CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS FOUNDATION

Champion your California

SAN FRANCISCO, CA   |  http://www.calparks.org/

Mission

California State Parks Foundation is an independent, member-supported nonprofit dedicated to protecting and preserving the California state park system, for the benefit of all.

Ruling year info

1969

Executive Director

Ms. Rachel Norton

Main address

33 NEW MONTGOMERY STREET SUITE 520

SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94105 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

94-1707583

NTEE code info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

IRS filing requirement

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

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2020, 2019 and 2018.
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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

California’s state parks are a world-class network of unparalleled natural beauty and historic value. Attracting over 81 million annual visits, our 280 state parks are crucial to ensuring vibrant California communities. However, maintaining these spaces requires a tremendous amount of stewardship and care. Our parks are chronically underfunded in the state budget, particularly in times of financial hardship. This is compounded by the growing threat of climate change, including devastating impacts from wildfires and sea level rise. California State Parks Foundation aims to address these challenges, engage Californians with their public lands, and ensure that state parks are accessible and relevant to all. Our state parks need a strong constituency of support from all Californians to protect their natural, historical, and cultural treasures. When we work together to protect and steward our parks, they will be there for us in return – creating some of our most memorable life experiences.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Volunteerism

California State Parks Foundation’s year-round volunteerism program organizes workdays to protect and preserve state parks across California by addressing climate change and demands on natural resources. In partnership with the Department of Parks and Recreation, California State Parks Foundation generates high-quality workday service projects to attend to unmet needs and engage Californians with their local parks, including signature Earth Day Climate Action events in April. Our volunteers provide consistent, sustainable support for park staff and help with critical projects such as planting native plants, removing invasive species, trail repair, trash clean-up, post-wildfire restoration, and clearing brush to reduce wildfire risk. Though the program has been impacted by COVID-19, we have developed a robust safety protocol and are ramping up as California re-opens.

Population(s) Served

California State Parks Foundation defends parks in the halls of power, fighting to realize its goals for the state’s spectacular park system. Our government affairs team monitors threats to and opportunities for California’s state parks, generates policy platforms through research and measured outcomes from our program work, educates and influences legislators and legislation, educates and activates individuals and partner organizations, leads grassroots advocacy efforts, and participates in/leads various issue-based coalitions. Our team engages in regular contact with the Legislative and Executive branches of state government – meeting with legislative offices, developing information packets and fact sheets, offering testimony on key legislation, and sponsoring legislation. To build a movement of support, we organize and mobilize park champions as coalition members around priority issues. We educate, engage, and inspire our large membership base and additional advocates to influence legislative proposals affecting the California state park system. Our key annual coalition building and grassroots advocacy event is a spring Park Advocacy Day.

Population(s) Served

California State Parks Foundation also enhances and improves state parks by serving as a leader for the field – providing resources, financial support, and other guidance to park partner organizations. Our partnerships program engages nonprofit park partners and state park managers in funding and executing key projects and programs in state parks across California. Through our competitive grant cycles, we award grants to support park projects aligned with our mission to maximize our statewide impact. Our recent grant rounds have focused on climate resiliency and preparedness in response to increasingly devastating wildfire seasons. We also provide non-monetary support to strengthen our on-the-ground park partners by helping them build capacity and improve their effectiveness in advocacy, communications, and fundraising – all of which will result in stronger, healthier, and more accessible state parks throughout California.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of volunteers engaged in restoring native habitats, bolstering climate resiliency, and improving park access, visitor safety, and the visitor experience

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Volunteerism

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2020, the program was deeply impacted by COVID-19, resulting in reduced output numbers.

Number of volunteer workdays in state parks

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Volunteerism

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2020, the program was deeply impacted by COVID-19, resulting in reduced output numbers.

Number of state park sites in volunteer program

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Volunteerism

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

In 2020, the program was deeply impacted by COVID-19, resulting in reduced output numbers.

Total number of volunteer hours contributed to the organization

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Volunteerism

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2020, the program was deeply impacted by COVID-19, resulting in reduced output numbers.

Number of grassroots advocates who attended Park Advocacy Day

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Government Affairs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2020, we pivoted to a virtual format due to COVID-19.

Number of legislative visits at Park Advoacy Day

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Government Affairs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

In 2020, we pivoted to a virtual format due to COVID-19. We were not able to facilitate legislative visits in Sacramento.

Total number of organization members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

% of volunteers reporting that participation in our workdays made them feel more connected to state parks

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Volunteerism

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

% of park staff reporting that our volunteer workdays had a high quality impact on their state park(s)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Volunteerism

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

California State Parks Foundation is a statewide, member-supported nonprofit that mobilizes a diverse network of Californians to be active champions for our state parks. At California State Park Foundation, we believe that all Californians are essential to sustaining our state parks. Every day, we inform and inspire current and future generations of park champions, enabling them to be the passionate advocates our state parks need. Because when we build a movement of park supporters, we ensure the long-term sustainability of our incredible state park treasures.

Facing one of the greatest public health and economic challenges of our generation, we know that nature and parklands continue to serve as a lifeline for many amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As we endure this crisis, the future of the state park system is threatened, and our work to protect state parks and ensure equitable access to their health benefits has never been more critical. During this time of increased stress and uncertainty, it is clear that California’s state parks are a vital and necessary resource for the health, wellness, education, and inspiration of all Californians.

Through government affairs, volunteerism, partnerships, and membership, California State Parks Foundation empowers Californians to experience, engage with, and champion their state parks – ensuring they will thrive now and for future generations. Our organizational goals are:
• Funding parks,
• Building climate resilient parks,
• Enhancing visitor experience,
• Expanding access to parks,
• Preserving history and culture,
• Protecting wildlife and nature.

In order to guarantee that our state park system is well-funded, climate resilient, preserves history and culture, protects wildlife and nature, and provides access for all to a great visitor experience, California State Parks Foundation focuses on four primary strategies: government affairs, volunteerism, partnerships, and membership.

GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS: When elected officials, opinion-leaders, and decision-makers are equipped with information and understand constituent priorities — and become passionate park advocates themselves — they are able to make decisions that ensure that California’s state parks remain sustainable and relevant for all Californians. For nearly 52 years, California State Parks Foundation has been the leading statewide voice for parks. Through advocacy and policy development, we address the root cause of problems and create scalable change for all Californians. To advance our public policy goals, California State Parks Foundation’s staff meet with elected officials, develop and support policies and legislation, lobby the Legislature, and mobilize grassroots advocates to take action on pressing issues facing our state parks.

VOLUNTEERISM: When people have the opportunity to get in the dirt and weeds, and make a personal connection with their local state park and fellow community members, the pride of ownership and responsibility can spur a lifetime of advocacy on behalf of California’s state parks. California State Parks Foundation’s year-round volunteerism program organizes workdays to protect and preserve state parks across California by addressing climate change and demands on natural resources. Our volunteers provide consistent support for under-resourced park staff and help with critical resource conservation projects such as planting native plants, removing invasive species, trail repair, trash clean-up, post-wildfire restoration, and clearing brush to reduce wildfire risk.

PARTNERSHIPS: When we connect partner organizations and work towards shared priorities, we mobilize and strengthen the state park movement. These cohorts of like-minded partners facilitate sharing of tools and strategies and broaden our cultivation of passionate advocates on behalf of California’s state parks. As a leader for the field, California State Parks Foundation enhances and improves state parks by providing tools and resources, financial support, and other guidance to park partner organizations.

MEMBERSHIP: When we invite people to be a part of a state parks movement in ways large and small, they feel that they are an important part of something bigger. They trust in our proven ability to amplify and maximize impact for state parks on behalf of all Californians. Our strength as an advocacy organization comes from our 70,000 members across California. With their grassroots support, we are able to make systemic impact for California’s state parks by successfully advocating for bond funding for parks and other key pieces of legislation.

With nearly 40 million residents, California faces the challenge of providing meaningful recreational and outdoors experiences to its vast population. Californians are fortunate to have state parks set aside providing unique physical or historical opportunities to explore.

For 52 years, California State Parks Foundation has been protecting and preserving the California state park system, for the benefit of all. Early in our history, we helped grow the system by acquiring land for the state, preserving these treasures for generations to come. As California’s state parks were in a period of rapid growth, we were a leader and partner in safeguarding our state’s natural and historical resources. Over the years, we have diligently protected and preserved the parks we all know and love, advocating for them to stay open and accessible for all. When parks were threatened with closure in 2008, 2009, and 2012, California State Parks Foundation fought to keep parks open. As California’s state parks and California have changed, we have been there to partner and improve our state parks. We mobilize Californians to stand up for what their parks need and make them better for everyone. As state parks have faced budget cuts and a lack of resources, our volunteerism program has been a critical partner in stewarding parks for the visitors and wildlife who rely on them.

The state is not able to do this work alone, and we are here to partner every step of the way. As an independent nonprofit, we work with elected officials to ensure parks are adequately and sustainably funded in the Governor’s budget, and we work to make sure legislation gives Californians access and protects parks for future generations. We continue to work with our partners to pilot different approaches to keep parks relevant, as we have for many years. Partners not only learn from their own park programs, but other programs we fund through our work to convene partners and bring people together. In partnership with the state, parks, and funders, we will grow the park stewards of tomorrow through relevancy, positive experiences, and awareness with California state parks. By cultivating the next generation of passionate park protectors, we will ensure the future advocates that state parks need to continue to thrive.

In 1902, California’s legislature created the state’s first official, publicly funded state park – Big Basin Redwoods. By the end of the 1960s, California’s state parks faced severe budget cuts. Governor Ronald Reagan’s first Director of California State Parks, William Penn Mott, Jr., understood that preserving natural and cultural resources was not enough — parks needed to engage a broader audience and better serve urban and other underserved communities. Director Mott stressed interpretation and education, professional training, science-based resource management, and expansion into urban areas.

In 1969, William Penn Mott, Jr. rallied a core group of friends and park supporters to form California State Parks Foundation, an independent, statewide nonprofit. They committed to improving the quality of life for all Californians by expanding access to the natural beauty, rich culture and history, and educational and health opportunities offered by California’s state parks. These were exciting days for the environmental movement in California and nationally, as Congress passed the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Land and Water Conservation Fund, and Wilderness Act; the first Earth Day was celebrated; and Californians voted to protect their coastal zone. The public understood that a growing California needed more parks to serve more people and to protect fragile landscapes. By 1980, the system had grown to 250 parks, covering 1 million acres, serving 23.7 million Californians, and visited by 66 million people.

Today, California’s magnificent state park system has now grown to 280 units and receives more than 81 million visits each year. In the beginning, California State Parks Foundation was primarily purchasing and holding new parklands, creating the system we see and enjoy today, saving our cultural and natural history, and preserving what it means to be Californian. In 52 years, the organization has built a dedicated community of over 70,000 members and raised more than $300 million to benefit state parks. We have supported programming that connects people to parks, making sure that everyone can visit and feels welcome. When parks were threatened with closure and development, we were the voice for parks, keeping them open for all to enjoy. As the needs of the times change, for parks and people, California State Parks Foundation will be there to advocate for, enhance, and protect state parks.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    California State Parks Foundation’s work benefits all 40 million Californians and all state park visitors, including California residents and travelers from around the world. This population can be described as 39% Latinx, 50% female, 23% under 18 years old, 44% speaking a language other than English at home, 34% with a bachelor’s degree or higher, 7% with a disability, 9% without health insurance, and 12% living in poverty. Each year, the California Department of Parks and Recreation publishes the California State Park System Statistical Report, which contains data that collectively describes and measures the California State Park System. The most recent report provides a total visitor attendance figure of 81,114,307, including day use visitors as well as overnight campers.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Statewide poll,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, California State Parks Foundation suspended in-person volunteer workdays in state parks from March - June 2020 and again in January and February 2021 to ensure health and safety. During the initial workday pause, park staff reported that they were struggling to keep up with important projects without the support of our volunteers. At the same time, our volunteers were contacting us to let us know that they missed giving back to their parks as part of a community and were eager to resume workday events. After developing a new safety protocol, we were able to resume public workdays in July 2020 focused on supporting parks that were hit hardest by COVID-19. This includes parks that have seen increased visitation, decreased revenue, furloughed staff, etc.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Asking for feedback has allowed us to be more responsive to public needs. We are able to see how our programming meets what Californians are looking for from their state parks and where we need to shift and adjust.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback,

Financials

CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS FOUNDATION
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS FOUNDATION

Board of directors
as of 6/24/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Cathy Fisher

Fisher & Kong LLP

Term: 2019 - 2022

Catherine Fisher

Fisher Kong LLP

Elizabeth Lake

City of Oakland

Douglas Beebe

Toyota Motor North America

William Doolittle

Retired

Manuel Grace

The Walt Disney Company

Virginia Chang Kiraly

California Commission for Economic Development

Rosalind Nieman

Educator and Child Specialist

Robert Patterson

Peninsula Ventures

Donald Robinson

Premier Business Bank

Peter Weiner

Paul Hastings, LLP

Angel Barajas

City of Woodland

Ben Cipollini

Facebook

Michon Coleman

Hospital Council Northern & Central California

Marie Downey

United Airlines

Birt Johnson

Retired

James Lau

Lau Consulting

Leslie Leonard

Retired

Andrew Liang

Liang Architecture Bureau

Christi Light

Technology Specialist

David Mandelkern

Retired

Cynthia McClain-Hill

Strategic Counsel

Diane Ross-Leech

Retired

John O'Connor

Alamere

Gina Orozco

SoCalGas

Dan Skopec

SoCalGas

Darry Sragow

Dentons

Ryan T'Kindt

Capital Group

Robert Walter

Cresleigh Homes

Emily Young

University of San Diego

Carol Hart

Movement Arts Instructor and Trainer

Keith Pettus

JPMorgan Chase

Mukund Srirangapatnam

PwC

Joshua Wood

Region Business & Lift Investing, Inc.

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and 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 and 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? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 06/09/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/09/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.