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Parks California – It’s in our nature Donate

Creating Impact:
A Study of Nonprofit Partnership in California State Parks

Parks are a public resource embedded within landscapes and communities. California’s state park system encompasses 279 units of diverse resources from beaches to historic sites, to urban corridors, to vast wild areas. The system is the largest and most diverse state park system in the world, rivaling the entire national park system in many other nations. Because of this complexity, there will always be a need for the California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) to embrace and maintain partnerships with many stakeholders. Propelled by State Parks’ vision and leadership, these partnerships can achieve stunning results and provide extraordinary experiences for Californians and the state’s visitors. 

The California State Parks Nonprofit Partnership Study seeks to build a broad understanding of the contributions of cooperating associations, nonprofit operators and co-managers, and other nonprofit donors and program partners supporting state parks across California. The study also highlights best practices in partnership that can help parks and their nonprofit partners reach their fullest potential—together. 


  • Build a broad understanding of the contributions of nonprofit partners supporting state parks across California. 
  • Celebrate the accomplishments of nonprofit partners and highlight best practices in the field. 
  • Establish a baseline for future studies of State Parks’ nonprofit partners and illuminate areas for further research. 
  • Identify opportunities to further nonprofit partnership with State Parks and make relevant recommendations. 

View the study HERE. 

The study is a collaboration between Parks California, California State Parks Foundation, California League of Park Associations, State Parks’ Partnerships Division, and the research team, as well as representatives from the nonprofit partner community. Potrero Group, a California-based research and management consulting firm supporting public lands organizations and their partners, served as the primary project manager and research lead.