On April 24, 2008, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne unveiled the first round of 110 national park improvement projects and programs funded by an equal combination of public and private funds, under President Bush’s National Park Centennial Initiative. The Initiative, announced in 2006, proposed a federal Centennial Challenge matching fund that would be used to match philanthropic contributions for the benefit of national parks between now and the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS) in 2016.
The more than $50 million in projects result from the combination of $24.6 million in federal funds that match nearly $27 million in philanthropic contributions. Congress included $25 million in the NPS Fiscal Year 2008 budget to begin the Initiative.
Although authorization bills have been introduced and hearings held in both houses, Congress has not yet passed legislation needed to create the National Park Centennial Challenge Matching Fund. As a result, the Administration proposed no funding for the Centennial Initiative in FY 2009, pending Congress authorizing the program.