Strategic Priorities & Guiding Principles

Preserving, protecting, and promoting stewardship of Acadia’s outstanding natural beauty, ecological vitality, and distinctive cultural resources, requires strong partnerships and the dedication of a host of friends—including Acadia National Park and Friends of Acadia staff, volunteers, donors, board members, community members, and partners.

It also takes focus and long-term commitment.

Strategic Priorities

A strong partnership among Friends of Acadia, Acadia National Park, and the surrounding communities is needed to achieve ground-breaking progress on the key challenges and opportunities affecting Acadia’s future, such as climate change, visitor experience, and youth engagement.

Friends of Acadia uses its effective mix of private philanthropy, volunteerism, innovative leadership, and partnership to focus on four strategic priorities.

Our Guiding Principles

In accomplishing its mission, Friends of Acadia is guided by the principles of stewardship, advocacy and education, citizen engagement, collaboration, and leadership.


We protect the park. We mobilize people and forge alliances to engage members, visitors, and surrounding communities in understanding and working toward solutions for the key issues affecting the park.
We provide a margin of excellence. We allow the park to achieve successful results that it would never be able to do on its own. Whenever possible, we augment federal funds, rather than replace them. We raise philanthropic funds and recruit volunteers for projects and programs in Acadia and for its stewardship. We create sustainable revenues through endowments where appropriate.

We work with communities. We appreciate the significant role that the surrounding communities have played in helping to create and sustain the park for over a century and are committed to continuing this essential partnership for Acadia’s ongoing protection over time.

We focus resources. We steward our organizational and financial resources to maximize the benefits of programs offered and funds expended and to reflect FOA programmatic priorities. We engage in projects and programs that we believe will have the greatest positive impact on the key issues affecting the park.

We leverage donated funds. We operate on a sound financial basis, leveraging members’ charitable gifts by attracting federal funding for park needs whenever possible in order to bring the highest conservation return per donated dollar.

Citizen Engagement

We promote volunteerism. We support a corps of motivated volunteers of all ages who help bring labor, ideas, and expertise to projects in the park and communities, thereby encouraging individuals to develop a deeper sense of connection with Acadia and FOA

We are inclusive. We seek a broad and diverse membership to maximize understanding of the many perspectives around Acadia. We encourage all who visit or have a connection to Acadia to join FOA as a means of giving back to the park that inspires them.

Advocacy and Education

We advocate. We advance the interests of the park and its visitors before Congress and the Maine Legislature, within the National Park Service and Department of Interior, and before other federal, state and local bodies.

We promote excellent management. We speak for park visitors to encourage the continual betterment of park policies and operations.

We educate. We provide and support education of the public regarding the legacy of Acadia, the conservation values it represents, the threats it faces, and the ways in which citizens can help protect it. We increase public awareness of the challenges posed by insufficient federal funding for parks.


We work in partnership. We believe in the power of collaboration. By working in partnership, we extend our reach, access specialized skills and talents that complement our core capabilities, avoid duplication, and engage additional resources in the park’s protection. Our primary partnership with Acadia National Park is fundamental to our success; we function as a free-standing non-profit organization, however, supportive of the park, but independent from it. We reserve the right to differ respectfully.


We offer leadership. We are committed to setting the standard for national park partnerships as a known leader at the national level in park philanthropy, advocacy, volunteerism, and communications. In the surrounding communities, we benefit from citizen input and are considered a trusted resource, willing to share and facilitate work essential to the park and non-profit excellence.
We are inclusive. We seek a broad and diverse membership to maximize understanding of the many perspectives around Acadia. We encourage all who visit or have a connection to Acadia to join FOA as a means of giving back to the park that inspires them.

Why Friends of Acadia? 

We’re a leader. Friends of Acadia is not afraid to go boldly solve Acadia’s most pressing challenges, trying new approaches and piloting innovative programs. We’re successful and effective when we do—our track record demonstrates this.

We’re a partner. Friends of Acadia works with other like-minded organizations, large and small, on programs that work for the good of Acadia National Park and the surrounding communities. These organizations know that Friends of Acadia is trustworthy, dependable, and “plays well with others.”

We’re a friend. Friends of Acadia represents the collective voice and resources of thousands of members, volunteers, and supporters who love Acadia National Park and want to help care for this precious place. We have a strong working relationship with the park because we have the park’s best interests at heart.

How Your Donation Helps

Your gift to Friends of Acadia provides much-needed funding to help protect and preserve Acadia’s lands and natural resources, engage youth in nature and the outdoors, ensure a high-quality and enriching visitor experience, and preserve and protect Acadia’s trails and carriage roads. Thank you for making a lasting difference for your park!