Catherine Townsend

President & CEO

As the new President of the Trust for the National Mall, Catherine Townsend will play a significant role in helping accomplish the Trust's mission: to bring critical new resources to priority projects that will restore, improve, and preserve the National Mall and its iconic monuments.


Townsend, a dynamic leader with over 28 years of experience working in the non-profit sector, brings significant and relevant experience, contacts, and skills to the Trust for the National Mall, the official non-profit partner of the National Park Service. The National Mall, which attracts 33 million visitors each year, is facing a backlog of more than $490 million in deferred repairs and $350 million in needed upgrades. In fact, the Mall suffers from decades of underfunding and is in dire need of public and private support to restore, protect and revitalize this beloved space for future generations.


Townsend and her team are spearheading fundraising and awareness efforts for the high priority projects needing immediate support, including: enhancing the Washington Monument Grounds at Sylvan Theatre, repairing the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial, restoring the Lockkeeper's House and Constitution Gardens and repairing the Tidal Basin Seawall and re-constructing the Cherry Tree Walk.


Prior to joining the Trust, Townsend developed her own consulting practice, providing coaching and resource support to non-profit CEOs/Executive Directors. She has served as the President and Executive Director of the DC Public Education Fund, the independent non-profit that raises private funds for progressive initiatives to improve student outcomes in DC Public Schools. Townsend has also served as Senior Advisor at Townsend Public Affairs (a family-owned business) and launched the Federal office in Washington, DC in 2008.


Townsend’s non-profit career was shaped as she served for 17 years as the Associate Director of Share Our Strength, a national non-profit organization she helped to build from a fledgling organization to a leader in ending childhood hunger (currently known for its No Kid Hungry campaign) and raised millions of dollars annually for non-profits organizations throughout the United States and in select developing countries.


Townsend is an experienced public speaker and has presented throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as to Africa and South America. She has a B.A. from Scripps College in Claremont, California. She is a graduate of the class of 2014 from Greater Leadership Washington and is the founder, commissioner and coach of HoopGirlsDC, empowering youth girls through the game of basketball, established in 2004 for ages 8-13 on Capitol Hill.