New Report Celebrates First Five Years of California State Parks’ Partnership with Statutory Nonprofit Partner

SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 26, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Potrero Group, a Bay Area-based consulting and executive search firm with expertise in public lands, released a new report today exploring California State Parks’ collaboration with Parks California, its first-ever statutory nonprofit partner.

Leading Together: A New Model for Thriving State Parks describes this unique public-private partnership model, shares accomplishments from the nonprofit’s first five years, and provides guidance to other park systems looking to establish a statutory partnership.

Parks California was founded in 2019 after legislation passed enabling California State Parks to partner closely with a nonprofit to further its mission and collaborate on joint priorities. Working as an extension of California State Parks, the largest and most diverse state park system in the country, Parks California is designed to help parks thrive in the face of escalating climate threats and help create stronger connections between people and parks by working together to lower invisible barriers felt by many communities.

Dr. Stephen Lockhart, Founding Chair of Parks California’s Board of Directors, told Potrero Group for the report: “The big opportunity we saw in establishing a statutory nonprofit partner was forging stability and sustainability for an agency facing incredible headwinds.” Dr. Lockhart was a member of the Parks Forward Commission convened in 2015 by Governor Jerry Brown to propose fundamental transformations bringing out the very best in the California State Park System and ensuring its long-term viability. “In five years, Parks California has demonstrated the transformative power of partnership to address the complex challenges facing our parks and communities—from climate resilience to equitable access,” says Dr. Lockhart.

“A well-aligned statutory nonprofit can provide much needed flexibility, capacity, and financial resources to its public partner,” says Cleveland Justis, Potrero Group founder and CEO. “The added support of a statutory partner like Parks California allows state agencies to cast their sights beyond day-to-day operations and emergencies so its leaders can maintain an elevated, forward-looking vision.”

Leading Together describes the innovative ways Parks California contributes to the resilience of California State Parks, from supporting sea level rise and climate resilience planning to meeting crises like the CZU Complex Fire in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, which catalyzed recovery efforts and helped the park begin reopening in under two years.

Parks California also invests in local partnerships that create access and remove barriers for diverse communities so that State Parks can better serve all Californians. To date, Parks California has granted $4.5M to 96 community organizations, reaching 28,934 people and thousands more indirectly.

Learn more about California State Parks and Parks California’s unique statutory partnership model by reading the full report.


For more information about Parks California, visit Learn more about Potrero Group at

Stephanie Karp
Potrero Group
(503) 440-3621

Angela Leung
Parks California

SOURCE Potrero Group