Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore receives new capacity building grant from National Park Foundation

BAYFIELD, Wis.  Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is one of 36 park partner organizations to receive a Strong Parks, Strong Communities capacity building grant from the National Park Foundation, the official nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. This grant will enable Friends to facilitate a community-wide effort that acknowledges the important role local businesses, organizations, schools, nonprofits, tribes and individuals have in stewarding this park’s future.

Lynne Dominy (NPS photo)

“The economy of the local area is closely tied to the integrity of its national lakeshore; the vitality of our national lakeshore is closely tied to the efforts of its community,” said Lynne Dominy, Park Superintendent.  “Friends stands ready to help support both connecting the park with the people, and people with the park.” Together they are using the National Lakeshore’s golden anniversary to mark the 50-year history of environmental stewardship in the islands and into its future. 

The Strong Parks, Strong Communities capacity building grant program will enable Friends and other nonprofit philanthropic park partners across the country to expand their impact through new technology, website redesigns, creative visitor engagement, strategic plan development, fundraising campaigns, professional development, and more. These groups directly support priority needs, vital in times of financial uncertainty. 

“The program is funded by the National Park Foundation board who is committed to increasing national park philanthropy and being responsive to current needs,” said LaTresse Snead, chief program officer for the National Park Foundation. “The capacity building grants help advance park partners’ goals to preserve natural and cultural resources, increase access to public lands for all people, and develop innovative programming.” 

Last year FAINL gifted the park over $100,000 for priority projects in education, accessibility, COVID-19 prevention, youth engagement and resource stewardship. The group’s strategic growth directly impacts the 250,000+ people who visit the area and boost the region’s local economy every year. 

Thanks to the grant and matching monies from private donors, the Duluth Community Fund, business members and partners, Friends is initiating an executive director position and plans ten 50th Anniversary events in 2021. The first event will be an online Resource Stewardship Symposium on March 30-31. More information and free registration can be found on Northland College’s website.

Future events can be found at friendsoftheapostleislands.org

The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help protect more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts and connect all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.

Double rainbow over Outer Island photograph by Jon Okerstrom.