~$50,000 fund available for Florida Park Service employee and volunteer recovery efforts~

The Florida State Parks Foundation today announced a $50,000 Hurricane Ian relief fund partnership with the Florida Park Service Ranger Association. The funds will provide immediate financial assistance to Florida Park Service staff and volunteers who have suffered extensive hardship as a result of the storm.

Affected Florida Park Service employees and volunteers can apply for up to $1,000 in relief funds through the Ranger Association’s James A. Cook Humanitarian Relief Fund Application Form. In severe cases, employees may apply for multiple grants. The Ranger Association is committed to reviewing and evaluating all requests within 24 hours of submission. Financial assistance provided through these funds are not meant to replace other forms of disaster relief. Rather, it is to provide immediate assistance before other forms of aid (such as from the American Red Cross or the Federal Emergency Management Agency) become available.

“Our top-notch Florida Park Service employees and volunteers are devoted to protecting our precious natural resources while helping visitors enjoy treasured state park experiences,” said Tammy Gustafson, Florida State Parks Foundation President. “With so many of our committed state park staff personally impacted by Hurricane Ian, we are honored to serve and assist those who serve our state parks.”

Members of the public who wish to support these relief efforts may contribute at the Florida State Parks Foundation website with a note that designates the gift for Hurricane Ian recovery.

“We are grateful that the Florida State Parks Foundation and Florida Park Service Ranger Association have offered to help our many impacted staff so quickly after Hurricane Ian,” said Chuck Hatcher, director of Florida State Parks. “Park rangers are a special group of people who devote their lives to their parks and their communities, and we will rally around them as much as possible during this challenging time.”

“Our guiding mission is to provide support to Florida Park Service staff, and we have been honored to offer financial support through our humanitarian relief fund since 1994,” added Donald Forgione, Florida Park Service Ranger Association President. “Hurricane Ian has wreaked extensive havoc and we are ready to offer quick assistance to these staff – our neighbors and friends – that helps them get back on their feet.”

Established in 1989, the Florida Park Service Ranger Association supports Florida State Park Rangers and their families by providing emergency grants, education scholarships, and esprit de corps.

The Florida State Parks Foundation, founded in 1993 as Friends of Florida State Parks and renamed in 2018, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose mission is to support and help sustain the Florida Park Service, its 175 award-winning parks and trails, local Friends groups and more than 20,000 park volunteers.

It does this through programs that preserve and protect state parks, educate visitors about the value of state parks, encourage community engagement and active use of state parks, and advocacy. The volunteer Board of Directors represents private and public sectors as well as local and statewide interests. This project was completed by the Florida State Parks Foundation Services LLC, which is a limited liability company affiliate of the Foundation.

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