Outdoor Foundation (OF), the philanthropic arm of Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), is proud to welcome Lesford Duncan, MPH, as its new Executive Director. Lesford joins the Foundation with over a decade of experience in public management in government and nonprofit sectors. A proven and collaborative leader in outdoor equity and youth development, he has leveraged philanthropy, nonprofit leadership, and programmatic best practices to promote the resilience and well-being of children, families, and communities. His previous roles include Senior Director of Programs and Associate Executive Director at Outdoor Outreach and most recently the Chief Executive Officer of the Greening Youth Foundation, the international nonprofit working to cultivate the next generation of diverse environmental leaders.
Throughout his career, Duncan has worked to lead and support coalitions and develop innovative programs addressing issues at the intersection of outdoor recreation, environmental justice, and health. He has led and collaborated on local, state, and federal public policy efforts to reduce barriers to outdoor access, advocate for equitable conservation and environmental justice, and promote the health and well-being of communities. He has also worked closely with the Outdoor Foundation over the past four years, supporting Thrive Outside Communities in San Diego and Atlanta, and serving as a board member of the Outdoor Foundation.
Through community grant-making and groundbreaking research, the Outdoor Foundation works with partners across the country to address equity barriers and help make the outdoors accessible for all. The Foundation’s Thrive Outside Community Initiative awards multi-year, capacity-building grants to diverse communities to create repeat and reinforcing positive outdoor experiences for children and families. The core goal of the Thrive Outside Community Initiative is to create healthy individuals, communities, and economies by making the outdoors a key component of daily life.
“Lesford brings to this role an impressive track record of creating outdoor opportunities for children, youth, and families who have faced barriers to making the outdoors a part of their lives,” said Amy Dominguez-Arms, Outdoor Foundation Board Chair. “The board is excited to work with Lesford to expand our support for Thrive Outside Communities – where diverse civic leaders are mobilizing and coordinating resources to make meaningful outdoor experiences available to all. With Lesford at the helm, we look forward to capitalizing on our valuable partnership with OIA to magnify our impact in the years ahead.”
“With the support of the Outdoor Foundation board and team, I am honored to lead the Foundation and to contribute to a mission that resonates deeply with me; fostering deep and sustained relationships between communities and nature and cultivating a more inclusive outdoors where we all find joy, recreation, and wellbeing,” said Duncan. “Together, with the talented team at the Outdoor Foundation and our partners at OIA, we look forward to supporting collaborative and innovative efforts to increase outdoor access and promote community health through outdoor recreation.”
Duncan is an avid kayaker, ultramarathon runner, and mountaineer. Born to Jamaican parents who instilled in him the values of adventure, persistence, and curiosity, he is proud to have placed a small Jamaican flag at Mt. Everest Base Camp. The Outdoor Foundation looks to a promising future strengthening the multitude of networks that build accessibility and inclusivity in the outdoors with Duncan at the helm.
About Outdoor Foundation
The Outdoor Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Outdoor Industry Association, is a national 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to getting people outside for their health, the health of communities, and the health of the outdoor industry. Through community investment and groundbreaking research, the Outdoor Foundation works to create a more inclusive and accessible outdoor experience for all. Visit outdoorfoundation.org for more information.
About the Outdoor Industry Association
Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is a catalyst for meaningful change. A member-based collective, OIA is a passionate group of business leaders, climate experts, policymakers, and outdoor enthusiasts committed to sustainable economic growth and climate positivity while protecting – and growing access to – the benefits of the outdoors for everyone. For more than 30 years, OIA has catalyzed a thriving outdoor industry by supporting the success of every member company across four critically aligned areas: market research, sustainability, government affairs, and inclusive participation. OIA delivers success for its members through education, events, and business services in the form of solutions and strategies, consultation, collaboration, and opportunities for collective action. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org