Largest Cash Gift to National Parks

  • Nature, Animals & Parks
  • 2013

More than 70 of our national parks have established cooperating nonprofit membership associations to help them raise donated funds for park improvements. In 2013, one of these linked nonprofits—the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy—received the largest-ever cash gift made to a U.S. national park. The S. D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, founded by the owner of the Bechtel construction and engineering firm, offered $25 million to create a new natural space on the top of a roadway that tunnels across the Presidio, the historic and highly scenic open area overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay, and the Pacific Ocean, which used to be a military post. The funds will also support programming at the Presidio for local youths. A focus of Stephen Bechtel’s philanthropy elsewhere has been Scouting. (See 2013 entry on his gift for the Summit.)