How a Sparkly Bauble Vendor Took a Shine to Golden Gate National Parks

Tiffany is practically synonymous with diamonds, but its foundation is adding a touch of gold to its own collection. The jewelry titan's foundation made a seven-figure grant to Golden Gate National Parks to create a new vista point in Battery East. The donation is part of the Tiffany & Co. Foundation's ongoing Urban Parks initiative (See Tiffany & Company: Grants for Parks and Gardens).

The million-dollar gift will go to rehabilitating one specific section of Presidio of San Francisco, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area that offers some of the most beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge in the park system. The grant will connect up with a larger project to improve the system of trails in Presidio, and will establish a picnic area, parking, bike racks, and new signage.

Presidio is one of more than 30 park sites in the Golden Gate system, which makes up about 80,000 acres of protected land in the Bay Area, much of which was once owned by the U.S. Army. As a result, the park system is one of the largest and most-visited urban park systems in the world, and it boasts an impressive lesson on the military history of the San Francisco Bay. Presidio itself, for example, has been an army post for more than two centuries for three nations.

Today it's home to museums, tree-lined trails and views of the city and the bridge, and the East Battery Vista project is slated to finish in 2014. The grant to the Bay Area park is one of the most recent of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation's Urban Parks program, The company itself has been around since 1832, but its foundation launched in 2000 to focus giving on the environment and the arts (read foundation president Anisa Kamadoli Costa's IP profile).

Its Parks program goes to both establishing new urban parks and providing upkeep for existing ones. While the foundation does seem somewhat biased toward parks in its home base of New York City, it has given a variety of million-plus-dollar grants to national groups and specific parks including in Texas, Miami, Chicago, New Jersey, and even London.