Join Our Friends

Friends, volunteers and cooperating associations: what's the difference?

Volunteers are individuals or groups of people who give their time, free of charge, to help the park either one time or on a regular schedule. Cooperating associations have a business relationship with the park or provide a specific service to the park. Some of them are not-for-profit groups which lease excess government buildings where they may run their own offices.

Friends organizations (see below) donate money and time to a national park or group of parks. Parks are forbidden by federal law to raise money or donations on their own, so friends organizations do this for us.


The National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy

The National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy is a public-private partnership with the National Parks of New York Harbor and sanctioned as its primary partner under a U.S. Department of the Interior General Agreement. With nearly 27,000 acres, the National Park Service is one of the largest caretakers, public or private, on the waterfront, hosting approximately 20 million visitors annually -- four million of whom visit through Lower Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Sandy Hook lighthouse keeper's quarters
Sandy Hook lighthouse keeper's quarters

NPS photo

Sandy Hook Foundation

The Sandy Hook Foundation is the official friends group of the National Park Service (NPS) at the Sandy Hook Unit, Gateway National Recreation Area.

Established in 1989, the Foundation's goal is to nurture and protect all of Sandy Hook including Fort Hancock, a National Historic Landmark site, by supporting programs and projects of environmental, historic, and cultural importance. The Sandy Hook Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable organization that relies on the generosity of individuals, foundations, and corporations, as well as dedicated volunteers, to reach its goals.

Statue of Liberty and Pedestal
Statue of Liberty

NPS photo

National Park Foundation

For more than 100 years, private philanthropy has been helping to improve, preserve and protect America's National Parks. For over forty years, and without federal appropriations, the National Park Foundation, chartered by Congress as the only national charitable partner of America's National Parks, has sustained this legacy of private philanthropy.


Last updated: May 1, 2015

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