Donors Anthony Powell and Stefanie Owczarski

Anthony Powell’s earliest memory of national parks was a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains when he was 7 years old. “Those were our family vacations, backpacking or hiking through the parks,” the South Carolina native said. His story parallels many of the stories we hear from our donors. “My family loved it. I think my dad would have been a park ranger professionally if he could have.”

Anthony, a management consultant and an outdoor enthusiast, has spent much of his free time in the parks. When asked if he had a favorite park, he responded that each park he has visited has made an impact on him, often for different reasons. He explained, “My greatest memories in the parks are those times when I was in awe, when I was reminded of how insignificant I am in the grand scheme of things. Those are the memories that stay with you.”

At the National Park Foundation, we often refer to the gap between the basic services funded by the government and all the extras that each park provides as the “margin of excellence.” Anthony agrees. To him, it is all those additional details and programs within each park that help to make the biggest impression on visitors. He recalled a trip to the Grand Canyon where a ranger put on a program about the early history of the park. Anthony recounted the memory fondly: “The ranger was dressed in period clothing and through his monologue, painted a vivid picture of what Colonel Powell saw on his journey.  It is these types of little extras that create the magic in the parks—those are the things that people remember. And it doesn’t escape me that these types of programs take money – and more money than is allocated through the federal budget or collected from entrance fees.”

When Anthony decided to create a will, he wanted to include a variety of organizations that support nature and the environment, and for him that meant including a gift to the National Park Foundation. “I love the outdoors and the wilderness. And although I’m a big fan of capitalism, we need to make sure it doesn’t encroach on our pristine places and wildlife.”

While Anthony may be younger than our typical 1916 Society member, he recognizes the importance of giving a future gift. “Bequests are where it’s at,” he said. “I could give a lot of small gifts, but once you know what you want to support, a bequest is the way to go. It’s the ultimate gift.”

Anyone can include a gift to the National Park through their will or other estate plans. To find out more, contact us today and start a personal and confidential conversation about how a planned gift might work for you.

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