Institute at the Golden Gate

At the Institute, we envision a simple but revolutionary future for parks where their role goes beyond conservation and recreation to help solve complex human challenges. As a cornerstone of social innovation, parks become more valuable today and for future generations. Working closely with partner organizations, we identify unique opportunities to bring about change locally, regionally, and nationally.

Who We Are

A program of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in partnership with the National Park Service, the Institute incubates knowledge and innovation in parks. Embedded in one of the country’s most visited and influential national parks, we convene leaders and influencers to forge unconventional partnerships that reach beyond traditional park boundaries.

Our Approach

We explore opportunities for parks to catalyze lasting, large-scale change to society. Our portfolio is always evolving – as are society’s needs. Our current programs focus on parks as a tool for preventive healthcare, a classroom for climate education, and a resource for critical urban issues like homelessness, income and racial inequity, and rapid development. Every challenge requires a unique approach and the Institute taps a range of capabilities to identify and develop the best tool, model, or partnership.

Discover & Explore

Our starting point for addressing any challenge is to draw from best practice but also think outside the box. Using practical, applied research we explore new ideas and existing models, dig into how they work, and create essential tools to support park innovators, such as case studies, toolkits, and trainings.

Incubate & Build

While research and discovery is a vital part of our process, we believe it is critical to work with diverse partners to test these ideas on the ground. By building and convening communities of practice, we have a greater impact than any one organization could on its own. Examples of these partnerships include the Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area collaborative and the Bay Area Climate Literacy Impact Collaborative.

Amplify & Share

Critical to everything we do is our ability to amplify and scale what we learn. We share our expertise and problem solving process with local communities to national policy makers, building momentum so that promising ideas become common practice. The ultimate measure of our success is how our programs impact people and their communities.



Contact information

Mailing Address
Institute at the Golden Gate
Building 201, Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA 94123

(415) 561-3560