American Express Announces $5 Million Grant to Increase Volunteering in America’s National Parks

American Express (AXP) and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced a multi-year partnership to increase volunteerism in National Parks and Public Lands. The $5 million grant over four years from American Express will help the Department of the Interior (DOI) and National Parks Service (NPS) build volunteer coalitions to preserve and sustain America’s public lands.

This partnership directly supports Secretary Jewell’s recent commitment to increase volunteerism from 322,000 to one million annually by 2017. The DOI is the steward of 20 percent of the Nation’s lands, including national parks, national wildlife refuges, and other public lands. Secretary Jewell has focused on volunteerism as a means of maintaining these public lands around the U.S. that have financial requirements that cannot always be met by government funding alone. In today’s era of governmental budget austerity, volunteerism is more important than ever in maintaining these American assets.

The National Park Service works hand-in-hand with communities to engage people of all ages and backgrounds in meaningful and mutually beneficial volunteer opportunities. As articulated in its five-year strategic plan the NPS identified increased volunteer engagement as a key strategy to connect communities to their parks, and ensure their continued vibrancy and relevancy.

“Magnificent landscapes and our strong volunteer ethic are part of what makes America so special and unique,” Secretary Jewell said.

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