With everything else going on in the world, why dedicate an entire month to some trees, mountains, and those pesky squirrels? 

Believe it or not, parks are about more than just protecting wildlife and the environment, or giving neighborhood kids a place to play. From the awe-inspiring vastness of Yellowstone, to your local community swing set, parks not only help hold back (and even reverse) climate change, they play a major role in protecting public health, too, which ultimately supports healthy economies.

And if healthy parks make for healthy people, and healthy people make for healthy economies? It goes without saying: when you help protect parks, you’re protecting your own everyday way of life—whether or not you ever step foot on a hiking trail.

This July, do you part and celebrate National Parks and Recreation Month by making a donation, shopping with Giving Assistant, or volunteering for one of these 18 nonprofits working to protect life as we know it.

Table of Contents

18 Conservation Nonprofits to Support for National Parks and Recreation Month

1. The Conservation Alliance

Support and donate to The Conservation Alliance

Since its creation in 1989, the Conservation Alliance has been impacting public environmental policy, purchasing land for conservation efforts, and has supported global conservation activities and other nonprofits with grants and funding to the tune of $23 million, with over $1 million already donated in 2020.

For donors who care about:

  • Funding conservation efforts
  • Environmental policy and legislation
  • Wildlands and marine life

How to Support the Conservation Alliance

🍃 Tip: At many of their partner brands, you can use Giving Assistant to donate your cash back for a parks-funding mega-boost: try CamelBak, Columbia, Eagle Creek, or JanSport.

2. National Park Foundation

Support and donate to National Park Foundation

The National Park Foundation directly funds America’s National Parks Services, which works to conserve everything from wildlife, to historic American sites like President Theodore Roosevelt’s home. They also offer a wealth of educational programs nationwide, protect trails, and advocate for conservation and environmental protection policies. Their online Find Your Park tool is also great at helping Americans get themselves and their families outdoors.

🍃 Did You Know? The National Park Foundation places a special focus on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), with resources like the African American Experience Fund and the American Latino Heritage Fund, which both serve to protect related  historic sites and artifacts for education and awareness.

For donors who care about:

  • Preserving American Black and Latinx history
  • Preserving historic American sites
  • Public environmental policy

How to Support the National Park Foundation

3. The Sierra Club Foundation

Support and donate to The Sierra Club Foundation

The Sierra Club is focused on solving the climate crisis by advocating for, and funding efforts related to clean energy and land protection, as well as social diversity and inclusion. Well-known for their school clubs (both in K-12 schools and colleges), this decades-old nonprofit has a record of wins, from preventing the installation of a gas pipeline route through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to ending coal power and protecting Americans from toxic pollutants.

For donors who care about:

  • The climate crisis
  • Clean energy
  • Social justice
  • Environmental activism and education

How to Support the Sierra Club Foundation 

4. National Forest Foundation 

Support and donate to National Forest Foundation

The National Forest System protects and maintains more than 193 million acres of American wildlands, both for the sake of our wildlife and our enjoyment, but also for making a powerful impact on reversing climate change by preserving the forests so vital to removing toxic carbon from our atmosphere. Their education programs help them fulfill their mission to unite (Americans to help protect forests), restore (forests that have been harmed), sustain (the health of our forests), and add value (by engaging communities, tourists, students, and businesses). 

For donors who care about:

  • Forests and reforestation
  • Climate change
  • Nature preservation 

How to Support the National Forest Foundation

5. The National Park Service

Donate and support to The National Park Service

America’s National Park Service has been protecting historical sites since 1916, like battlefields, sacred Native American sites, and historic American roads like Route 66. They also play a major role in all areas of conservation, from water and land conservation, to wildlife research and conservation, and environmental policy reform.

For donors who care about:

  • Protecting historic sites
  • Protecting Native American heritage and gravesites
  • Overall conservation efforts
  • Public policy 

How to Support the National Park Service 

6. The Nature Conservancy

Support and donate to The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is a worldwide network of more than 400 scientists and more than a million members dedicated to the environment. They work in 79 countries and territories, take part in over 100 marine conservation projects, and protect over 125 million acres of land. Their focuses are on climate change, food and water sustainability, building healthy cities, and—taking a bipartisan approach (not affiliating with any political party)—they conduct research and help teach corporations and communities how to decrease their carbon footprints, holding them accountable throughout.

🍃 Tip: Ever wondered what your personal carbon footprint is? They have a calculator for that.

For donors who care about:

  • Climate change
  • Holding corporations accountable 
  • Global conservation
  • Research

How to Support The Nature Conservancy

7. Association of National Park Rangers

Support and donate to Association of National Park Rangers

The Association of National Park Rangers trains up and supports park rangers: those charged with enforcing the efforts we’re all taking to conserve our parks and ecosystems, and keeping us safe while we’re out there enjoying them. The association heads up a mentorship program for those interested in becoming rangers, as well as the Park Ranger Law Enforcement academy. They also provide survival and wildlife education for children. 

For donors who care about:

  • Keeping explorers safe
  • Park rangers and park law enforcement
  • Education
  • Conservation and history

How to Support the Association of National Park Rangers

8. Naturalist for You

Support and donate to Naturalist for You

Naturalist for You (featured as our Nonprofit Spotlight) is a Southern California-based organization helping anyone, anywhere, who wants to learn more about the nature that surrounds them. How? By lending out volunteer naturalists who can take them on tours and answer their questions! This nonprofit also hosts K-12 field trips, and holds regular programming like natural and historical tours, storytelling and folk music events, climbing and birding classes, survivalist courses, and more. Anyone passionate and well-versed in nature anywhere in the country can start their own Naturalist for You group: start by visiting the contact page on their site and connecting with Joel.

For donors who care about:

  • Community and K-12 education
  • History, storytelling, and music
  • Native American heritage
  • Survival, foraging, safety, and conservation
  • Local wildlife

How to Support Naturalist for You

9. National Parks Conservation Association

Support and donate to National Parks Conservation Association

The National Parks Conservation Association not only protects national parks: they also educate Americans on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Through 27 locations nationwide and 1.4 million members, 81.2% of the nonprofit’s resources go towards advocacy work, defending wildlife like the Yellowstone elk and wildcats, protecting historical sites, conserving water, protecting marine life, and fighting pollution and climate change. More importantly, through their diversity and inclusion efforts, they make sure every single American feels empowered to help.

For donors who care about:

  • Social justice and inclusion
  • Defending wildlife and conserving water
  • Conservation
  • Fighting pollution and climate change

How to Support the National Parks Conservation Association

10. Friends of Maryland State Forests and Parks

Support and donate to Friends of Maryland State Forests and Parks

Friends of the Maryland State Forests and Parks is a nearly 120-year-old nonprofit working to maintain the state of (you guessed it) Maryland’s parks and forests. Each year, their work attracts over 11 million visitors who learn about the cultural, historical, and natural diversity of one of the first American states. Their parks also support more than 12,000 jobs across Maryland, and generate $770 million for the state’s economy annually.

For donors who care about:

  • Maryland parks and forests
  • Early American state history

How to Support Friends of Maryland State Forests and Parks

11. Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation 

Support and donate to Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation is a nonprofit conserving some of the most expansive areas of grasslands and coastal lands in the U.S. Conserving wildlife and protecting the ecology of the second-largest state is no easy (or cheap) feat. To date, they’ve invested more than 205 million in conservation funds, play a major role in cleaning up some of the biggest coastal oil spills in U.S. history, and are working to create the next generation of conservation leaders through their Stewards of the Wild education program

For donors who care about:

  • Texas 
  • Coastal and grassland conservation
  • Education

How to support Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation

12. San Mateo County Parks Foundation

Support and donate to San Mateo County Parks Foundation

Since 1988, the San Mateo County Parks Foundation has provided funding for programs that enhance the county’s 200 miles of trail and more than 17,000 acres of parks. In addition to maintaining over 300 beautiful campsites and constantly improving trail accessibility—both of which help boost citizens’ appreciation for the local ecology and increase the efforts made towards protecting it—they’ve restored dozens of native plant habitats and are currently working with scientists to reintroduce the checkerspot butterfly. 

For donors who care about:

  • San Mateo County
  • Reestablishing species 
  • Restoring plant habitats
  • Improving campsites and trails

How to support the San Mateo County Parks Foundation

13. Anaina Hou Community Park

Support and donate to Anaina Hou Community Park

The Anaina Hou Community Park is a small—but important—nonprofit whose work plays a large role in raising awareness and increasing community conservation efforts on the north shore of Kaua’i, Hawaii. In addition to maintaining the largest mahogany plantation in North America, gorgeous trails and forests, and protecting mountainscapes, their family entertainment and educational programming helps ensure that the next generation of conservationists will be right around the corner, ready to help keep Hawaii beautiful.

For donors who care about: 

  • Hawaii and coastal conservation
  • Family conservation education
  • Local community action
  • Small nonprofits making a big difference

How to support the Anaina Hou Community Park

14. Southeast Association for Special Parks And Recreation

Southeast Association for Special Parks And Recreation support and donate

The Southeast Association for Special Parks and Recreation (SEASPAR) is a unique nonprofit that connects Illinois residents with different abilities to local nature and recreation experiences, both indoors and out. Donations to SEASPAR fund dozens of programs and services, from day camps to special olympics and inclusion services for individuals of all ages living with different abilities such as ADHD, Autism, Down Syndrome, PTSD, and more.

For donors who care about:

  • Supporting differently-abled people
  • Inclusion and mental health
  • Veterans
  • Illinois parks and recreation

How to Support the Southeast Association for Special Parks And Recreation

15. Mojave Desert Land Trust and California Desert Land Conservancy

Mojave Desert Land Trust and California Desert Land Conservancy donate and support

Since 2006, the Mojave Desert Land Trust and California Desert Land Conservancy has protected 24.5 million acres of land. They work to ensure all acquired land is stewarded, focusing on improving tourism, ensuring equal access to parks and reserves for all, and raising awareness of conservation needs and practices. They also run a mojave desert seed bank: a critical repository of seed and spores of native flora that can help with anything from preventing future plant extinction, to helping us plan for the challenges of climate change.

For donors who care about:

  • California
  • The Mojave Desert and desert conservation
  • K-12 education
  • Botany research and archaeology 

How to Support the Mojave Desert Land Trust and California Desert Land Conservancy

16. Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation

Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation support and donate

The Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation is a nonprofit that protects and maintains over 8,000 acres of land a mere eight miles south of downtown San Diego—important work, given that city-dwelling can make conservation hard to keep front-of-mind. Citizens have access to historical sites like the Old Mission Dam, educational experiences like ranger-led field trips, plus over 60 miles of inspiring trails.

For donors who care about:

  • Community and K-12 nature education
  • The San Diego community
  • Protecting historical sites
  • Funding outdoor recreation

How to Support the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation

17. Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation

Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation support and donate

The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation (PPFF) is a nonprofit protecting over 2.2 million acres of American forest land across 121 parks in the state of Pennsylvania. In addition to their ecological conservation work, the PPFF is well-regarded for the anti-graffiti campaign (helping to remove flammable and toxic products from the land) and their Playgrounds for All initiative, ensuring children and families across the state of Pennsylvania will always have a safe place to exercise and connect.

How to Support the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation:

18. Nevada Outdoor School

Support Nevada Outdoor School by donating

The Nevada Outdoor School is a nonprofit based in rural Nevada, whose work has an impact that expands well beyond their small community. Their partnerships with organizations like the National Civilian Community Corps, Americorps, and the United Way make it possible for them to provide hundreds of kids with outdoor education every year, in everything from survival skills, to outdoor safety skills—even life-saving ATV driver training. 

For donors who care about:

  • Nevada and desert ecology
  • K-12 education
  • Americorps and volunteering
  • Life-saving ATV driver training

How to support the Nevada Outdoor School:

What is National Parks and Recreation Month?

National Parks and Recreation Month, recognized in July, is an American awareness campaign aimed at educating citizens about the importance of protecting the country’s nature preserves, ecology, and national parks, as well as inspiring greater appreciation for our natural resources, and increasing overall support and funding for parks, greenspaces, and conservation efforts nationwide. It was established in 1985.

What is Giving Assistant? 

Giving Assistant helps online shoppers turn their everyday shopping into donations for any nonprofit. Members get exclusive coupons and savings at over 3,000 top online brands while earning cash back they can donate easily to any nonprofit organization in the U.S. Our browser extension makes the whole thing even easier: just download it for free, then shop, save, and automate your cash back donations.