NPCA's Next Generation Advisory Council—a group of young rangers, civil servants, public land advocates, educators, students and activists with a strong desire to lead national park advocacy efforts well into the future.

Pierno is the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of America's Great Waters Coalition, a group of 70 member organizations working together to protect and restore waters in and around our national parks that are central to the health of the ecosystem and the recreation of their visitors.

Pierno lives in Annapolis, Maryland with her husband Bob. Together they have two adult children and three grandchildren. She is an avid sailor with a passion for travel, having visited numerous national and international parks.


"My top priority is making sure that we have more people—diverse communities, younger people—connecting with these places and understanding that national parks play a primary role in the foundation of our democracy and the future of our ecosystems. Protecting parks is protecting both of these things that are so fundamentally important to all of us.



Fran Ulmer

U.S. Arctic Research Commission


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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?



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



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



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



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


In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Senior Staff, Part-Time Staff and Volunteers.
Race & Ethnicity
This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Senior Staff, Part-Time Staff and Volunteers.
Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.


This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Senior Staff, Part-Time Staff and Volunteers.

Diversity Strategies
We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity
Diversity notes from the nonprofit
The above information was collected pursuant to a strictly voluntary survey and reflects a partial, and incomplete, profile of the National Parks Conservation Association’s staff and board of trustees. We deeply respect the individual privacy rights of our staff and board. Therefore, we did not ask for, nor do we have access to, all of the information requested in the GuideStar survey.