INTRODUCING MARK PREISS – Pioneering a New Era for Zion’s Official Nonprofit Partner
Mark Preiss has joined the management team of Zion Natural History Association as director of the Zion National Park Foundation, the development arm of ZNHA. He brings many years of practice and success in nonprofit, public-private partnership, with particular experience in building philanthropic support for some of America’s most beloved public lands. His most recent assignment was as president of the Glacier Conservancy in Glacier National Park, were he pioneered the merger of the park’s friends group and its traditional cooperating association.
“We are most fortunate to have Mark Preiss join us here in Zion at such a crucial juncture,” said Lyman Hafen, ZNHA’s executive director. “In the short time Mark has been here he’s already placed us on an exciting trajectory in our new charge as the official fundraising partner for the park. For decades we’ve supported the park through our publishing and retailing programs, and now, under Mark’s guidance, we are poised to break into the world of fundraising in a monumental way.”
In fact, a large part of Mark’s initial duties have been, and will continue to be, leading the effort to rethink, recreate, rebrand, and reintroduce ZNHA as a completely new entity later this spring and early summer. He sees his move to southern Utah through the eyes of a pioneer who has come to open up new possibilities and to make a difference for a place he truly loves. “My wife, Kathryn, and our two boys, Jack, 11, and Finn, 9, are proud to follow in the deep tradition of pioneers coming to Utah to be part of a community that wants to make a difference, locally, and internationally through our work with Zion National Park. It is a privilege to be a part of Zion National Park’s rich heritage, extending back a hundred years, working to preserve its integrity for generations of pioneers and visitors yet to come.”
Originally from Minnesota, Mark has called Utah home before, having served as the associate literature coordinator for the Utah Arts Council, helping to manage the annual Writing Competition, and working with rural communities across the state featuring writers’ workshops, readings, and other special events celebrating Utah’s writing tradition. He also served as a consultant to Sundance, helping to establish and improve programs and marketing strategies.
Prior to his work at Glacier, he was manager of Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve, one of the most non-traditional units of the National Park Service, where he facilitated community and partner engagement essential to park preservation. During his tenure there, he established an historic preservation field school, a grants program for owners of historic properties and farmsteads listed on the National Register, managed agricultural easements on 1850’s Donation Land Claim farms, and facilitated a county/town collaborative design review program.
As founding president of the Glacier Conservancy he navigated the successful merger of the park’s non-profit partners into one strong and viable organization, established a best practice partnership model, and increased grant funding to the park by 48 percent over three years.
In November of 2016, Mark accepted the offer to come to Zion and play a pioneering role in establishing a new era for the park’s official nonprofit partner.
“I look forward to our launch of a new initiative,” he said. “It will fully leverage the programs we curate on behalf of Zion National Park, including the park stores, the Zion Canyon Field Institute, and the Zion National Park Foundation, into an integrated brand working hand in hand with the park to provide innovative solutions to the greatest challenges confronting Zion, and to provide full capacity for Zion to serve as a national and international partnership model in persevering our most important and sacred places, while accommodating change.”