About National Recreation Foundation
Since 1965, National Recreation Foundation (NRF) has operated as a non-profit charitable foundation dedicated to increasing access to recreational opportunities and to using recreation as a tool for improving mental, physical, and social health. NRF is dedicated to enhancing the role of recreation as a positive force in improving the quality of life of youth. NRF carries out its mission by investing in recreation programs serving those who are economically, physically or mentally disadvantaged.
The National Recreation Foundation grants more than twice as much as it did 15 years ago and is growing in scale and impact. To date, NRF has awarded over 900 grants with a combined total value of $40 million dollars to over 300 organizations across the U.S. Roughly 50,000 youth each year are afforded the opportunity to get active and outdoors as a result of NRF’s support of innovative programming.
Examples of program areas that NRF funding has supported:
- Adventure education
- Outdoor recreation
- Environmental education
- Summer camp programming
- Urban gardening
- Wilderness-based activities
- Sports and athletics
- Health, wellness and nutrition
NRF has funded national organizations including the Trust for Public Land, the National Recreation and Parks Association, and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, regional organizations such as the Detroit Police Athletic League, Coaching Corps, and Youth Outside, and organizations with a massive local impact such as Harlem Grown. Because the challenges facing today’s youth are greater than ever, the Foundation is focused on building strategic partnerships with organizations on both the national and local level. Through collaboration, NRF can provide more opportunities for youth to participate in recreation programs dedicated to building life skills and healthy lifestyles, a recipe for success in adulthood. As a member of the Blue Sky Funders Forum, NRF is collaborating with other funders, practitioners and researchers to promote a shared narrative, Rethink Outside, which recognizes that connecting youth with the outdoors is not just a “nice to have,” but an absolute necessity.
NRF seeks the commitment of dedicated and passionate Trustees to add their voices to its purpose through inspired leadership and philanthropy. Trustees will have the opportunity to join a Board of accomplished and engaged Trustees who are dedicated to thoughtfully and creatively directing grants focused on building critical life skills through physical activity and outdoor recreation for youth from America’s most under-resourced communities.
Every year, each member of the Board of Trustees is invited to recommend programs that he or she believes creatively fulfill the mission of the National Recreation Foundation. The sponsoring Trustee may invite nonprofit organizations to submit an application for Trustee Grant support, Special Grant funding or Impact Grant support.
In 2019 alone, the Foundation contributed over two million dollars in support of charities providing recreational opportunities for youth from disadvantaged circumstances as a result of Trustees strategically seeking out effective programs in their local communities and regions. Candidates for this opportunity will have the unique privilege of joining an established foundation with committed Trustees who are passionately seeking ways to leverage its grantmaking and to explore ways of increasing impact in serving youth.
NRF’s Board of Trustees historically has represented diverse geographic areas of the U.S. in order to engage with the different facets of American life. Nonetheless, Board members have always shared three common bonds: a love of recreation, a deep respect for its value in all our lives, and the belief that high quality recreation programs are vital in fostering social stability and healthy lifestyles in our communities.
Joining this accomplished and diverse group of Trustees provides an opportunity to plug into a national narrative focused on getting youth active and outdoors. Members of the Board of Trustees have the potential to push the envelope and think about big picture goals, such as how to double the number of youth that NRF is serving.
Learn more about the impactful organizations that received NRF grants in 2019 here.
Ideal Trustee Profile
Passion for the Mission
NRF seeks engaged leaders who exhibit a demonstrated passion and belief in the transformative power of recreation and recreational spaces for individuals and communities. With a commitment to addressing the needs of youth from disadvantaged circumstances through recreation, NRF supports programs offering experiences never imagined by getting youth active, outdoors and engaged with life. These values, linked with a commitment to youth development, must resonate with any potential candidate.
The Foundation’s commitment to diversifying the racial, ethnic, age, and geographic identities of the board is demonstrated by its goal to add Trustees who will reflect the populations that NRF’s grants serve. For this reason, we strongly encourage candidates who identify as African American, Latinx, Asian, or Native American to apply. Priority geographies include the Southeast, the South, the Southwest and California. As NRF seeks to serve population centers with significant need, examples of urban centers of interest include: the Bay Area, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Phoenix, and San Diego.
While the Board of Trustees has always been, and will continue to be, composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and professional expertise, the NRF Board continuously seeks to cultivate its proficiencies. In that regard, the NRF Board will always include a few individuals with strong investment expertise, demonstrated through years of experience and educational background. In addition, having Trustees with professional background(s) and or career(s) focused on outdoor recreation, environmental literacy, recreation (e.g. research/academic) will always be a focus for the Board.
Creative and Entrepreneurial Approach to Grantmaking
Trustees should be innovative and forward-thinking, as they will be tasked with determining how NRF can support small operations to grow in both reach and impact. They will have the ability to “think outside of the box” and be entrepreneurial when assessing the areas of highest need and potential for growth and impact at local organizations.
What This Commitment Entails
Active, engaged Trustee Membership includes attendance at one in-person Annual Meeting weekend (generally the first weekend of November, Thursday through Sunday) and one to two meetings via conference call in the spring (e.g. March, May). Trustees participate on at least two NRF committees which are active throughout the year. Trustees are responsible for scanning the landscape in their region of the country for high quality, innovative or entrepreneurial approaches to youth development through recreation. Relevant programs may be sponsored by trustees for NRF funding. NRF trustees serve three-year terms and are eligible for re-election.
National Recreation Foundation has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. This search is being led by Kara Teising, Naree Viner, and Libby Cornelssen. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here, or email Kara and Naree at the following:
National Recreation Foundation is dedicated to equal employment opportunities and fair labor practices. National Recreation Foundation provides equal employment opportunities to all individuals based on job-related qualifications, and the ability to perform a job without regard to race, color, gender, gender identity, gender expression, religious creed, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, legally protected medical condition, veteran status, sexual orientation, or on any other basis made unlawful by federal, state or local laws. It is our policy to maintain a non-discriminatory environment free from intimidation, harassment or bias based upon these grounds.
About Koya Leadership Partners
Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital-consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.