The Trust for the National Mall has a new president, nearly a year after Caroline Cunningham announced she was leaving the post.
Catherine Townsend, a nonprofit consultant who was formerly executive director of the D.C. Public Education Fund, will step into the role April 18.
Founded in 2007 by real estate developer Chip Akridge, the trust partners with the National Park Service to lead efforts to restore the main federal stretch of land in downtown D.C. that frames the national monuments and Smithsonian museums. Townsend will lead the trust in its work to fund restorations and improvements on the National Mall.
Prior to her consulting work, Townsend was president and executive director of the D.C. Public Education Fund, a nonprofit that raises private funding for academic improvement initiatives at D.C. Public Schools. She has also previously led a federal office for Townsend Public Affairs, a group that supports public policy strategies for California-based nonprofits and city governments. From 1987 to 2004, she worked as an associate director at Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry, a nonprofit aimed at ending childhood hunger.
A member of the 2014 class of Leadership Greater Washington and a Capitol Hill resident, Townsend has also served as fundraising chair for the School Libraries Project, a public-private partnership aimed at renewing public school libraries. She currently serves on boards of Playworks D.C. and Capitol Water Polo Club.
“Her track record of turning ideas into reality and with nonprofit organizational development will bring great value to our team and its public-private partnership work,” Akridge said in a statement.
Last year, the trust rolled out the Landmark Music Festival for the National Mall, a two-day September fundraising concert featuring Drake, the Strokes, alt-j and other acts. Tickets were more than $100 and it marked the first time a section of the National Mall was accessible only to a paying public.
Cunningham, who led the trust for more than eight years, announced her departure last June.