The Accokeek Foundation’s Board of Trustees announces their appointment of Laura Ford to serve as the Foundation’s new President and CEO. Laura, who joined the staff in 2004 and previously served as Vice President of the Foundation, led the Accokeek Foundation during a leadership transition after former President and CEO Lisa Hayes resigned in March.
Virginia Busby, Chair of the Accokeek Foundation’s Board, said the Board selected Laura as someone who can bring a fresh vision for the future with an appreciation for our history and accomplishments. “Laura brings passion for our work, deep connections with our staff, volunteers, partners, and donors, and a commitment to public service through the Accokeek Foundation’s mission-focused work.”
“I’m honored to be able to serve the organization at this time,” shared Laura. “As we build on this amazing history of innovation and leadership at the Foundation, we are committed to inspiring people to care about the environment by connecting them to the landscape of Piscataway Park. The park has always been a place of convergence, connecting people to one another and to nature.”
The Accokeek Foundation’s mission is to cultivate passion for the natural and cultural heritage of Piscataway Park and commitment to stewardship and sustainability. Founded in 1957 to protect the view from George Washington’s Mount Vernon across the Potomac River, the Foundation was one of the nation’s first land trusts and continues land conservation efforts today to ensure protection of the viewshed and working landscapes in the region. The Foundation stewards 200 acres in Piscataway Park, which is open daily to visitors of all ages who enjoy a quiet landscape for recreation and reflection. Educational programs connect people to the landscape through hands-on interdisciplinary learning experiences via school trips, visitor experiences, volunteerism, and internships. The Foundation serves about 50,000 visitors annually from around the region, including 4,000 schoolchildren.
During her tenure with the Foundation, Laura has been responsible for organizational advancement, including fundraising, communications, and strategic initiatives like the Foundation’s sustainable agriculture program. From June 2014 to December 2016, Laura was the Director of Program Advancement at the Alice Ferguson Foundation, where she supported their capital campaign, raised funds for operations, and oversaw environmental education programs. Laura started her career in environmental education as a project manager and technical writer for the Maryland Center for Environmental Training at the College of Southern Maryland.
Laura holds a bachelor’s degree in Language and Literature from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute. Laura is the Executive Trustee with the Corina Higginson Trust, a grantmaker in the Washington DC metropolitan region. She has a special interest in social justice, equity, and food systems work and is a member of the Washington Regional Food Funders and the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network. She also is a certified horseback riding instructor and owns a small farm with her family in Southern Maryland.
To learn more about the Accokeek Foundation, Laura can be reached at email@example.com or 301-965-9569.