The Players in America’s Front Yard

If you live in Washington D.C. at some point you have inevitably found yourself on the National Mall playing a sport, taking in a picnic with friends or running to that new Beyonce song that she just dropped out of the blue.

In 2007 Chip Akridge was just one of those people and aside from being one of DC’s most prominent real estate developers and a Vietnam War Veteran, he was also concerned. The state of despair of the mall was the trigger that launched Akridge’s mission to make a difference and knock on the door of the National Park Service with intentions to restore, improve and preserve the grounds.

From Left, Catherine Townsend, President & CEO; Teresa Durkin, EVP and Project Director; Kara Pitts, Development Assistant; Cheryl Bratz, Director of Major Gifts; Kelly Decerbo, Marketing & Communications Manager; Lindsay Miller, Director of Event Fundraising

This endeavor led to the formation of the Trust for the National Mall. Breaking it down for you:

  • The government maintains the National Mall, providing necessary rehabilitation only when critical.

  • The Trust brings valuable expertise in project design and management to help expedite capital improvements. The Trust also helps mobilize volunteers and engage the general public in understanding the history and the needs of this national treasure. The Trust transforms the National Mall to make it a truly extraordinary, sustainable and educational park for the 36 million annual visitors. The Trust is the official non-profit partner of the National Park Service and represents the largest public-private partnership in the history of the park service.

With the Trust’s amazing and vital work comes a fun twist of events to help garner awareness. Some of these not-to-be-missed happenings are:

Ball for the Mall, Thursday, May 9th

Spring Hats Tea hosted by the Trust’s Women’s Leadership Committee on May 14th.

The District Cup: A polo match benefitting the U.S. Park Police Horse Stables on June 22nd.

Whichever angle you approach it from, the National Mall trickles down into the lives of the entire DC community AND to those nationwide. With its seasoned grounds and daily visitors, the deemed “America’s Front Yard” garners more than $800 million in costs for repairs and needed improvements. Kelly DeCerbo, Marketing and Communications Manager of the Trust, relays “The Mall means a lot of things to people, it helps remind us who we are as a nation and suggests where we might go.”

When you get home from your work day in the District, before you open your front door, make sure you’re doing what you can to contribute to the upkeep of your front yard as well. Don’t be that neighbor.

Photography by Brady Scot Photography.

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